A couple of weeks ago, when the British Prime Minister outlined his ‘imminent’ plans to ease the restrictions that closed golf facilities in England, the English Golf Union sprung into action immediately and sent an open letter to the PM, pointing out, nay insisting, that golf was an extremely safe activity, safer than many others, such as shopping in a supermarket that have remained unbanned and that golf is at least as safe as going for a walk in one of our public parks – great facilities for families that they are.
Playing a round of golf is much ‘freer’ and more distanced from other walkers than anything you would encounter on the street or in a public park, even in normal times. Any perceived danger of transmitting the virus between golfers (on the course) is so remote as to be non-existent.
The EGU wrote: “For in excess of two million golfers in England, the mental and physical health benefits of playing golf can be clearly documented. This isn’t anecdotal, this is based on solid scientific data. The fact that these benefits can be enjoyed without presenting any undue risk to wider public health is hugely significant. We see no reason why golf can’t be one of the first sports to return, to help with the healing process,” (after a very difficult time).
I am not aware of Golf Ireland writing any similar letter, though the Golf Ireland Twitter account did suggest on Tuesday that “dialogue is ongoing with the relevant gov.bodies here regarding the reopening of sport. Golf will return but at present the priority is the overall health of our communities. We continue to communicate golf as a safe sport with general health & wellbeing benefits.”
Wales Golf went somewhat further, however, indicating it has held ‘positive’ talks with the Welsh Government and wants the fairways reopened as soon as possible (now that Spring is in the air), and is confident that it will be the case. During the lockdown here and in England and Wales, Scottish golf courses have remained open – albeit with strict regulations. How can that be – as if Scottish golfers are the only ones in the British Isles who can be trusted.
Come on, Golf Ireland! Your silence has been deafening. The perceived kowtowing to has gone on for too long. Let us play singles golf, at least, if that is the way it has to be? No golf at all is too much of a burden to bear. A quick trawl through social media will show how unpopular Golf Ireland has become because of their perceived quiescence. Unfair it may be, I’m sure, but perception is often seen as reality.
I dare say many Irish golfers will be envying their British counterparts not only for the much faster roll out of the Coronavirus vaccine they have enjoyed but their expected return to golf on March 4th.
The Brits are leading the way back to golf. Why not us?
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