As the nation awaits Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s latest announcements regarding Covid restrictions, early reports indicate that it will be more bad news for the golf industry in the Republic of Ireland.
The Irish Independent’s Philip Ryan reports that not only will golfers have to wait until April 26th to return to the fairways, but they will only be allowed do so in two-balls initially.
The report says, “outdoor sports, such as tennis and golf, and non-contact training for under 18s will be permitted from April 26, according to a plan agreed by the Cabinet Committee on Covid-19.
“Under the proposed plan only two people will be permitted to play non-contact sports outdoors from the last week of April.
“Children will be able to take part in non-contact sports training in pods of 15 from the same date. Senior county GAA teams will be allowed recommence training on April 19.”
The Government Cabinet meeting is set to begin at 13.30pm after Nphet last night advised Government to take a “very cautious” approach to the reopening of the country. In that spirit, it seems golf is a long way down the agenda despite the sport resuming in England on Monday and set to resume in Northern Ireland on April 1.
Not only that, but according to the Independent’s report, golf is so far down the list of priorities that even Dublin Zoo will open before it on April 12, along with a number of other outdoor heritage sites no doubt much more confined and populated than the spaces used for golf.
If confirmed, the news will arrive as a bitter blow to the industry that has already been closed for more than six months, the longest golf lockdown in the world. What it means for clubs desperate to secure membership subscriptions to ensure survival remains to be seen, but it’s a difficult ask to expect golfers to pay for a service the country won’t allow our courses to provide.
Let’s hope Micheál Martin’s address this evening paints a slighter more hopeful picture than early reports indicate it will.