Are we helping or hindering our fight?

John Shortt

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

This past week has been very difficult for many reasons, not least of which is we’ve seen all but elite sports forced to close and in true 21st century fashion, the sporting public en masse has taken to social media to express dissatisfaction with the decision and point out the various anomalies in the ‘logic’.

As a golfer and someone whose living is made from golf I feel the pain that is being expressed possibly more than most, but the flurry of petitions and the tone of the general outrage has left me thinking that people aren’t really getting it.

Calling for ‘Golf to be opened now’ or for an exception to be made for golf only aggravates the situation, plays to the elitist stereotypes we’re trying to get out of the game and it has already been made very clear that this isn’t going to happen, for golf or any other sport, so what’s the point?


This lockdown and the associated closures are not specific to sport and they are intended to reduce public movement, thus reducing the spread of the virus, rather than being specifically targeted at industries that are ‘unsafe’.

In today’s Irish Times there are letters to the Editor which highlight some of the opinions in relation to sport being closed and it’s hard to argue with them. There are also online petitions aplenty calling for the rules to be changed and on every online platform you visit, keyboard warriors nationwide are having their say, some of which would fall in the NSFW category.

I agree that a golf course is definitely one of the safest places you could be and that all measures have been taken to ensure this, but it is the issue of public movement that is being addressed, so why don’t we all get behind this lockdown and do everything we can to make sure it’s the last one we get?

And therein lies the rub! We don’t know if it’s the last one, no-one can tell us for sure and this is where I think the online petitions and letters could make a difference.

If things get worse again and we find ourselves on the verge of another lockdown, perhaps the powers that be might just take notice of public opinion and be more reasonable down the line? There are no guarantees of course, but if we can be firm yet reasonable in our arguments, faced as we are with no other choice, then we might have a chance of lessening the impact a third lockdown could have our our industry and our lives.

Let’s keep up the fight but let’s be civil. Sign the petitions if it makes you feel better about things or if you agree that it might help in future. Stop apportioning blame to the governing bodies, they’re only doing what they’re told after all. Be vocal, but respectful and express opinions in a way that ensures they get listened to should we find ourselves in this position again.

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17 responses to “Are we helping or hindering our fight?”

  1. Brendan King avatar
    Brendan King

    How can Amateur sports be classed as elite . EG . Gaelic. Tennis Soccer in Ireland are amateur sports. And do not get government grants . Also they are contact sports. While golf is non contact. So that is my argument as I played all those sports but now at my age all that is left is a game of golf

  2. James avatar

    It’s simple golf isn’t contributing in any significant way to the spread of the virus. I’ve yet to read any statistic in relation to clusters on a golf course or than related to the restaurants, which are closed anyway. Cut the elitist s***e out of the argument, many people are struggling with life at the moment so where we know activities are safe, golf, tennis etc. they should 100% still be going ahead. Whether or not petitions help or not it doesn’t matter really we need the conversation to move onto how we are actually going to live with this virus without shutting down every aspect of our lives every two months

  3. Shane Hartnett avatar
    Shane Hartnett

    It has to be for all golfers not just those inside 5km…theres the problem , the powers that be know well that the 5km rule was broken left right and straight down the middle the last lockdown. Clubs wont martial it so safest option…stop the lot.

    1. Michael Silke avatar
      Michael Silke

      I completely agree . If all the people who broke the 5 k rule the last time, respected the rule and kept by it, we would not have a total lock down now.

      1. John avatar

        There you have it in my golf club no one respected the 5km rule coming from all over . Do they think no one noticed and people forget they all go into starters hut to get a coffee or coke and have a chat. As for the phone app i have seen huddled groups handing around phones trying to figure out how to use it.

  4. John Moloughney avatar
    John Moloughney

    Well said, John Shortt , best article on the matter in the last few days. The lock down or restrictions is about curtailing the public’s travel habits, which includes golfers, hence the 5 km limit. Most golfers live outside this 5 km area anyway & as mentioned by Shane, it was broken left, right and centre previously. Let’s stop whinging about playing, the courses will be in tip top shape after the rest and hopefully the transmission of Covid will be down to a trickle.

  5. John Staunton avatar
    John Staunton

    I fully concur with the principle of this article. This is not about golf being safe, or safer, or one sport against another. The level 5 is absolutely about minimising movement of people. Suggesting golf is safe is absurd while the rest of society is asked to stay in a family unit or a single buddy system for single persons. If golf was to be allowed it should follow the same rules, ie you can only play in a family unit and otherwise with a designated single buddy for the duration of the lockdown, together with the 5k rule. Then there is a chance of demonstrating that golf takes these lockdowns seriously and not a flight of fantasy that golf is different.

  6. Marie avatar

    Golfers broke 5Km rule last time & also stay in your own county for 2 weeks!
    So it is fair to close down for all!
    Golfers also got covid _ so not 100% safe !

  7. Gerard avatar

    The closing of golf clubs at level 5 is not agreeable but it is a necessity. What I have an issue with is the county border rule for golf. I can travel the entire country for work as I am deemed an essential worker. I am also a Covid 19 compliance officer. However I have to pass my golf club as I live in a different county. It is approx 20km from my home. However if I lived in cork I could travel up to 200km and still be in county to play golf. Makes no sense. I think a distance restriction for level 3 or 4 would make more sense but closed at level 5.

  8. Paddy Burke avatar
    Paddy Burke

    If level 5 is about restricting the movement of people, what about the mammys and daddys driving their kids to sports sessions.
    Lockdowns are ‘kicking the can down the road’

  9. Declan Magennis avatar
    Declan Magennis

    If its issues about public movement what harm is there in a couple driving from a to b to hotels for pleasure in different counties and following the same guidelines as business people who are allowed to stay in our hotels, they’re either open or not like golf.look around most people are following guidelines nothing is ever going to 100% in that regard some agree to wear masks some don’t ,apparently schools are deemed low risk yet the figures are going up there too I see teenagers outside fast food chains on the breaks ,congregating closely on the way home and hanging around shops in the evening with no masks now each of them have to go home to different households, the WHO have advocated lockdowns are not working.if the figures are still high in 4-6 weeks what then, no point in blaming it on community transmission if your not in the community dealing with it instead of setting up roadblocks on motorways delaying people actually trying to get to work

  10. Christy Mcguirk avatar
    Christy Mcguirk

    Shops open selling non essential goods, shoe shops,ect ect,,couriers delivering non essential goods all over the country which is definitely a sure way to spread covid19, gaa physical contact games which caused massive spread of covid19 around the border area allowed, not an elitist game it’s an amateur game,,rugby another contact sport,golf is not an elitist game it’s for everyone and played in the most safest way humanly possible and gives people a huge mental and physical boost to fight covid19 and its banned,,their are thousands of golfers who’s course is close to home so the 5k argument is out but gaa players can travel all over the country and we know covid19 is rampant in gaa clubs,another 5k argument out the window,and then we have to listen to mr shortt calling us keyboard warriors when all he does is try an justify the lock out which is different
    from a lockdown,if it made sense to ban golf I would go with it but no matter which way you look at it it just doesn’t,think again mr shortt and stop calling those with more sense then you, keyboard warriors, and write an article that shows your support for the majority of people who can see that politics not covid19 caused the ban,

    1. Joe Mahoney avatar
      Joe Mahoney

      Well said! These apologists for the stupid tyrants who inflict these ill thought-out restrictions upon us make me sick.

  11. John Mac avatar
    John Mac

    I agree the 5k rule was broken by a huge amount of golfers last time. If clubs think outside the box and offer reasonable greenfees to GUI/ILGU members in their area…it would restrict travel and we would have a better chance of remaining open next time around…..more closures are probably inevitable. Clubs also need to take responsibility and restrict members travelling over the Limit.

  12. Dermot Mc Sweeney avatar
    Dermot Mc Sweeney

    This whole 5km distance is a joke because most members of any golf clubs are outside that my son and myself play golf every Sunday beening drought to and from the golf course by my wife so the only people we mix with are the people we play with so I think as we live about 10 kg away from my club as we don’t mix anyone that we should be allowed to play

  13. Tony Ridgeway avatar
    Tony Ridgeway

    The 5km is too restrictive and in my opinion should be opened up to a 10km distance.We all have to respect the level 5 restrictions though and unfortunately some people do not respect any rules or regulations.Sharing buggys, clustering in car parks before and after a golf game can cause issues.Tennis players handle the ball although golfers on the course keep their distance and do not share equipment.If people would stick to the travel limits then perhaps could open afain but as I said 5km is too restrictive.

  14. martin griffin avatar
    martin griffin

    golf clubs still demanding monthly subsciptions, is like pubs asking for the money you would have spent if they did not have to close.

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