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New Phase 2 return to golf protocol does NOT permit competitive golf

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On a day when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave us all reasons to be hopeful, it came as somewhat of a surprise that the Governing bodies of golf announced this evening that golf would not be fully taking the next step outlined in the original Protocol for Phase 2 of the re-introduction of golf.

Club secretaries, administrators and greenkeepers around the country were preparing for the introduction of competitions on Monday but it has now been announced in an email to golf clubs and on Golfnet.ie that this will NOT be permitted under phase 2 as originally planned.

An email was sent to all golf clubs this evening updating the new Phase 2 protocol which is available HERE saying; “The Expert Group on the Return to Sport have decided that no competitive sport should take place during Phase 2 of the Irish Government’s Roadmap for the Re-Opening of the Economy and Society. We will update clubs when this position changes.”

Surely this expert group was consulted on the original protocols and were involved in their development? What has caused this change of heart on competitions so late in the day given also that the phase 2 protocols were re-confirmed by the GUI and ILGU a few days ago on June 1st?

Golf clubs around the country who had planned for some competition income, invested in getting courses ready for competition and implemented the required regulations to ensure it could be done safely will now have to forego all that effort.

It isn’t all bad news of course as most golfers will now be able to play golf at their home courses from Monday when travel within your own county or within 20km of your home will be permitted. They will not be able to partake in any competitive action until Phase 3 later in June (assuming of course that the protocol isn’t changed again before that) but for those that hadn’t been within the 5km limit, just getting onto the course will be a welcome respite.

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  1. I’m appaled by this decision and feel completely let down by the GUI. Just because contact sports are not allowed until the end of June,it would appear that golfers are being treated on a par with those sports. It should have been left to clubs to decide if it was possible to run competitions in a manner that would ensure the safety of members. If social distancing can be maintained on and off the course and a safe protocol can be put in place for competition entry and handling of scorecards etc. there is no logical reason not to allow competition. Shame on all concerned that agreed to this inanity.

  2. Here here! Competitive golf is not like any other sport. We are playing anyway it’s literally just keeping score.

  3. Beyond belief. We are NOT a contact sport. Playing for a Fiver with your buddies or entering a Competition for a Fiver, there is not a lot of difference to the individual. However, to a Club, there is a vast difference. The average Club now depends on Competition Revenue as one of it’s main sources of revenue at this critical time. To continue to deny Clubs this vital source of revenue may well needlessly spell the demise of some already struggling Clubs. Clubs had put in place stringent conditions for Players entering Competitions, all recommended guidelines were going to be adhered to. Now we are being told NO. Sorry GUI/ILGU, big mistake.

  4. What a crass decision by the GUI/ILGU.Having set up the return to competition protocol which all golf clubs would have happily adhered to in a safe manner for all who play and manage the sportThey have taken away the only revenue stream which is vital for maintaining golf courses. An idiotic and incomprehensible decision by the GUI/ILGU.

  5. On the heads of the “Expert Panel” be it,if more clubs are lost due to this ridiculous decision. Clubs need the finance competition brings.

  6. This U-Turn is totally at odds with whats happening elsewhere in our society and ignores the successful reintroduction of Golf during Phase 1.
    No one doubts that these are challenging times both for the Dept. of Sport and sports governing bodies but the overall performance of the GUI during COVID has been really poor — as evidenced by the timing of last nights announcement and the lack of communication with clubs during the crisis.
    As other contributors have said competition funds are vital for the vast majority of our “member clubs”.

  7. Once again we have been let down by the GUI its obvious the no competition protocol was meant for other sports where social distance is a problem and for the gui,to come out at the last minute is unacceptable and courses should ignore their ban,its time that an investigation into the gui and its goings on is had,they seem to think anything they do is nobody’s business and I still wonder where all the money goes considering the administration cost of running the gui, is close to 2million,,will they now after costing more clubs financial pain help them out with a donation,after all what exactly do we pay our fees to the gui for,,??

  8. I would like to voice my disgust with the toothless yellow committee of the GUI who have once again shown their inability to take the opportunity to move with the return to normality.
    I feel this was a financial decision aimed at pleasing Sports Ireland who fund them through grants.
    Shame on all you GUI wimps

  9. All clubs should go ahead and hold non counting competitions and let the GUI known what we think of them.

  10. I am very happy that the reign of the GUI/ILGU is coming to a welcome end. Their handling of all golfing affairs since the beginning of the virus has been appalling. The issue regarding course maintenance was resolved by IBEC and not by our golfing body. I Believe that this latest hairbrained decision will. result in golf clubs going out of business. (be it on their heads). ColmBrowne.

    • Well said, Colm. The handling of the return to golf has been a complete let-down by GUI/ILGU. I am not yet confident that the new governing body will be any better. Competition is the lifeblood of golf clubs and this decision could indeed be another stake in the heart of many clubs and may be the cause of more golf clubs closing with the reason being cited, incorectly, as COVID-19. The governing bodies have made a great mistake here. They should now ‘Man (and Woman) Up’ and hopefully we might see another late night e.mail reversing this disasterous decision.

  11. You may criticize the GUI but golfers did not exactly cover themselves in glory breaking the 5k limit….after which we are lucky to be playing at all!!!!

    • The first of many stupid decisions by GUI was overseeing a split among all club golfers,knowing in the majority of clubs less than 10% of members live within 5km
      Anyone with a brain in their head should have said all members or stay closed, They (GUI) as a result have made 90% of us look like cheats with every timesheet in every club full for the last 3 weeks and for what its worth I have paid my last levy to those people .

    • There is no risk in being in a field with 2 other people. The Govt said they follow the science. This decision is patent nonsense which has nothing to do with science.
      If the members of the GUI do not arrange a clean out of the GUI leadership at the next AGM then they forfeit the right to ever moan about the GUI ever again.

  12. NO Competition Golf update by GUI/ILGU late on a Friday evening!
    What/Where is the logic behind this decision? There is NO PHYSICAL DIFFERENCE between playing competitive and non-competitive golf!

  13. The inconsiderate part, was going ahead with competitions without the full compliment of members (those who observed the 5km rule were ignored)

  14. Really , we are just coming out of one of the worst health crisis in many many years and we are incredibly lucky to be playing any golf at all and you guys are giving out about not being able to play competitions? Just play some matchplay golf amongst yourself and get some perspective . Jeez.

    • Totally agree. Moreover it would appear from the angst that most golfers have not given any serious thought to the fact that for Competition golf cards have to be handled and swapped. Keying in and out on a pc involves pressing the entry keyboard or using a mouse. Also, all the cards have to be handled and double-checked by the Competitions Committee before determining final results.

  15. I concur with the vast majority of the comments so far. It appears that the gui etc are out of touch with the golf clubs who subsidise them. Suggest that in addition to a complete review of their operations the gui etc should refund the compulsory member levy,in order to compensate golf clubs. The gui have shown a complete lack of understanding of how golf clubs operate financially & this is reflected in their latest display of “lofty “ incompetence. The gui etc have a lot to answer for.

    • Clubs could work together sucessfully within current handicapping rules without any unions. They proved this when clubs introduced the likes of the uden cup, mc donnell cup etc. Clubs need to start giving the option of union membership to their members on renewal. A lot dont want GUI/ILGU membership or anything to do with their inter club competitions. The clubs could always come together and run alternative inter clubs comps as they have before. Union subscription should be individually optional.

  16. Yep
    The GUI. !!!
    Run by people who want to hold power (they never had it in their previous lives) and show distain to underlings.
    A club (The GUI), SHOULD be run, for the benefit of its members, not for the whims of the overlords. Are we not all equals?
    Is this what happening in the USA at present?

  17. Surely part of this UTurm might be down to the fact that a lot of clubs haven’t there full membership back yet. With the 20kms travel limit some members haven’t been able to get a round of golf in let alone play competition golf. Just a thought

  18. As a follow on from the earlier point re ignoring the 5km.. when our club asked those members that had played over the past fortnight to give 15 mins grace when the time sheets opened, to those outside the 5km radius, they totally ignored the request. Time sheet for Sat full inside 4 mins…
    Unfortunately it appears that golf has lost its radar of fair play and integrity

    • Not entirely true, David, I for one did accede to the request and in doing was unable to make a booking subsequently. Mind you, not all golfers outside the 5Km limit abided by the request not to travel to play while that restriction was in place.

  19. It’s all quite tedious. Playing golf is not the same now. Competition would have brought us a step nearer to our normalcy – but most of us are looking forward to the day we can play our golf and visit the 19th to have a drink and or meal and enjoy the craic that only a golf club can offer …..

  20. Who is this so called expert group? Certainly not one that knows anything about the rules of golf! Shame on the GUI letting this happen.

  21. This is a major financial problem for clubs. The only income that Clubs were likely to receive in this time was competition fees. The cost of maintaining courses is still same but there is no income. When Leo was talking about opening up the economy the GUI/ILGU were allowing golfers & clubs to be downgraded in the pecking order. Interesting that sport is represented on the “Expert Group in Sport” by GAA, IRFU, FAI & CARA. The big three can’t operate so why should any one else.

  22. Guys I almost feel like advocating mutiny – almost! This restriction on Comps. undoubtedly issues from a non-golfer or a total group of wimps. There is NO additional risk between competitive / non-competitive rounds of the wonderful game. Come on GUI / ILGU – educate the rule makers and don’t accept this stupid penal, income stopping, distinction.

    • Who can stop or impose a penalty to private golf clubs on their land holding non qualifying competitions for their members? We should ignore them. Here in Ulster we are now faced with no competitions in the south but competitions 10 kilometres away in the north and we are in the same branch. Lunacy, the inmates are running the asylum.

  23. There’s no difference playing competitive golf or non competitive golf. Because either way you’re doing your best to bring in a good score. Your playing to the rules of the GUI so there is no reason why we should not play competitive golf. I think the GUI have got it wrong this time.

  24. Every golfer should write to or email the ilgu/gui to let them know how we all feel after all we all pay for what I don’t know a shower of clownss 🤡.

  25. If this row back by GUI/ILGU means that our clubs will suffer from lack of revenue ,you should be ashamed and not deserving of our poll tax of €28.
    We should keep that tax that might help in some way to maintain our beloved clubs!

  26. The GUI/ILGU are sadly again out of touch with the group 🤔 that they are supposed to represent.Clubs are crying out for a revenue stream,alas, they have denied this opportunity to clubs which could be detrimental.

  27. another disaster by the gui/ilgu. no consideration for the financial position of clubs. On reflection, these people have done little or nothing for clubs in trouble in the past , so we should not really be surprised.

  28. GUI/ILGU … This is a wrong decision. It is clearly not what was meant when the discussion arose about competitive sport. Can someone explain the reason for the u turn please?

    • This is from the GUI WEB SITE
      “Following further engagement with Sport Ireland, the GUI and ILGU can confirm that this sport-wide measure means that competition activity in golf clubs in the Republic of Ireland during Phase 2 of the roadmap is not permitted.”

      It is a “sport wide” measure. It means that we are all in this together and because no other sports can play comps because of public health concerns, that golf cannot play comps, no matter how safe it is. The GUI are happy to accept this and not lobby for members or rock the boat in any way because they are being blackmailed by the potential withdrawal of Government grants.

      We can have our own comps using a pre agreed wager/fee via revolut which is split between winners in a pre agreed manner.
      No cash.
      All electronic and safe.
      Small groups.
      No sandbaggers allowed.
      Use supplementary score system to get handicaps in line.

      • I really think its time to give optional union membership individually, and if you dont have an interest in inter club golf, dont join the union. If all clubs did this, you could still even enter opens in other clubs. Everything is still the same, handicapping etc.

  29. A sample of the GUI performance during the
    past few months;-

    1. Agreeing to the ridiculous 5k limit for golfers even ‘though everyone knows that there was no safer place to be than the wide open spaces of a golf club – a fact acknowledged and stated by one of the NPHET group.
    2. Not allowing 4balls despite the Gov. guidelines allowing groups of 4 to meet.
    3. Withdrawing the approval for competitive golf.
    Incompetence springs to mind.

    Apart from administering the handicap system and organising inter-club competitions, what justifies the existence of the GUI and the fees we golfers pay to it?.
    Have the GUI the legal power to order golf clubs to implement its dictacts and guidelines?.

  30. Is this an Aprils Fool joke in June? How are golf clubs going to survive if they get no income from INTERNAL competitions? Who in their right mind would come to this decision>what are the Provincial committees going to do as they are supposed to represent us golfers at the top table?I agree that all GUI members should H.Q. to register our disgust with their about turn at such short notice.I,for one,have NO interest in casual golf

  31. Hmmm… Governing body being too pure.. No competitive sport? Horse racing going ahead from Mon in compliance with social distancing.. Should be no problem in this day and age to have competitors put their scores in via Howdidido etc.. No need for card handling? Golf socially distancing by default.. Esp as the way most of us play!!
    Most retail shops open on Mon and recent experience suggests that humans are gonna be way closer together than on golf course.. Cop out by governing bodies..

  32. Golfers have been very privileged over the last few weeks compared to all other sports. Go out and enjoy playing your sport after two months of lock down. If you need competition set a target and count all your shots or just play matchplay. These are really first world problems.

  33. It is not only about competition versus casual. It’s about revenue generation. The clubs have been stripped of revenue. No green fees, no societies means competition is their only source of income. Why have the ilgu/gui ordered the cancellation of competition at the 11th hour. No reason given. Why dud they not display such diligence in relation to promoting compliance with the 5k rule. They gave zero direction and the 5k rule was ignored in so many clubs.

  34. The angst among most of the contributors today on this Uturn is understandable and all is down to the terrible communication of the decision and more importantly as to why the decision was made. Maybe if this was relayed it would have been more readily accepted. The GUI/ILGU are well aware of vital revenue generating stream that competitions income provide to clubs and it must be assumed that when they acquiesced to this decision they knew the fallout that would ensue. Thus the flak they are getting for poor communication is self inflicted. Yes it is great that we can get out and play the game we all enjoy but the costs of maintaining courses have not reduced and at the end of the year these bills will still have to be covered and this will result in subscription increases.

  35. Great comments. Totally different attitude to the spineless support from a handful of scared people who offered mindless support to the GUI for recommending the clubs close when the science clearly showed that being in a field with 2 or 3 others at a distance of 2m from each other was the safest place to be.
    The GUI shpukd be lobbying for members not capitulating to a group of so called experts who are learning on the job and who are responsible for the deaths of so many nursing home residents simply because they did not follow WHO advice given in January. Check it out before you post a comment criticising this post. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports

  36. GUI should follow ILGU and cancel all inter club golf. Can you imagine the amount of Seve coughing that would go on albeit after the first tee.
    Club competition revenue could replaced by a fee to book your favourite tee time in advance of the weekly /daily BRS lottery.
    Club competition with pick and place in bunkers and plastic bungs in the hole which,if hit means the ball is holed. A farce.
    Get out and smell the flowers and thank your lucky stars you can

  37. Small group of people with power dictating to those that pay their wages. They have offered no reason for this. Golfers are already competing against each other in a friendly manner, so disappointing for all the clubs who have worked so hard to get competitive golf up and running in a safe manner. SHAME on you GUI & LGUI

  38. The most important issue is to stay safe in this pandemic. Can we do this when playing golf well the answer is yes. Clubs can and will adjust to any conditions imposed, electronic cards could be introduced etc. Many have mentioned the financial position of clubs, I would suggest that the GUI return subs to clubs as a first step. Finally, the new rules include 5 phases, the GUI/Sport Ireland appear to be behind the times and updates/comments are now needed immediately.

  39. I appreciate the frustration re the about turn re competitive golf. However this is a very serious disease for the majority of golfers. Transmission has to be prevented stopped, entry systems using cash and cards that need to be handled need to be addressed so that we have a game to play and members alive to enjoy it.

  40. All Hon Secs of the golf club in Ireland should immediately email the Govern body that made this decision to overturn it. It makes no sense . Golf is not a contact sport.

  41. Use the current computer systems. Enter and take a card. Wash your hands after entering your score. No issues. GUI are failing clubs.

  42. As a member who observed the 5Km rule and will just start back on Monday I agree with most of the comments re competitive golf, however it is the 14 mins between groups that is upsetting most members, surely 10 mins is more than sufficient and will help to take a lot of pressure off getting on the timesheet.

  43. Cant really add anything to what’s already been said above. Hard to imagine how the people in charge of any organisation could make a worse job of representing their members than the GUI make of representing golfers. The people in charge of horse racing got their sport moved from phase 3 to phase 2. The GUI just accept what is said to them without any thought for their members and the finance needed to keep clubs going. Grow balls GUI. Shame on you.


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