ENGLAND Golf has urged clubs across the country to seek out the latest guide on the coronavirus outbreak as more and more sporting events across the country come under threat.
An England Golf spokesman said: “In light of the developing situation with the COVID-19 outbreak – we have issued the following guidance to all our affiliated golf clubs and golfers.
“We fully recognise the need to adhere to the expert advice available and as such we would point all our clubs in the direction of the guidelines set out in detail by Public Health England via its website.
“Details on how best to cope with the virus can also be found via the World Health Organisation website which will provide rolling updates and the best ways to mitigate against the spread of the infection.
NHS England also provide updated and expert advice via its website.
“All golf clubs should note, act upon and continually monitor the advice and guidance issued by these expert authorities in relation to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“It is important that we all work together, following the advice of qualified professionals, in controlling the spread of COVID-19.
“This remains a very fluid situation and England Golf will continue to take their lead from the government and public health authorities when it comes to safeguarding our clubs and members – and offering practical and necessary steps to ensure the health and wellbeing of golfers and golf club staff.”
England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson said: “The expert practical advice that is available from the health authorities and national government should remain the first point of reference for all our golf clubs and golfers.
“This is clearly a fluid and developing situation and we will continue to monitor events as they progress and pass on the relevant information to our stakeholders.
“By working in alignment with those who are specialists in this field, we will be able to take the necessary precautions and provide the correct measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.”
GUI issue list of do’s and don’ts
MEANWHILE the Golfing Union of Ireland issued a specific list of areas of concern for golfers and golf clubs over the coming days and weeks.
The GUI said in an online statement: “Golf is a great sport for people generally to get out and about, exercise and enjoy fresh air.
“It is played in an outdoor setting where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.
“All golf clubs should, at this time, aim to keep their members and staff safe and well.
“As such, everyone should be keenly aware of the vulnerabilities golf clubs will face,” the statement added.
The GUI and Irish Ladies Golf Union also announced that a number of coaching sessions, matches and tournaments were being postponed through March.
The Irish Girls Open Strokeplay Championship (April 3-5) was also called off because of the international field the latter attracts.
The GUI issued the following checklist for its member clubs to observe:–
•The older age profile of golf club memberships than of the general population must be borne in mind
•Groups having close and prolonged contact should be avoided
The social aspect of clubs should be curtailed, the GUI added, including limiting the potential for social interaction in accordance with the guidelines issued – including:–
•Siren starts with people congregating before and after are discouraged for the time being
•Prolonged near-contact as may happen during Bridge nights, choir practices and other clubhouse-based activities is to be avoided
•Visitors should be discouraged for the time being – or require some form of screening
•Society bookings where food and social interaction is involved should be limited in accordance with the latest guidance
•Common courtesies – handshakes and other embraces associated with the etiquette of the game – should be avoided. Participants may “bump elbows” as an alternative
•Social meals for groups in the clubhouse, including at inter-club matches, should be avoided.
‘Increase spaces to cut transmission risk’
The GUI said golf clubs should also observe the need for the following:–
•Increase social distancing through greater space between seating in clubhouses
•Ensure availability of hand-sanitisers and regular changing of towels
•Ask members not to come into the clubhouse with colds or any symptoms of COVID-19
•Regular cleaning of surfaces including door handles – hourly in public places
•Handling of scorecards in club competitions is a vulnerability – committee members are strongly advised to wear gloves
•Since the revision of the Rules of Golf in 2019, scorecards can now be in electronic form (via phone app etc.,) – committees can specify a method of electronic certification if that option is taken.
You can read the GUI’s latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak by clicking here.