THE £7million R&A COVID-19 Support Fund has been launched by the game’s governing body to help golf deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The fund will be largely aimed at national associations and other affiliated bodies in Great Britain and Ireland.
With the global pandemic leading to widespread temporary course closures and drastic reductions in domestic and international travel, many golf clubs and facilities are facing serious financial difficulties.
The fund is being provided to help The R&A’s affiliated national associations to support those clubs and facilities – although some of the money may be used for other activities key to the future health of the sport.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “The pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on golf and many clubs are facing dire financial situations through no fault of their own.
“Golf is in our DNA and we want to see the sport continue to thrive from grassroots right through to the top level on the professional tours.
“We have a responsibility to do what we can to help in such a crisis.
“The R&A Covid-19 Support Fund will enable national associations and other key bodies to provide support to some of their members.
“We know many challenges lie ahead but club golf is the bedrock of our sport and hopefully this fund will help to begin the process of recovery.”
The R&A is working with its national associations – including England Golf, Wales Golf and Scottish Golf – and other selected organisations on communications.
Each body is responsible for controlling and allocating its share from the support fund.
Open’s profits fund development
It already provides financial support to a wide range of organisations in addition to national associations, including the European Tour, the Ladies European Tour (LET), the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland and the Golf Foundation charity.
The 149th Open Championship, which was due to be held at Royal St George’s, in July, was cancelled last month – it has been reported that the R&A was insured against such an eventuality,
There has been widespread speculation on how hard the COVID-19 crisis has hit the finances of the European Tour, which has been forced to postpone or cancel more than four months’ worth of tournaments so far in 2020.