WELSH golf clubs have been asked to wait until next week before considering opening for play for the first time in seven weeks.
They have been closed since the lockdown was introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which has now killed some 32,000 people in the UK.
And Wales Golf has recommended that its 142 affiliated clubs consider waiting until May 18 – next Monday – to ensure they have sufficient safety measures in place before considering reopening.
A Wales Golf spokesman said: “We would advise that clubs that do wish to re-open do not do so immediately – so as to ensure they have sufficient protocols in place to adhere to these guidelines, which we will be on hand to assist with.
“This would allow for a managed and co-ordinated reintroduction of golf across Wales from next Monday (May 18) at the earliest.”
The advice from golf’s governing body follows a relaxation in the COVID-19 lackdown rules by the Welsh Government, in Cardiff, on Tuesday.
That followed the English Government’s announcement on Sunday that golf clubs could reopen for play, from tomorrow (Wednesday).
The Welsh Government – which has refused to drop the “Stay at Home, Stay Safe” message adopted by all four governments in the UK at the start of the lockdown – responded to Boris Johnson’s controversial announcement by saying golf clubs COULD reopen, if they wished.
‘Failure to comply could lead to more closures of Welsh golf clubs’
But Wales Golf has appealed for a further delay. The spokesman added: “It is entirely at each golf club’s discretion as to whether they choose to open, and, if so, when they choose to do so.
“Wales Golf would urge all member clubs and golfers to comply with the regulations in a responsible manner.
“If clubs or members are found to be in breach of these guidelines, then it could lead to Welsh Government introducing measures that force golf courses to close.
“Wales Golf will continue to work closely with the Welsh Government towards the resumption of golf in Wales – when the conditions are right,” added the spokesman for the governing body in the principality.
The Welsh rules – unlike the English – insist golfers can only make up a two-ball by playing with a member of their own household – or face playing on their own.
Wales Golf staff are on hand to assist with implementing regulations and guidelines and ensuring any return to play can be conducted safely. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you require help or advice.
The latest guidance from Welsh Government on leaving home to exercise can be accessed by clicking here .
The following information has been taken from the Welsh Government’s website and it helps explain in more detail the regulations in place.
Will golf courses reopen?
“Under our guidelines, golf courses are not listed as a business or premise that must remain closed.
“The regulations state that exercise should be done locally, which means people cannot drive to exercise outside their local area; people also cannot exercise with anyone other than a member of their own household.
“More than two people congregating in a public place is regarded as a gathering, which is an offence under the regulations.
“We are continuing to prepare for the future, working with our partners and stakeholders.
“We would expect Wales Golf, working with the R&A and other UK governing bodies, to monitor the situation in England closely where golf will be permitted from May 13 and prepare detailed protocols for a potential partial resumption in Wales when the conditions are right.
•The protocols for playing golf in the UK under COVID-19 restrictions prepared by The R&A and the golf Industry can be seen here.