London, England: It’s not only parts of Asia where golf courses are being closed in order to reduce the chances of the coronavirus spreading.
While Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand are among the countries that have seen temporary closures, in the United Kingdom, golf clubs and driving ranges have been forced to shut for at least 21 days following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to shut down all businesses that are not operating essential services and demand that all but key workers to stay at home.
A statement from England Golf confirmed the news that all golf clubs would be required to cease operations with immediate effect.
“Following on from the Prime Minister’s statement, golf clubs and golf courses in England must now close,” read the statement. “It is England Golf’s position that this deeply regrettable, but highly necessary and responsible course of action must be implemented with immediate effect and be maintained until further notice.
Government has identified an urgent need to introduce new restrictions on
public life and on non-essential businesses opening their doors. This has been
done to limit the spread of the coronavirus and relieve the growing pressure on
our National Health Service.
“Keeping golf courses open is simply no longer compatible with the updated policy of Government, which is designed to save lives in a time of national emergency. The health and well-being of the nation is the only consideration that matters at this moment in our history. These are incredibly testing times for the country. The golf industry cannot be shielded from the economic and social ramifications caused by this temporary shutdown of normal life.
“We would like to assure the golfing community that England Golf staff will continue to work remotely with all affiliated golfers, clubs and counties to try and minimise the damage caused by this suspension of regular golf club life. We will continue to signpost clubs and counties to the latest Government advice and schemes designed to help the economy cope with the disruption caused by the coronavirus.”
Wales Golf Chief Executive Richard Dixon said: “These are incredibly testing times for the country and the golf industry but, during this unprecedented period, we will be working very closely with all affiliated clubs. Wales Golf Staff will be working remotely to support and advise clubs as much as possible.”
Scotland Golf said: “While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message to all of us is clear, we must stay home and play our part in containing the spread of COVID-19.
“With this in mind, Scottish Golf asks that all golfers in Scotland refrain from golfing until further notice. We understand that this advice will have a significant impact on golf clubs across the country and we will continue to consult with industry partners to provide clubs with all information and support possible during this time of deep uncertainty.
“We know that these decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow Government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we get the opportunity to play the game that we all love as soon as it is safe to do so.
Johnson said he will review the situation within the next three weeks as to the next plan of action.