Golf in lockdown: How Covid restrictions affect your club

As coronavirus cases soar across Great Britain, governments have been tightening the rules in a bid to manage the pandemic.

And those instructions, that set out what you can and cannot do depending on the country, or area, in which you live, are naturally affecting golf.

But if you find yourself confused about what it all means, as new restrictions come into force, we set out the rules for England, Scotland and Wales as they stand and what they mean for your club…


Updated: November 18

Golf courses in England are closed due to national lockdown measures that came into force on November 5.

The Government confirmed golf courses and driving ranges will be among the businesses and venues ordered to close when the country begins a month-long shutdown due to end on December 2.

Industry bodies including England Golf, BIGGA and the PGA, as well as the All Parliamentary Group for Golf, issued a joint plea to prime minister Boris Johnson, but in the end it proved futile as England Golf CEO conceded defeat on Wednesday and told clubs they must close.

Guidance issued on the Government’s website, providing information on the new national restrictions, revealed “to reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close”.

A petition that reached more than 250,000 signatures to keep golf courses open is to be debated in Parliament on November 23.


Updated: November 17

First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that from 6pm on Friday November 20, 11 local authorities in Scotland will move to Level 4 of the country’s Covid restrictions.

They are the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling, and West Lothian.

Sturgeon says it will be for a “strictly limited period” and, as a result, non-essential services such as retail shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and hairdressers must close.

Golf courses will be allowed to remain open as, under Level 4 guidance, outdoor non-contact sports are permitted.

However, you are not permitted to leave your local authority area to play.


Updated: November 9

Clubs in Wales reopened on November 9 following the short coronavirus “circuit breaker” lockdown.

The governing body’s website outlined that “up to 15 people can take part in an organised indoors activity and up to 30 in an organised activity outdoors, providing all social distancing, hand hygiene, and other Covid-19 safety measures are followed”.

“This,” it adds, “will allow golf to be played in fourballs and allows group coaching to resume” while “the requirement to book before you play golf will continue”.

It concluded: “Following the announcement about the English lockdown, ministers are having ongoing discussions with the hospitality sector about the detailed rules for reopening. This includes about meeting in public indoor spaces.”

Can golfers travel from one country to another?

No. You are not allowed to travel between England, Scotland and Wales to play golf.

The current Scottish Government guidance reads: “Given the state of the epidemic across the UK, people [must] avoid any unnecessary travel between Scotland and England, Wales, or Northern Ireland.”

The Welsh Government, meanwhile, goes into a bit more detail: “Travel in to Wales is not allowed without a reasonable excuse, for example travelling for work purposes. Visiting family and friends (other than as part of an extended household) or having a holiday is not currently considered a reasonable excuse.”

Neither, unfortunately, is 18 holes.

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