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Decision to shut courses is no surprise

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

Two local golf club officials admit it was inevitable that golf courses across the country would be shut down.

Aerial view of Golf Course

The sport was one of the few recreational activities the government advised could still go ahead following the coronavirus outbreak with players naturally in the open air and able to keep apart.

A host of additional measures had been taken to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. They included rakes being taken out of bunkers and pins being raised or protected so the ball doesn’t drop into the hole and players don’t have to take out the flag.

However, following on from the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday, golf clubs, courses and facilities in England have been closed.

“Although it’s disappointing the decision was understandable,” said South Staffs Golf Club manager Sue LeBeau. “We had hoped that golf would give people chance to get some exercise as long as they were sensible and stuck to the social distancing guidelines.

“The Prime Minister told people to stay at home last Friday and then over the weekend you see pictures of gatherings. We only have ourselves to blame. The decision had to be made.

“We will take a financial hit because all of our golf days through June and July have had to be cancelled.

“But we are a long-standing club with very loyal members and I am sure we will be fine. But I do worry about some other clubs.”

Penn GC secretary Mike Woodhouse was disappointed, but not surprised that the decision had been made.

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“It’s a shame, but the decision was inevitable,” he said. “Some of our members had hoped that we perhaps could have been allowed to play on as long as people were sensible.

“I was at the club the other morning and there were quite a few couples walking across the common.

“You are allowed to exercise and we have a lot of father and son and husband and wife members who would have liked to play. But at the same time we have a duty of care to our members and people’s health must come first.

There will be a knock-on effect financially. A lot of clubs work the the financial year and as a result their memberships are due on April 1.

We will be depending on the good nature of our members because we rely on that income of funds.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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