Wales Golf has called for a different approach to social golf in Wales, to recognise the new Government advice around social distancing because of COVID-19.
But qualifying for the four major Wales Golf team championships will be delayed and changed as a result of the ongoing outbreak.
The changes in social golf include players not shaking hands, maintaining a distance of at least two metres between them, leaving the flagstick in and unattended while putting and picking their own ball out of the hole.
“Golf in the open air should be a safe environment for players, as long as they take suitable precautions in line with the latest health advice,” said Wales Golf chief executive Richard Dixon.
“Clubs will be instituting policies concerning their facilities, such as bars, pro shops, restaurants and changing rooms, and of course the use of hand washing and hand sanitisers, before, during and after golf is key.
“Changes to the approach for social golf should ensure it is still a safe and healthy activity, bringing a wide range of mental and physical benefits.
“In line with the R&A, PGA, golf club managers (GCMA) and greenkeepers (BIGGA) associations, Wales Golf would ask anyone with any symptoms of COVID-19 not to play.
“We suggest that players can change shoes in the car park and bring their clubs in the car, courses could remove rakes from bunkers, flagsticks should be left in the hole along with drinking fonts and ball cleaners being taken out of play.
“It is advised that players should only pick up their own ball and equipment should not be shared. By following positive and sensible guidelines, we should be able to continue enjoying the sport.”
At the higher competitive level, however, there will be changes in qualifying for the Mens and Ladies Team Championships, the Victory Shield and the Ping Mixed Foursomes.
Matchplay qualifying events were due to get underway at neutral venues starting in April.
Wales Golf Championship Manager David Wilson explained, “In recent days it has become increasingly clear that the current qualifying format for our four team events will not be possible amid the Coronavirus measures being introduced.
“As a result, we have not published the qualifying draws and will be looking at alternative ways in which we can get to the stage where Finals can take place.
“This is obviously a very uncertain situation, but the intention is to find ways of staging these events in 2020 if possible. We will release further details as soon as possible”
There is useful advice for Welsh golf clubs HERE
Golf Industry Guidelines HERE