Golf courses across Northern Ireland can reopen to their members on May 20, the Stormont Executive has confirmed.
It means that, as from Wednesday, for the whole of the British Isles, only golf courses in Scotland must remain closed. In that country, golf courses can reopen ‘within a few days’ from the easing of its lockdown, which will be on May 28.
The Golfing Union of Ireland has released its protocol for a return to action in Northern Ireland, with First Minister Arlene Foster urging all players to stick to those guidelines. Included were stipulations that no club competitions take place and only members are allowed to play in the first stage of the relaxing of lockdown measures. There are no travel restrictions in place.
As in England, golfers can play with people from outside their own household, providing social distancing is observed. On-course measures, such as the removal of rakes from bunkers, hole cups being reduced in depth, and warnings for flagsticks to remain in place and not be directly touched, are also to be put in place.
The GUI has recommended that juniors should only be permitted to play if accompanied by an adult. Fourballs are expected to be able to return in the second phase of lockdown relaxation at an undefined date, and members will then be able to play in closed competitions and bring guests to their clubs.