Golfers will be able to tee it up in England again from Wednesday December 2, but there will still be a number of protocols that golfers must follow in order to get back out onto the course - as we all continue to play our part in limiting the spread of coronavirus.
The most popular question we have received this week is whether or not a golfer can play the sport if they are in a Tier 3 restricted area, and the answer is that every golfer in England can now play golf from December 2 no matter which Tier they find themselves. However, there are guidelines that MUST be adhered to (as outlined by England Golf below).
Fourballs will be permitted on the course, so it's not just two-balls like was once the case when golf returned during the first lockdown back in May. In a Tier 3 setting, however, clubhouses will remain shut, with indoor hospitality facilities only offering a takeaway food option.
Craig Tracey MP has welcomed the decision to get golf courses back open in England.
"Golf is a sport that can operate safely in an open-air environment, and lends itself to social distancing," said Tracey.
"Golf now has operational experience and established COVID secure practices, including rule changes and other mitigation measures that meet the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ directive.
"It is therefore ideally placed to welcome people back when lockdown ends in all the home nations."
According to government guidelines, face coverings must still be worn across all indoor settings no matter which Tier you are in. So you will be expected to wear a face covering every time you walk into a pro shop or clubhouse (unless you are exempt), for example.
When it comes to Tier 1 (Medium Alert) regions, the 'Rule of Six' applies. This means you must not socialise in groups larger than six people indoors or outdoors.
When it comes to Tier 2 and Tier 3 settings, England Golf has made it clear there are number of guidelines that must be followed by golfers.
TIER 2 - WHAT IT MEANS FOR GOLFERS
In Tier 2 settings, you must not socialise with anybody that you do not live with, or who is not in your 'support bubble', in any indoor setting. You also must not socialise in a group of more than six people when you are outside.
You must still abide by Tier 2 rules even if you are travelling to a Tier 1 area to play golf. It is advised that you avoid travelling to play golf in a Tier 3 area if you are in a Tier 2 area, however, unless it is absolutely necessary for work commitments.
- People must not socialise with anybody outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- People must not socialise in a group of more than six outside
- Clubhouses must operate a table service for all food and drink. A take-away service may also be provided
- Clubhouses must close between 10.00pm and 5.00am
- Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
- Locker rooms should be closed except for allowing use of toilets, wash-hand basins and the retrieval of stored items
TIER 3 - WHAT IT MEANS FOR GOLFERS
In Tier 3 settings, you must not meet anyone socially indoors or in most places outdoors, or anyone who is not in your 'support bubble'. You must also not socialise in a group of more than six people in an outdoor public space.
You can play golf in a Tier 3 restricted area, but you are advised against travelling to any other part of the UK to play golf, unless it is absolutely necessary for work purposes.