UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed today that outdoor sports such as golf will be able to return in England from December 2 when the four-week national lockdown due to coronavirus comes to an end.
Johnson, did however, confirm today that England will be placed under a new three-tier lockdown at the start of December, with tougher new Tier measures due to run until March.
“National restrictions in England will end on 2 December, and they will not be renewed”— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) November 23, 2020
Boris Johnson gives update on lifting of lockdown restrictions and return to regional "tiered approach"
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However, it was Johnson's comments about outdoor sports that concerned most golfers up and down England, and the good news is that the sport can return in 10 days time. It is also believed that driving ranges will be allowed to reopen, and lessons will be able to recommence.
"I can confirm the national restrictions in England will end on the 2nd December and they will not be renewed," said Johnson.
"From next Wednesday, people will be able to leave their home for any purpose and meet others in outside public spaces, subject to the Rule of Six. Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, and shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen."
Under the new three-tier restrictions that will come into force in England on December 2 (when the four-week lockdown ends), regional areas in England will either be in Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 - but with much tougher restrictions in place than before due to scientists confirming the last set of Tier restrictions were not strict enough to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Johnson explained that by Spring, scientific advances will have made the concept of any future lockdown as "redundant."
"We know in our hearts that next year, we will succeed," said Johnson.
Craig Tracey, the chair of the All-Parliamentary Group for Golf, confirmed Johnson's comments during his speech over a video call in Parliament this afternoon.
"Ahead of debate, PM confirms that outdoor sports (including golf) can return from next Wednesday (2nd December)," tweeted Tracey.
Ahead of debate PM confirms that outdoor sports (including golf) can return from next Wednesday (2nd December)— Craig Tracey (@craig4nwarks) November 23, 2020
For the avoidance of doubt, new rules come in to effect from 00:01 on 2nd December, so shops, beauty salons, and indeed golf courses, can open on that Wednesday— Craig Tracey (@craig4nwarks) November 23, 2020
The news of golf's return has come at the best possible time before Christmas, according to PlayMoreGolf, the first flexible golf membership linking individual golf clubs across the UK under one membership.
"We are delighted at PlayMoreGolf by the announcement for golf clubs and other facilities to open on December 2 under all COVID alert levels within the Rule of Six, permitting fourball play without restriction on the number of households who can play," said PlayMoreGolf CEO Alastair Sinclair.
"Now is the time committees and boards across the nation need to critique how their offering is relevant and sufficiently attractive to both existing and future generations of members and customers to their club.
"No one wants the renewed interest in golf to be a flash in the pan, therefore as an industry we need to adapt to changing consumer requirements and create a longer term sustainable platform for golf.
"With the run up to Christmas, it is welcome news within the industry as affordable golf memberships will be an attractive gift for 2021, enabling people to exercise in a safe environment.
"Next year is an important one for golf, as a sport and leisure activity, to appeal to a wider audience. How an industry we present ourselves to the consumer is crucial, not just to attracting new players but retaining current golfers to the sport."
Along with outdoor sports such as a golf, the new rules will also see non-essential retail, gyms, beauty salons and places of worship re-open across all tiers.
Weddings and team sports will also be recommence, with spectators allowed in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas, but with capacity limits and social distancing in place.
Johnson claimed regions in England will learn further about the specific tiers they will each be put into on Thursday.
We will have more news on golf courses reopening ahead of December 2 when we have it available.