With the return of golf possibly just around the corner, an official from a Lothians golf club is concerned that if clubs are not given the appropriate time to prepare, it could spark a "free for all" that sees health and safety thrown out the window.
Greenkeepers have recently been advised to have courses ready for reopening at very short notice, but Uphall treasuer Bill Mackintosh believes it is vital that clubs are notified at least 72 hours prior to reopening, in order to make sure the appropriate health and safety precautions can be made.
“Whilst getting back to golf would be fantastic, we cannot have a free for all,” said Mackintosh.
“Assuming there are going to be recommendations per BIGGA, the R&A etc, these need more than 24 hours’ notice to ensure safety of players and staff.
“Our club’s view is that 72 hours notice would be a reasonable timescale to ensure that we get all of the necessary bits and pieces in place to allow everyone to play safely.
“That way, we minimise the risk of anything going wrong or action being taken against the club for failing to comply with whatever measures are required.”
Although greenkeepers have still been able to work at most golf clubs in the UK during the coronavirus lockdown, Mackintosh says there are a lot of hurdles to jump besides making sure the course is fit for action.
“Members need to be advised of the conditions applying to golf,” he added. “Tee time intervals need to be input, while booking systems need to be updated and activated and staff need to be recalled from furlough.
“Clubs need to be retrieved out of lockers in an orderly manner while, out on the course, tee markers need to be put out and holes need to be cut.
“Some of this can be done in advance (and we have a detailed action plan), but much depends on how many of the conditions we need to apply and what local variations are needed."
Gullane secretary Gordon Simpson seconds the opinion that clubs need more than a days notice and that the last things clubs need is for something to go wrong and attract unwanted issues.
“Ideally, we would obviously love some lead time into re-opening but course wise we could get this set up with 24 hours’ notice no problem although the course may not be 100 per cent how we would like it at this time of year,” he said.
“The difficulty is booking and controlling the tee times in such a quick turnaround as when we do open as we don’t know all of the regulations as yet.
“The last thing any club would want to do is open too quickly and there be some issues to attract attention from the authorities.
“We are all working on hearsay and gossip at present to try and devise a re-opening plan.
“It would be great if we had clear guidelines to work towards, but I think the bottom line is that all clubs would do everything practically possible to get open as quick as they can to try and get our members back playing.”