Golf has received a further setback after the Government responded to the petition to have golf courses reopened, with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport standing firm on its decision to close England's golf courses, despite acknowledging the physical and mental benefits of the sport.
The petition was launched earlier this year and it didn't take long to collate over 100,000 signatures, meaning the Government would consider debating the matter.
England Golf CEO Jeremy Tomlinson pleaded with the Government to rethink its decision, citing that golf could be played in a safe manner without anyone having to come into contact with one another.
Golfers across the country were outraged and confused as to why it was deemed safe and okay to walk across a golf course for exercise, but taking your golf clubs with you was suddenly against the rules.
It looked as though golf was set to receive some positive news, after angling was added to the list of apporved exercise during lockdown, but the DCMS has now confirmed golf courses will not be reopening any time soon.
The reply to the petition read:
Sport is crucial for our mental and physical health. That’s why we have continued to make sure that people can exercise. Given the seriousness of the current situation golf courses have had to close.
The importance of sport and physical activity, including golf, for the nation’s physical and mental health has never been more apparent. They are a powerful defence against the covid-19 pandemic, and we will need to raise levels of fitness among the population as we prepare to return to our normal lives, now the vaccination programme has begun.
No government would want to be in a position of needing to close sports facilities including golf courses. Golf has great reach across society as people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can take part in the game; it brings people together to experience the outdoors and enjoy nature. Golf courses were one of the first sports facilities to be reopened following the initial lockdown and they were also able to stay open in the local tiered restrictions, including tier 4. However, the current spread of the virus risks the healthcare system becoming overwhelmed. This is something we cannot allow to happen and is why the current national lockdown was introduced.
The current restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions. All decisions made by the Government relating to the pandemic and sport have been based on advice and guidance from health and scientific experts.
During the period of these restrictions you can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area. You should maintain social distancing.
You can exercise in a public outdoor place which include:
● parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
● public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
● the grounds of a heritage site
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport