Two Irish golf courses remain open despite coronavirus pandemic

Irish golf club goes against governing orders to close due to coronavirus outbreak

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 25 Mar 2020

Two championship golf courses in north county Dublin have remained open for play despite both the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union urging all golf clubs to close to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to a report in the Irish Times

On Tuesday, The Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union recommended all golf clubs, practice facilities and courses across the island close with immediate effect.

"While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message is clear," read a statement. "People must stay at home to help to contain the spread of COVID-19."


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s speech also outlined further restrictions to halt the spread of coronavirus. 

"We believe we need to do more to flatten the curve," said Mr Varadkar. "People should stay at home if at all possible - this is the best way to slow the virus."

The same story has applied in the United Kingdom with Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordering a lockdown on the country, which followed by both England Golf and Scottish Golf making it clear that all golf clubs were to close immediately as a result. 

The majority of the golf courses around Europe have now also shut down. 

But despite the recommendation from the Golfing Union of Ireland earlier this week, both Roganstown and Swords golf courses have decided to remain open for play for local golfers. 

"He [Mr Varadkar] specifically said things like ‘groups of four’, ‘outside exercise’, ‘[can] leave the house if you are going out for physical exercise’, ‘we have to preserve our humanity’, which means taking exercise and looking after your physical and mental well-being; that as long as you keep the groups to four [or less] and keep safe distances," said Ian McGuinness, the managing director of Roganstown.

"He left the parks open and, to be honest, there will be less people on the golf course than there will be in the park."

Mr McGuinness added both golf courses had adopted all the appropriate health and safety procedures, including removing ball washers, removing flags from holes, removing all bunker rakes, and disconnecting shoe cleaners. 

There are also signs on the golf courses informing players to keep two metres apart.

"If people are being responsible, it is the place to be," said Mr McGuinness.

"As far as I’m concerned, the positivity of the members [on keeping the courses open] has been brilliant. If the Government comes around and says ‘close’, I will close no problem."



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