Wales Golf FUMING that courses remain closed during lockdown

Wales eases restrictions slightly for exercise, but golf courses remain closed...

Andy Roberts's picture
Sat, 20 Feb 2021
Golf Wales "disappointed" that courses remain closed during lockdown

Wales Golf CEO Richard Dixon has outlined his "disappointment" at golf remaining shut out despite First Minister Mark Drakeford confirming the country will now permit up to four people from two households to meet up for local exercise from today (Saturday February 20). 

The slight easing of restrictions in Wales does not mean people can drive somewhere to exercise nor does it mean that people can socialise, and to the frustration of golfers it still means no golf. 

The next review by the Welsh Government will take place on March 12, when it is expected that golf courses will then be given a green light to reopen for golfers. 

Wales Golf is said to be "disappointed" by the latest easing restrictions where golf is concerned, going on to explain that the Welsh Government had even agreed the sport "can be played in a safe, socially distance manner". 

"We hope that golf and other outdoor sports will be able to return in some capacity following the next review on March 12," read a Wales Golf statement on Friday. 

"At a meeting with Welsh Government officials earlier this week, we presented the APPGG COVID-19 Secure Golf Document which supports our long-held view that golf has been and can continue to be played safely during the current pandemic.

"Other key areas of discussion centred around the numerous mental health and wellbeing benefits golf provides to tens of thousands of participants across Wales.

"Welsh Government agreed that golf is a sport that can be played in a safe, socially distanced manner. Their main concerns were with the potential Wales-wide impact of relaxing the ‘stay at home’ restrictions, and the cumulative impact of doing this."



Wales Golf CEO Richard Dixon added: "I would like to thank all our Welsh Clubs for the excellent work you have been doing in helping to keep our sport, golfers and communities safe. By continuing this effort, we will put golf in a strong position to return as soon as it is safe to do so.

"Wales Golf feels there is a strong case for golf courses to remain open alongside public parks and playgrounds under Tier 4 restrictions and continues to work with the Welsh Government to make this point.

"We totally understand the wider concerns, but golf is a sport that can be played safely outdoors while providing exercise. The whole golf industry has adapted to the restrictions imposed to ensure people’s safety, developed significant operational experience and established Covid secure practices, including rule changes and other mitigation measures that meet the 'hands, face, space' directive.

"The health and wellbeing benefits of playing golf are well documented in scientific studies. Leaders in public health, public policy and sport from across the globe recognise that golf tackles physical inactivity and contributes to the prevention of a range of non-communicable diseases. Combining the undeniable benefits golf offers to a significant proportion of the country, and the steps taken that ensure golf is a sport that can be played safely, it is ideally placed to be able to be played safely under lockdown restrictions.

"Our colleagues in the golf industry around the UK are also united in pushing these messages. We want to assure golfers in Wales we are representing them at the highest levels."



Mr Drakeford said: "I'm very familiar with the long list of activities that people write to us about - why not tennis, why not golf, why not fishing, why not pigeon racing? It's a long list.

"The problem is, every activity you add gives the virus another opportunity to circulate. And the more you add incrementally by themselves, they may hardly seem to add anything.

"But everything adds something, and by the time you've added them all up, you find the virus is thriving and getting away from us again. That's what I keep trying to explain to people. It's the cumulative effect of all these things we have to be aware of. Not just the single strands."

England will likely learn when golf courses can reopen when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation on Monday.