Golf Clubs across the island of Ireland can reopen from Monday next, 26 April, for members only and there is a great buzz among the local players who can return to the fairways of the County Longford Club in line with the easing of Covid restrictions.
In the Republic of Ireland, this date is the first step in the journey to the resumption of full activity and while Government travel and household restrictions apply initially, golfers welcome the fact that golf is one of the first sports which has been allowed to resume under the ongoing Level 5 restrictions.
Following intensive engagement with the Department of Sport and Sport Ireland, Golf Ireland drafted a Return to Golf Protocol to assist clubs in their preparation for the resumption of play.
Golf Ireland CEO, Mark Kennelly commended golf clubs and members for their track record of compliance with the Return to Golf Protocol and urges all to remain vigilant as clubs reopen their fairways from Monday.
"We urge all club officials and members to familiarise themselves with the Protocol so that we can all play our part keeping our members and communities safe. The adherence to this Protocol in previous months significantly contributed to golf being one of the first sports to resume which we are extremely grateful for."
In the initial phase of reopening, golf will remain for members only with visitors welcomed back to clubs at a later date. Golf Ireland urges those who have been considering joining a golf club to contact their local club for membership opportunities.
"We’ve already seen an increase in membership cards being produced since it was announced that golf would be one of the first sports to return,’ continued Kennelly.
"The Golf Ireland Club Support and Development Team are on hand to support clubs in running recruitment and retention programmes such as the Get into Golf and Junior Framework initiatives."
Golf Clubs can be located using the Find a Club function at https://www.golfireland.ie/find-a-golf-club
Golf Ireland looks forward to continuing to engage with the relevant departments and agencies in the coming days and weeks to progress, as quickly as the public health situation will allow, the full return of all activities associated with the sport, as well as a comprehensive calendar of inter-club events and championships over the coming months.
General Guidance for Return to Golf Protocol
Green Fee payment will not be allowed in these early weeks of return. In compliance with the easing of the Covid restrictions, Golfers must only travel from within their county or within 20km of their home to play golf.
In the initial phase, the Irish Government have decided that participants in sport and exercise activity must be from no more than two households.
Therefore, groups playing on golf courses during this initial phase must be confined to a maximum of two households. This means that all tee times must be either two- balls, or alternatively three-balls .
Daily timesheets are restricted as follows:
• Two-balls at eight-minute intervals or longer
• Three-balls from no more than two households at nine-minute intervals or longer • 4 Balls are not allowed for the present.
Tee times must be booked in advance online or over the telephone. Clubs must ensure that players’ names are recorded on timesheets and timesheets must be kept for a period of at least six weeks to assist with contact tracing should the need arise.
Only members who have paid their membership(inc signed up to Direct Debits) by March 31st or made arrangements with the treasurer will be live on the BRS System and be able to book a slot.
The timesheet will be open 7 days before the beginning of the following week so that booking will be available to all on an equitable basis. Members will be allowed to book a maximum of 2 slots each week. If members book a third slot then the 3rd slot will be deleted. This is to allow all members to get the opportunity to get out playing and also prevent slots being booked and not being used which occurred after the last course closure. Similar protocols will be in place as was the case after the previous lockdown.
Members are reminded that membership can be paid by sending a cheque to the office or by paying by card over the phone. Please leave a voice message and your call will be returned. Bank transfers can also take place by using the clubs bank details which can be found on membership invoices.