It is with a feeling of deep regret that I must now inform all affiliated golf clubs and driving ranges that they should prepare to close from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December 2020.
Pending a vote today in the House of Commons, the UK government has confirmed these closures are required as part of increased national lockdown measures designed to suppress the spread of Covid-19, save lives and protect the NHS.
England Golf, as the governing body for the amateur game and alongside our colleagues in the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, respectfully, but vigorously challenged government to argue the case for golf courses to remain open.
As an open-air sport played by limited numbers in a vast outdoor setting which naturally lends itself to social distancing, we lobbied that golf should continue to be played in accordance with our government-approved ‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ framework.
With the Prime Minister actively encouraging family households and up to two individuals from different households to exercise in the open air without limit, I strongly believe that golf courses should have remained open as an extension to recreation even if it was necessary to close clubhouses and professional shops.
Participants would have been able to enjoy the obvious physical rewards of playing the game, but perhaps more importantly, the benefits to their mental health at a time of disruption to normal life.
The government engaged in detailed conversation, but has decided not to amend its original guidance and, on behalf of England Golf, I would ask all clubs and golfers to respect the legislation that is set to come into force overnight.
England Golf staff remain available to support golfers, clubs and counties throughout this period of temporary closure.
We will signpost to relevant information and government advice where we can and as quickly as possible with the help of our Club Support Officer network.
We will also maintain an open line of communication with government in a bid to allow courses and facilities to re-open at the earliest opportunity.
Please continue to check our social media channels and website for all the latest updates on golf and the Covid-19 situation.
I’m proud of the incredible support golf has received from so many quarters in the last few days – a sure sign of how much our game means to so many people in the country.
We will spend the next four weeks strengthening our network and building on this fantastic momentum to make sure that golf is never again in the position of having to close its doors when it can do so much to help support the country’s route out of the pandemic.
Jeremy Tomlinson, CEO England Golf