Golfers return to the fairways as courses reopen

Golfers return to the fairways as courses reopen
Captain Paul Nolan re-opening play at Faithlegg Golf Club, Waterford, flanked at a social distance by Neil McGrory (Captain ex officio) and Mel Morgan.

330 clubs in the Republic of Ireland opened their courses - but not their doors - as golfers returned to action under strict social distancing rules.

Only members who live within 5km of their club were allowed to play on Monday on the first day of Phase 1 of the Irish government’s Roadmap for Reopening of Society and Business.

Clubs nationwide reported huge interest though numbers were naturally limited by the travel restrictions in place.

Golfers return to the fairways as courses reopen
Irish professional golfer Leona Maguire hits her second shot on the 3rd hole, watched by her twin sister and former professional golfer Lisa Maguire, during a round of golf at Slieve Russell Golf Club in Cavan. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Golfing Union of Ireland Communications manager Alan Kelly said: “Golfers are very lucky to be back playing in the first stage of the roadmap. In fact, it is a privilege to be in this position.

“We should be thankful and grateful to all the frontline workers that have done so much that allows us, as a country, to be in the position where golf can be played.”

Golfers return to the fairways as courses reopen
GAA commentator and Kerry football great Tomás Ó Sé drives off at Fota Island Golf Resort on the first day of the relaxation of Covid-19 constraints. Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
He added: “We cannot take any of this for granted. There is now a huge responsibility on every golf to observe social distancing, ensure good hand hygiene, and to ensure that all the protocols in place are followed and observed.” 

Some of the rules in force today meant that all bookings for tee times had to be made online or by telephone with increased intervals between tee times. 

Golfers return to the fairways as courses reopen
A member of the public preparing to play at Bunclody Golf Club, Wexford. Photo: INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Clubhouses, bars, and restaurants remained closed during this first phase with access to the pro shop only for check-in purposes. Toilet facilities were accessible along with locker rooms for the retrieval of equipment but golfers were instructed to arrive at courses just five minutes before their tee time and leave directly after their rounds.

Golf Ireland CEO, Mark Kennelly, added that the new regulations had proven successful.

He explained: "The feedback to date is that the return to play protocols set out by national governing bodies have worked well. While very happy that our sport is one of the first to be allowed to resume, we are acutely conscious that the country is still going through a major public health emergency and that remains our overriding priority. The national governing bodies urge all golfers to continue to fully comply with the safe golf protocols and to public health advice from the government and health authorities."

Club competitions will not be permitted until Phase 2 comes into force on June 8.

More on this topic

Kenmare Golf Club vow to rise from the ashes following fire damageKenmare Golf Club vow to rise from the ashes following fire damage

Competition restart will bring Irish golf nearer normalityCompetition restart will bring Irish golf nearer normality

Revamped European Tour with reduced footprint a glimpse of the futureRevamped European Tour with reduced footprint a glimpse of the future

Ryder Cup could be 'a yawner of an event' without fans, says Steve StrickerRyder Cup could be 'a yawner of an event' without fans, says Steve Stricker


More in this Section

All Blacks great Dan Carter returns to New Zealand to join Super Rugby side BluesAll Blacks great Dan Carter returns to New Zealand to join Super Rugby side Blues

Football rumours from the mediaFootball rumours from the media

Porto resume with shock loss to FamalicaoPorto resume with shock loss to Famalicao

Karolina Pliskova wins as tennis returns in rainy PragueKarolina Pliskova wins as tennis returns in rainy Prague


Lifestyle

Another week, another fiendishly fun test of your arts and showbiz knowledge from Irish Examiner Arts Editor Des O'Driscoll.Scene & Heard: Fun culture quiz

More From The Irish Examiner