The Protocol for golfers is in place, as are the Government guidelines for Phase 1 of its roadmap out of Covid-19 lockdown.
Here are the most frequently asked questions from clubs and golfers alike, as published by the golfing unions, the GUI, and ILGU.
A. The protocol sets out the basis on which golf has been permitted as an activity can be played in the coming months, as approved by Government. This permits golf to resume in a controlled and phased manner, in line with the advice and guidance of public health officials. The protocol was drafted in consultation with golf club managers, industry professionals, and healthcare professionals. We are grateful that golf has been allowed to return and the protocol is in place to ensure that restrictions are not re-imposed.
A. The basis on which golf has been permitted, by Government, to restart from May 18 includes a provision that golf is for members only in Phase 1. The inclusion of guests and/or visitors may have resulted in a later return for all golfers. Ireland is still in the serious stages of a public health emergency and golf must ensure it plays its part in limiting the spread of the virus, including limiting movement (including cross-border) and making contact tracing easier for the authorities. In Phase 2, members will be permitted to bring guests, provided their club permits them to do so, whilst Phase 3 will see the return of visitors.
A. It is the responsibility of individuals to observe society-wide public health guidelines. While golf clubs must ensure that the game is played safely, it is not the responsibility of golf clubs to ensure that members adhere to the laws of the land.
A. Golf returning will allow members to enjoy their club facilities in the first instance and membership revenue is an important income stream for clubs. As restrictions on movement are eased there will be a return to visitors and competitive golf.
A. Yes. Clubs should be mindful not to undermine their existing membership and be conscious that existing members may want to avail of any discounted package that would be available to new members.
A. A club is entitled to offer memberships to individuals in line with its own constitution/bye-laws. As above, clubs need to be mindful of the value of each category of membership and ensure members don’t switch to a cheaper membership category that is perceived as better value.
A. Yes. Your employer should provide you with a letter stating you are required to attend work at a golf club facility.
A. The unions have prepared a high-level paper for Government to consider which outlines the financial hardship many clubs will incur as a result of the pandemic. The unions will continue to outline the case for supports to the relevant agencies and departments. In addition, the unions working with CGI (Confederation of Golf in Ireland) will continue to review our supports and programmes that are available to clubs and will continue to assist clubs retain and grow membership.
A. On the face of it, it would appear that it is permissible for individual golf tuition to take place during Phase 1. We understand that the PGA (Professional Golfers' Association) will provide guidance to members on this matter.
A. It is up to each individual to decide for themselves, based on their own circumstances, living arrangements, and potential for contact with others at certain times, whether playing golf is compatible with the HSE’s advice on cocooning.
Regarding exercise, the HSE advice to people who have to cocoon states that you may “go out for a short walk” and that if you choose to go for a short walk beyond your garden you should:
For information on cocooning, see the HSE website.
A. Yes, as long as it is sanitized prior to and after use, and is not used by any other person during your round.
A. The Return to Work Safely Protocol is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, when the economy begins to slowly open up, following the temporary closure of most businesses during the worst phase of the current pandemic.
The Protocol should be used by all workplaces to adapt their workplace procedures and practices to comply fully with the COVID-19 related public health protection measures identified as necessary by the HSE. It sets out in very clear terms for employers and workers the steps that they must take before a workplace reopens, and while it continues to operate.
It can be accessed here.
A. Yes, as outlined in the protocol document juniors are encouraged to return to golf, for the first two phases juniors should be accompanied by an adult (where possible from the same household).
A. From Phase 2, Government outline that training can take place in small groups where social distancing can be maintained.
A. It is likely that clubs will have to put measures in place to manage access to practice facilities. This will be a matter for each individual club to manage, based on capacity and demand.
Posters and resources can be found here.
A. It is available on the Golfnet website.