• Thu. Feb 25th, 2021

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Should golf be first to open after lockdown?


England Golf CEO Jeremy Tomlinson: “I truly believe our great game of golf is exceptionally well placed to play a positive role in this first phase of recovery and should be given that opportunity by government.”

Last Updated: 16/02/21 11:15am

It remains unknown when golf will be able to reopen in England

England Golf CEO Jeremy Tomlinson has called on golf to be allowed to reopen as part of the first easing of lockdown restrictions.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said he plans to launch his “roadmap” for easing England’s lockdown on February 22, with no date yet confirmed on when outdoor sports facilities will be able to reopen.

Golf courses and driving ranges have been closed throughout England’s third lockdown but were able to stay open during the previous Tier restrictions, while England Golf has outlined its vision on how it can safely help as part of the country’s recovery plan.

Courses have been closed since lockdown restrictions came into effect on January 4

Courses have been closed since lockdown restrictions came into effect on January 4

An open letter to the prime minister, shared on the England Golf website, aimed to “reinforce the scientific view that golf can not only be played safely during the first phase of recovery”, with Tomlinson hoping that golf’s reopening can help the country bounce back from lockdown.

“As you consider easing restrictions, I truly believe our great game of golf is exceptionally well placed to play a positive role in this first phase of recovery and should be given that opportunity by government,” Tomlinson said.

“England Golf has been clear from the start – golf is a sport played safely in the open air with social distancing part and parcel of every round. With the introduction of our Play Safe, Stay Safe protocols after the first lockdown, we made our sport even more secure.

“I’m sure you will be aware that many golfers have already contacted their own MPs to make this point and no doubt many more will reinforce this view by voicing their support for an expedient, safe return to playing golf in the days ahead.

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“For in excess of two million golfers in England, the mental and physical health benefits of playing our sport can be clearly documented. This isn’t anecdotal, this is based on solid scientific data. The fact that these benefits can be enjoyed without presenting any undue risk to wider public health is hugely significant and this point has been stressed again in recent correspondence with government.

“You will recall that last month, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf presented government with an updated scientific paper which once again demonstrated clearly how golf can be played safely during any stage of a pandemic. In short, golf remains a sport that’s safe and good for both body and soul.

“Our golfing community has struggled without access to the game they love. For many, the mental hardships have been tougher to endure than the physical ones.

“Like all sports, we have clubs navigating through the economic problems of lockdown, the uncertainty of a re-start date, the questions from furloughed staff about jobs, the queries from members about annual subscriptions. These have been tough times that none of us want to visit again.

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“We are all trying to keep positive through what we hope is the final stage of lockdown, remaining optimistic that the “follow the science” news remains upbeat. Importantly, we see no reason why golf can’t be one of the first sports to return, to help with the healing process for our country, and to ensure that the sun can once again shine on us all through the 2021 season.”

The full letter can be viewed on the England Golf website.

Should recreational golf be the first to reopen as part of the easing of lockdown restrictions? Get in touch via @SkySportsGolf or comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules.

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