Following news late last night that golf in the UK is required to go into lockdown as the country tries to get to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, one huge questioned has arisen.
What about greenkeepers - can they still go to work?
Officially, the government guidance, issued by the Prime Minister last night, is that people may only leave home to exercise once a day, to shop for essential items, to fulfil any medical or care needs, and to travel to and from work where "absolutely necessary".
However, that has left many to wonder what, precisely, constitutes "absolutely necessary"? In the case of greenkeepers, for example, is it not "absolutely necessary" for them to maintain their golf courses? After all, coronavirus or no coronavirus, grass will keep growing.
This morning, the various administrative bodies of the amateur game in the UK have issued guidance of their own, based on conversations with partners across the industry, on how greenkeepers should proceed.
The advice is as follows:
• For security and essential maintenance purposes, greenkeeping staff can still attend work.
• All work must be carried out in strict accordance with government guidelines on social distancing.
Furthermore, the Golf Club Managers Association (GCMA), PGA, British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and R&A have issued golf industry guidelines to help clubs make contingency plans for their business. That document can be viewed here.
For the avoidance of any doubt...
• Clubs, courses and other golf facilities in the UK MUST now close until instructed otherwise.
• Golfers MUST NOT attempt to play golf or undertake any golf activity outwith their own homes.
• Greenkeepers MAY continue to attend work for security and essential maintenance purposes but all work must adhere to government guidelines on social distancing.