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England Golf has admitted defeat in its battle to exempt golf from new COVID-19 mitigation measures, meaning that all golf facilities must close from tomorrow.

England Golf Chief Executive Jeremy Tomlinson confirmed the news
that, despite intense lobbying to government, increased national
lockdown measures will force the closure of golf clubs and driving ranges
from tomorrow until December 2.

A letter has been sent to all affiliated clubs and facilities to inform them of the fact.

It states: “It is with a feeling of deep regret that we 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.

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“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.”

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The letter went on to say: “With the Prime Minister actively encouraging family households and up
to two individuals from different households to exercise in the open
air without limit, we 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.”

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The letter added that the government had engaged in ‘detailed conversation’ with the England Golf and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf but, ultimately has decided not
to amend its original guidance. As a result, all clubs and golfers are being asked 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,” added the letter. “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.”

The new national lockdown measures were unveiled by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday night in a televised address to the nation.


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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