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For the third time in under a year, golf courses in England will be required to close as the country enters a new phase in its fight against COVID-19.

In a live televised address this evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown will take effect immediately – and come into law in the early hours of Wednesday – amid a backdrop of spiralling coronavirus cases.

There has there has been a 50% rise in the number of patients in hospital with COVID across England since Christmas Day, with 50,000 new infections confirmed across the UK each day for the last six days.

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Schools will close and people will be required to work from home where possible, only leaving their homes for essential purposes.

Outdoor exercise is permitted but, unlike in Scotland, where golf courses may remain open despite a new raft of restrictions, it is a different picture in England.

National Lockdown Guidance published this evening on the Government’s Coronavirus website –

gov.uk/coronavirus

– states that “you can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure” and that “this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.”

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Specifically as it relates to golf courses, the guidance states: “Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.”

In a statement, England Golf spoke of its frustration at the latest golf lockdown, which comes just a month after the most recent one ended.

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“England Golf  – as part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf along with other leading industry bodies – is extremely disappointed with the news, having made a strong case in recent months to keep golf open during the national lockdowns and in the regional tier system,” said a spokesperson for the body.

“It is with great regret that we share this news with you, but please be assured that we will continue to make the case for golf to reopen whenever possible.”


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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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