Green light to re-open could come "overnight", greenkeepers told


Greenkeepers across the country have been advised to prepare for their courses re-opening at very short notice, "perhaps even overnight".

That is one of two scenarios outlined in a document published by the British and International Golf Greenkeepers' Association (BIGGA). 

In a statement, the organisation said: "BIGGA has had no official guidance from government about either topic. However, golfers are eager to get back out on the course and golf facilities will re-open to the public eventually."

It has been speculated that the UK government could ease some coronavirus-enforced restrictions within the next few days, paving the way for golf courses to re-open as has happened in numerous other countries. 

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Play resumed in Portugal on Monday, with France, Switzerland and Spain expected to allow its courses to re-open this Monday coming (May 11). That date has also been touted for the UK's courses, whilst the Republic of Ireland revealed late last week that it will be relaxing its own restrictions from May 18.

With no clear guidelines forthcoming, BIGGA is advising its members to prepare for getting short notice and "one to two weeks'" notice for play resuming. 

"Given both these potential situations, course managers are advised to put plans in place that would enable the facility to resume business in a timely fashion," added the BIGGA statement.

"Evidence from other countries and UK dependencies, where courses have reopened, suggests that demand for golf will be very high. 

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"For matters of safety and to ensure essential maintenance continues, it is important that agreed times are set aside when greenkeepers have priority. It is essential that golfers strictly adhere to this."

Factors BIGGA recommends considering are prohibiting before a given time each day; strictly limiting the number of starting points; scheduled course closures; agreeing a pace of play schedule, especially for early in the day, so golfers don’t catch up with greenkeepers; and splitting greenkeeping shifts to maximise the time available for course maintenance during the day.

The full statement can be read here.

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