Is golf banned under Level 4 restrictions in Scotland?

Scottish Golf Flag

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that, from 6pm on Friday, 11 local authorities in Scotland will move into the highest level of COVID-19 mitigation restrictions.  

The affected areas are: the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian. 

Each of these regions will be moved from Level 3 of the country's coronavirus lockdown measures into Level 4 for a "strictly limited period" as infection rates continue to be maintained at a "stubbornly high level".

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Under these measures, non-essential retail shops will be forced to close, along with restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars. Services which involve "close contact" - such as hairdressers, barbers, massage therapies and dress-fitting - will also be banned.

All leisure and entertainment premises, such as cinemas, must be closed, along with all indoor sports facilities, including gyms.

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However, how do the new restrictions affect golf courses?

The good news is that, unlike the national lockdown in the spring, they can remain open. According to the Level 4 guidance issued by the Scottish Government, outdoor non-contact sports - such as golf - are permitted for all age groups.

People living with a Level 4 area are also permitted to meet others outdoors for informal exercise or sport. However, there may be some restrictions on who can play with whom depending on your the COVID mitigation measures taken by your club 

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For those golf clubs who have a COVID Officer and applicable risk assessments, groups of up to four golfers can play together with no restrictions on number of households.

For those golf clubs who do NOT have a COVID Officer and applicable risk assessments, groups of up to four golfers can play together on the condition that no more than two households are represented

You are not permitted to drive outside your local authority area for exercise, although an exception is made if you are forced to cross boundaries in the process of playing, such as if a golf course straddles two local authority area boundaries.

Here's how other elements of golf provision are impacted by Level 4 restrictions.

Clubhouses

• All indoor clubhouse facilities should be closed.

• All indoor AND outdoor hospitality facilities should be closed.

• However, a takeaway service may be provided.

Pro shops

• All professional and retail shops should be closed, although 'click and collect' can be operated.

• Starter facilities can operate providing adherence to physical distancing and appropriate measure are put in place.

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Coaching

• All coaching is permitted.

• Group coaching should not exceed group sizes of 30.

Driving ranges, swing studios & custom fitting

• All indoor or a combination of indoor and outdoor facilities should be closed.

• Fully outdoor facilities (regardless of whether bays are covered or not) can remain open on the condition that access to bays can be controlled with physical distancing and all appropriate hygiene measures in place.

• Club fitting services cannot be offered.

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