"Obey lockdown" - Scottish golf courses and golfers given direct order

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It's official: Scottish golf courses will NOT be allowed to re-open next week. That's according to the Scottish Government and Scottish Golf.

In a statement issued this lunchtime, the two organisations reiterated the message delivered yesterday by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that it is too soon to ease restrictions that are in place to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

They also insisted that golf courses and golfers who are considering defying the current lockdown protocols must resist that temptation. 

"In response to increased speculation and rumour around timing of the re-introduction of golf, Scottish Golf can confirm that nothing has been finalised regarding a date, or any details of potential phasing with Government," read the statement.

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"Scottish Golf has been, and will remain in regular dialogue with Scottish Government, with regards to the planned procedures for the safe return of our sport when the time is right.

"We also continue to collaborate with our partners in golf throughout the UK and act as a collective at every opportunity. 

"The recent update provided by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed that lockdown restrictions remain in place and the clear public health message is to stay home and save lives. 

"This responsibility sits with each of us and golf is no exception."

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Joe Fitzpatrick, the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing said that he sympathises with the increasing impatience and frustration among golfers at not being allowed to play golf, particularly in view of the recent good weather enjoyed by large chunks of the country. 

He said: “I recognise the importance of golf to many across the country, and the eagerness to return to the course as soon as possible. However, that can only happen once it is safe to do so – and the focus at present must be the continuation of measures to slow the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. 

"The Scottish Government and sportscotland are working closely with Scottish Golf to ensure the right preparation and risk assessment is undertaken to allow golf to return at the appropriate time.”

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The statement comes amid news that some clubs have intimidated to their members an intention to re-open their courses from next week, a development that Scottish Golf Chief Operating Officer Karin Sharp has described as "disappointing". 

"We urge all member clubs to continue to follow the Scottish Government advice, that continues to have the best interest of the public at heart," said Sharp. "Golf is a sport where integrity and rules sit at the very heart of the game and we ask all golfers to respect the position of Scottish Government and show patience at a time when the virus continues to have a devastating impact on society. 

"I appreciate the frustrations and desire to play golf as soon as possible, but I urge you to continue following Government guidelines and save lives".

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