It’s not just the pros who love all things golf in England; it’s the public who have been forced to stay off the links during the latest round of lockdowns. This is exactly why the re-opening of golf as of December 2nd in England is such a huge and welcome announcement. Of course, it’s not all back to normal, as there will still be COVID protocols in place to ensure the sport can be enjoyed in a safe manner. Regardless of what tier the region is in, golf will be permitted for play in fourballs.
So, what do the COVID protocols look like, and what can players heading back to the links expect? There are a number of safety measures in place – most that likely won’t come as a surprise.
Fourballs Are Now Permitted in All Tiers
Many golfers will probably remember that back in the first lockdown that took place in England, golf was temporarily shut down, and when it returned, only two-balls were permitted. While many assumed that may be the case this time, the government has in fact given the green light to fourballs.
The Tier System Will Dictate Some Measures
Despite the fact that fourballs will be permitted in all tiers of the alert system, other restrictions will be put in place. In the case of a Tier 3 alert setting, the indoor hospitality services at the course will only be allowed to provide takeaway food. Also, all the clubhouses must be closed.
Another rule is that face coverings will need to be worn in all the indoor settings. This rule expands across all tiers, making it universal and easy to follow. This means that if the golfer is to walk into the clubhouse or a pro shop, they need to have a proper face covering on.
There is also the ‘rule of six’ which will also apply to any region that is in Tier 1 (medium alert). The ‘rule of six’ means that players cannot socialize outside a group of six people – both outdoors and indoors.
For the Tier 2 regions, the rules get much stricter. Golfers are not allowed to socialize with anyone outside their immediate household, or outside their support bubble in an indoor setting. As for outdoors, the limit is six people.
The government has also stated that golfers in high alert areas (Tier 2 and 3) must not travel to Tier 1 regions to play golf.
Turning to Other Means to Keep Up with the Sport
So, what have the professionals and amateurs alike been doing to keep up with the sport that they love so much? One of the biggest hits have been golf simulators, such as the Edina Golf Simulator. A golf simulator not only gives you the feeling of playing on the real thing, but it helps players to improve their game and prepare to get back on the actual links.
As restrictions start to ease up in England, most notably the fact that football fans will be able to return to some games after 266 days of being closed to fans, the reopening of golf comes as a welcome measure.