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Golfers swing this way and that when it comes to course closures


Victoria is going it alone in closing golf courses while other states are defying Golf Australia’s advice to shut down.

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Golf NSW, including the ACT, on Wednesday backflipped on a decision to shut fairways and bunkers for play.

“After reconsideration, the Office of Sport – NSW Government – has advised that golf is considered an activity that can continue to be played in line with Public Health Orders relating to public gathering limits, social distancing and the elderly,” Golf NSW said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Golf Australia sent a memorandum to state organisations and clubs on Monday advising they should close, although they have conceded they can’t force a country-wide shutdown.

“It is Golf Australia’s recommendation that, based on the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday evening, March 29 that limits outdoor gatherings to two persons or fewer, all golf clubs and facilities should close until further notice.”

Victoria and NSW fell into line, while other states decided to leave it up to individual clubs to make the call on whether they remain open for play with many deciding to continue for as long as is possible.

Under pressure from irate golfers who say golf is natural social distancing and falls under the category of exercise, NSW changed their view.

Among the Queensland clubs to remain open to members is Royal Queensland, which says it sought advice from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer before electing to proceed.

“We are remaining open not because we are blind to the threat that COVID-19 presents, but because we believe that we are offering our Members an important and safe opportunity to be outside during this period of restricted movement,” RQ president Andrew Greville said in a notice to members.

“It is imperative that we rigorously observe all of our new distancing regulations and etiquette.”

Courses that remain open have brought into a raft of rules including a two-player limit with strict tee-off times, no competitions, no sand buckets, flags remaining in on greens and balls removed from holes using the gloved hand.


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