The following is a joint statement from the GUI and ILGU in relation to the current coronavirus pandemic, issued at 11.10am this morning.
Golf in Northern Ireland:
In its latest measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the UK Government has announced that everyone in the UK must now stay at home except in exceptional circumstances.
The new measures state that people in the UK may only leave home:
to go to work (if you are a key worker)
to infrequently shop for groceries, medicine and other essentials
to exercise outside once a day
to provide care or help a vulnerable person
for any medical need
While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message is clear. People must stay at home to help to contain the spread of COVID-19.
With this in mind, it is the view of the GUI and ILGU that all golf clubs in Northern Ireland must close their facilities with immediate effect.
Such closures will have a significant impact on golf clubs and we continue to consult with industry partners to provide clubs with all information and support possible during this time of deep uncertainty.
We know that these decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the UK Government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we get the opportunity to play the game that we all love as soon as it is safe to do so.
For security and essential maintenance purposes, greenkeeping staff can still attend work. All work must be carried out in strict accordance with government guidelines on social (physical) distancing. Clubs should divide course staff into two teams where possible and if one becomes unavailable, the other team will still be okay to work.
Golf in the Republic of Ireland:
The GUI and ILGU have consistently reflected the advice of expert medical professionals in advising our member clubs.
It is anticipated that an update on the period of restriction will be made soon by the Irish Government, after which we will issue an updated statement in relation to golf in the Republic of Ireland.
You will appreciate that this is a very fluid situation with new developments almost daily. We will continue to liaise with the appropriate authorities, and will ensure that our clubs are kept informed as to recommended best practice at all times.