Golf courses reopen as Government relax restrictions

After a total of 210 days closed by the pandemic, the game is back. The Liberty speaks with club members about getting back on the tees, greens and fairways.

In December, golf courses closed in line with Government restrictions as the country entered Level five lockdown

Golf courses will open on a membership only basis at first, with only members of golf clubs being allowed to play when they are reopened. 

Former Captain of Royal Tara Golf Club John Geraghty expressed his delight at the return of the sport. 

“I am absolutely delighted that we are allowed go back to play golf, it has been a long 4 months or so without playing so hopefully when we go back, we will be allowed continue and everything will be safe. 

“Every Sunday I go playing golf, and I try and get a round in during the week when it suits. I am excited to go back playing with my friends, we just can’t wait. It is the routine I love, going out to the course for 4 or so hours and just get away from everything.” 

Members will only be allowed play with one other player from a different household, in line with Government restrictions. These rules will change on the 1 May when four players will be allowed to play a round of golf together. 

Each tee-time will be distanced by 10 minutes, so that players will not interfere with each other and contact is kept to a minimum. 

“Every precaution is going to be in place because we don’t want the courses to be closed again,” said Geraghty. 

Castleknock Golf Club member Sean Melia commented on the measures been taking to keep everyone safe and his excitement at playing golf again. 

“The measures that are been put in play from the GUI (Golf Union Ireland) are absolutely fantastic. I was reading the conditions when I booked my first round, and everything seems so safe. It is great that everything is safe because we do not want to be closing the courses again.” 

“I have never been so quick to book a round of golf than when I booked the first round back. I play with my brother quite often, so I booked both of us in for nine holes. It’s exciting to have something to look forward to again after so long of having nothing.” 

Handicap qualifying activities will be administered when courses reopen at first. It will not be possible for clubs to hold competitions when first reopened so activities will be in place instead. 

Competitions will return in June in line with the regulations from GUI and the Government. Although there is uncertainty around the Fixtures Book for 2021 members will be informed of events at least a month in advance in the opportunity to sign up. 

Inter-club competitions are expected to begin in May.

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Pitch and Putt clubs have also reopened. Photo courtesy of Johnathon Pearl  

Pitch and putt courses will also reopen. Players will be instructed not to touch the flag or flagsticks. Rakes will also be removed from bunkers to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 

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