It won’t be long now before every golf course in Australia will have the closed sign hanging on the front gate. For the health of the game and its players, this is a good thing.
With each state implementing its own COVID-19 rules and regulations, alongside those mandated by the Federal Government, there has been no shortage of confusion for golfers as to whether they can play or not.
On March 23, all clubhouses were closed but most courses nationwide remained open for play but with plenty of precautions in place to adhere to social-distancing regulations. Rakes were removed, ball washers covered, scorecards not exchanged and, at some courses, cups were raised above the putting surface.
Golf Australia, which has been providing daily updates and advice for clubs, released a recommendation on March 27, based on the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services directive, that golf clubs and their facilities should “close as soon as practicable” until April 13.
At 4.30pm today (March 30), Golf Australia advised all Australian golf clubs and facilities to close until further notice. Some Premiers and Chief Ministers have already supported this view and reinforced to their residents that this advice should be followed. It is expected that states/territories will all take this position in coming days.
And, for mine, that’s a good thing.
A Sunday drive around Sydney’s northern suburbs – one of the hot-spots for coronavirus infections – revealed golfers were taking advantage of the good weather and perhaps the last chance they will have to play under stricter self-isolation measures announced last night by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. With outdoor “gatherings” now restricted to two people, I can’t see many of the courses that remain open staying that way beyond Wednesday.
I have to admit it was not a good look for the game to see golfers treading the fairways – not all practicing social-distancing mind you – as the majority of the population stayed in self-isolation. It looked like any other normal Sunday.
But it wasn’t. No day is normal anymore.
With a slight drop in daily cases over the weekend, self-isolation is obviously working. I feel for the clubs losing their last revenue stream (as little as it may be) if they have to close their course. But I really believe this short term pain, and having more people staying home, will end this nightmare for all of us sooner rather than later.