There has been plenty of reaction to confirmation of the news that golf courses across the country are closed from today as per the government's Level 5 restrictions.
The new Covid-19 rules came into effect nationwide at midnight last night, with golf courses set to be closed for the next six weeks.
The Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and Irish Ladies Golf Union jointly confirmed the news yesterday evening, while it is not yet known if driving ranges and practice facilities can remain open.
A statement from the GUI outlined the decision after two days of discussions:
"Following intensive engagement over the past 48 hours, we have been informed this afternoon by Sport Ireland that, very regrettably golf clubs must close under the new level 5 restrictions.
Essential course maintenance is permitted to continue under level 5. We have sought clarity on the issue as to whether ranges/practice facilities can remain open for exempted activities. We will update clubs on this as soon as possible."
There has been widespread disappointment over the decision from many, with golf a social outlet during the previous lockdown when they eventually re-opened in May.
Level 5 restrictions state clearly individual training is allowed. Why has golf been forced to stop ? It is one of the few sports where one can individually train @cathmartingreen @EamonRyan @GUIGolf @sportireland @MichealMartinTD @gregallenRTE @GolfWeeklyOTB @IrishGolfDesk pic.twitter.com/eUSefGPj3C
— Peter Lawrie (@pelawrie) October 21, 2020
Safest sport out there.
Out in the open, never near another member and great for exercise, especially during a lockdown.
Not the GUI’s decision either so can’t blame them.
Load of other sports have reported many COVID cases and there still being played.
Laughable decision 🥴🥴 pic.twitter.com/KVBGbCsMuX
— Gavin Moynihan (@GavinMoynihan) October 21, 2020
'Your routine exercise gets a hell of a lot harder...'
Golf & gyms fail to get special Level 5 lockdown exemptions.
How are you planning on keeping fit? 🤔 | @GilletteUK #MadeOfWhatMatters pic.twitter.com/egf49sUjFW
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) October 22, 2020
@cathmartingreen @EamonRyan Decision to close golf courses is not consistent with other Level 5 restrictions. Golf has operated safely within Social Distancing guidelines and is an important outlet for many people. Decision needs to be reversed! @GUIGolf
— Fiacra Nagle (@FiacraN) October 22, 2020
— Ballyliffin GC (@Ballyliffin) October 21, 2020
Ireland closes golf clubs for level 5 Covid restrictions! It’s laughable. If they see the way I play, I’m never near anyone on a golf course! Get a grip people, it’s not like being in a sweaty gym is it?
— Gareth Painter (@Gruffster79) October 21, 2020
Need for a more sophisticated approach to level 5 covid restrictions. Eg, 2 people can meet up & enjoy a socially distanced walk together but they cannot walk on a golf course & hit golf balls as all courses closing. Makes no sense. Golf shdnt be treated as a 4 letter word!
— Alan Shatter (@Alan__Shatter) October 21, 2020
I just heard the news here on twitter that #golf is gone under level 5 restrictions. I won’t break the news to these two until we finish up our round ⛳️ Looks like I’ll be back out with the drone instead of the clubs again for a while 😢 pic.twitter.com/ZKuyWt9UcS
— Teach de Broc (@TeachDeBroc) October 21, 2020
Individual training is allowed under the government's guidelines, but golf will not be included in that bracket, while tennis can continue in certain instances.
Adults living within 5km of their club can play casual singles tennis (or doubles with a member of their own household only) but cannot train, play matches or engage in coaching sessions.
A statement from Tennis Ireland last night outlined the many requirements that must be followed for anyone participating in the sport over the next six weeks:
The Board of Tennis Ireland have always put the health and safety of its members and the wider community as its top priority during the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to do so and ask that all those involved in tennis do so also by following the protocols provided by Tennis Ireland and Government.
Tennis is a safe sport and the following safety measures must continue to be in place in our clubs
- Minimise touch points – gates open, courtside furniture removed
- One parent/guardian must accompany any player under 18 years if playing casually
- Promotion of social distancing at all times
- Posters to be displayed and sanitising stations readily accessible
- All players, and not just the player making the booking, should be included in the booking
- Players encouraged to travel to the club alone, or only with a member of the same household.
- Ample car parking spaces should be available to ensure social distancing. If players must park next to another car, they should wait for the other person to exit or enter before doing so themselves.
- Players should arrive at the court entrance no more than 5 minutes prior to the reserved playing time.