Social golf continues in most Australian states despite the recent lockdown due to the escalating Covid-19 pandemic.
The Australian Government had imposed a closure from Monday, March 23 on all pubs, licensed clubs, bars, restaurants and cafes (dining in), cinemas, casinos, places of worship, gymnasiums and indoor sporting venues.
The governing body for golf in the country, Golf Australia, issued guidelines on how clubs can keep operating during the lockdown. Clubs and golf facilities were also advised to monitor announcements from the department of health as the situation may change daily.
The advisory on Golf Australia’s website, www.golf.org.au, noted: “Considering the recent announcements, clubs that are permitted to operate should be doing all they can to protect the privilege of being able to play our sport during these challenging times. Clubs should actively discourage the congregation of players and not drawing any undue attention to their hospitality offerings.”
Clubs were advised to review their operational plans to promote social distancing, using measures such as:
- removing ‘shotgun’ and ‘two-tee’ starts to reduce peak service loads across the course
- creating larger gaps between groups on time sheets
- reducing or cancelling club competitions with a heightened focus on social play
- reviewing the need for the pro-shop to operate, or operate on a reduced capacity.
Golf Australia noted that the situation was fluid and that they would keep the clubs updated on new developments:
“Golf Australia’s advice is based on communications with government and we will continue to liaise with government on all matters over the coming hours and days.
“The potential implications are changing constantly and we will continue to monitor accordingly, and provide updates to clubs and facilities as regularly as required, or alternatively when additional Federal Government updates are announced.”
Guidelines were also provided on how clubs should act when a member, guest or staff is exposed to or tested positive for Covid-19.
The updates for each state in relation to local government regulations were:
“Queensland: At this point, the advice received from the Queensland government is as follows; If a course or facility is licensed, it must completely close immediately. Golf Australia is currently working hard to advocate for the sport to continue to be played during this crisis.
South Australia: The advice for SA comes out of SAPOL, The Office of Rec, Sport & Racing and The Office of Liquor & Gaming through Clubs SA. It is Golf Australia’s advice that all buildings at your golf club must be closed to the public immediately. This includes all pro-shops. In addition, all golf activity must be ‘members only’ with no food or beverage service whatsoever.
Tasmania: The advice for Tasmania comes from the Tasmanian Hospitality Association. The playing of golf can continue provided social distancing measures are in place. All licensed clubhouses should be immediately closed, with no food or beverage service taking place. Takeaway food and non-alcoholic beverages can be sold at pro-shops.
Western Australia: The advice for WA comes from Clubs WA. The playing of golf can continue provided social distancing measures are in place. All licensed clubhouses should be immediately closed, with no food or beverage service taking place. Takeaway food and non-alcoholic beverages can be sold out at pro-shops, halfway hut or catering cart. Clubs should not provide any seated areas. It is important that golf clubs and facilities adhere to these restrictions to ensure golf can continue to be played and is not seen as flouting the restrictions in place for other businesses.
New South Wales: The information for NSW comes from Government and Law Enforcement Officials. While your clubhouse operations must be closed for normal business, golfing activities can and should continue. Of course, golfers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene and adhere to social distancing guidelines, as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments.
Northern Territory: The Northern Territory advice has been sourced from Licensing NT . Licensing NT have provided additional direction stating that your course can remain open, however all bar areas and outdoor drinking areas for members and guests must be closed. You can, however, continue to sell takeaway liquor to members with the clubhouse closed for any other purpose.
Victoria: The Victorian advice has been sourced from Sport, Recreation & Racing Victoria. Sport, Recreation and Racing Victoria’s advice is that golf courses can continue to operate at this time. Your clubhouse must be closed at this time.”
To find out more, log on to Golf Australia’s dedicated Covid-19 page, golf.org.au/covid-19