Nov 3rd, 2020
Golf bodies keep up the pressure on Boris
England Golf among signatures on a letter to the Prime Minister
The letter has been written by Craig Tracey MP – the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf – on behalf of England Golf, the PGA, The R&A, BIGGA and other leading groups from the golf industry.
The letter argues that golf courses should remain open after the lockdown begins in England at midnight on Thursday.
'We appreciate that there are often misconceptions about who golf is accessible to, but the reality is that there are over 3m people who regularly play the game in Great Britain spanning all abilities, age groups, backgrounds, gender, and faiths. It also provides welcome access to green spaces for many people who aren’t able to access them elsewhere and has proven health benefits.' argues the letter.
The full text of the letter is
Dear Prime Minister,
During the lockdown implemented earlier this year, the game of Golf was able to clearly demonstrate that it could be enjoyed in a COVID safe way, which is why it was one of the first sports to be able to return once restrictions were relaxed. This was a privilege that the sport took incredibly seriously and accordingly adopted the highest possible standards to keep the participants safe, which have remained strictly in place to date. The average golf course covers a 60-hectare space, which on average would see only 96 people on it at any one time, which makes it the perfect setting for people of all ages and abilities to get their daily exercise in an extremely safe environment.
We appreciate that there are often misconceptions about who golf is accessible to, but the reality is that there are over 3m people who regularly play the game in Great Britain spanning all abilities, age groups, backgrounds, gender, and faiths. It also provides welcome access to green spaces for many people who aren’t able to access them elsewhere and has proven health benefits. Leaders in public health recognise the benefits it can offer in not just tackling physical inactivity, but also its contribution to the prevention of a range of non-communicable diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes as well as certain cancers.
Whilst we agree that certain measures will have to be adapted, such as closing clubhouses, these should not be seen as prohibitive to allowing play to continue. Golf clubs in England have already embraced a raft of changes with the vast majority offering online booking services, having pre-scheduled arrival times to eradicate contact with other people and rule changes which ensure players stay socially distanced. In reality, a round of golf affords greater COVID security than comparable activities of walking, running and cycling in an urban area.
In view of the undeniable health and mental wellbeing benefits that golf offers to a significant proportion of the country, we would ask that you consider exempting it from the proposed restrictions, should they come in to force on Wednesday. Should either you or any of your team require any further information, we are available to offer this at your convenience.
Craig Tracey MP, Chairman, APPG for Golf
Jeremy Tomlinson CEO, England Golf
David Rickman, Executive Director, The R&A
Robert Maxfield, Chief Executive, The PGA
Doug Poole, CEO, UK Golf Federation
Tom Brooke, CEO, Golf Club Managers Association
John Clark, CEO, PING
Gary Favell, CEO, American Golf
Ross Hallett, Senior Vice President, IMG Golf
James Stewart, Resort Director, The Belfry
Martin Wild, Chairman, British Golf Industry Association
Jim Croxton, CEO, British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association