The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf has appealed for the game to be exempt from any future lockdowns or periods of heightened restrictions.

The Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, North Warwickshire MP Craig Tracey, has presented government officials with a with a detailed paper making clear that golf can be played safely in line with COVID-19 restrictions.

"Why bother doing that now?" You might ask.

Well, even though golf has returned in Ireland, Wales, England many other areas, there is still the very real possibility that golf courses will have to close again in any future lockdowns or times of heightened restrictions.

Mr Tracey presented the findings to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP.

“I was very pleased to be able to present this to the Secretary of State," he said.

"I made the case that that with the well-documented health benefits of playing golf, not only should it be allowed to continue during any future restrictions, the UK and other governments should recognise its importance in supporting people’s physical and mental wellbeing and that ministers and officials should speak to industry bodies about how the sport can be made more accessible to people now, when they need it most.”

A Covid-secure game

The paper has also been sent direct to the Secretary of State for Health, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Sports Minister and the Chairman of the Digital, Media and Sport Select Committee.  Members of Parliament in the Group representing Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh constituencies will present the paper to ministers in national governments.

Compiled from the work of industry bodies involved in the All-Party Parliamentary Group, and building on the operational experience established by clubs and facilities throughout the UK, the paper demonstrates that golf has established COVID secure practice.

Speaking positively after the meeting, Mr Tracey said: “I am grateful to the Secretary of State for taking the time to meet with me today and hear the evidence that golf is a sport that can be played safely during Covid.  He recognises the incredibly hard work of golf bodies throughout the UK to ensure this is the case, as well as the outstanding conduct of staff and players involved in the sport in their compliance with government guidance.

“As the paper makes clear, an estimated 20 million full-length rounds of golf took place between June and September 2020 and academic opinion from advisors to the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) indicate that any level of community transmission attributed to playing golf is likely to be extremely low. 

"This is to be expected; not only does golf provide greater social distancing than the likes of walking, running, or cycling in urban settings, those who play do so with enhanced hygiene and social distancing measures implemented and monitored by golf clubs and facilities.

“Armed with the paper, I was able to make clear that in lockdown conditions and at lower COVID-19 alert levels, golf can be played safely within the Rule of Six and without restriction on number of households."

Fingers crossed the Secretary of State took note of what he had to say and that golf won't ever have to close if or when there is another national lockdown.

You can read the full paper that was presented HERE.