Restrictions Eased: Golf Back in England

After a long wait and a bleak winter, restrictions are finally starting to ease in England.

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and we can now take part in a limited selection of government sanctioned outdoor activities like tennis, grassroots football and golf.

In accordance with the government’s plan to gradually ease lockdown measures, golf courses across England have been given the green light to reopen from the March 29th.

England’s courses have been closed since January 5th in order to limit community spread of COVID-19.

The decision was confirmed by vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, in a series of televised press interviews on Monday 22nd February.

Golf came back in Wales on Saturday March 13th, while courses in Scotland remained open throughout the Winter, albeit with limited capacity.

Casual golfers or anyone looking to start a new hobby may not be setting up their first post-lockdown tee for a little while yet. A large number of clubs in England have reopened to members only as a way to keep numbers down as restrictions continue to be in place.

Players will still have to maintain social distancing and other measures to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19. (Image: Getty)

Club houses are set to open up to guests on April 12th, with hungry golfers only allowed to bring takeaway food and drink in the meantime.

Attempts to reopen courses earlier than March 29th were unsuccessful.

England Golf and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf published a report detailing how golf could be played safely in accordance with COVID-19 health guidelines, which led to strong public criticism of the government’s decision to close golf courses.

Criticism of the decision frequently centred on impacts on mental and physical health.

A petition to reopen golf courses immediately gained more than 130,000 signatures. It was debated in parliament one week ago on the 22nd of March, with no decision reached to open earlier than the planned date.

“Sport is crucial for our mental and physical health,” the government responded to the petition in a statement on the 18th of January.

Other outdoor activities like tennis and football are allowed from today. Prime minister Boris Johnson has described such activities as the “best way to restore freedom while minimising risk”.

March 29th is a big step forward in the government’s reopening programme which is currently still on track to be over by the 21st of June 2021.