GolfRSA urges courses to be patient and adhere to lockdown regulations

GolfRSA, the body that oversees the amateur sport in South Africa, has urged clubs and courses to adhere to lockdown regulations.

At the end of May, government announced that professional sport could resume without spectators but some golfers feel the game is safe enough to play and already adheres to social distancing standards.

GolfRSA urges courses to be patient

Some clubs are desperate to reopen after a long stretch without income but GolfRSA have asked that they not go rogue and prematurely open courses up to the general public.

The response comes after Cotswold Downs golf estate in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal sent out an email on 31 May they will be open for golf from 1 June, for residents only, and with strict protocols in place.

According to news reports, the mail was sent out by the course's general manager Bryan Coleman after a meeting of the board of directors.

No golf in lockdown, yet – GolfRSA

Respect the rule of law

GolfRSA CEO Grant Hepburn urged courses and other stakeholders to be patient as discussions with the government on the reopening of the sport as a recreational activity for all continue.

"GolfRSA continued discussions today at the highest level of government regarding the reopening of golf at Alert level 3.
"We had a very positive meeting this morning (Sunday) with a key representative of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.
"Please rest assured that the overriding priority of all South African golf bodies right now is to guarantee the survival of golf clubs and facilities and to save jobs. We are firm in our belief that we are taking the most appropriate approach to ensure that golf can make its safe return in due course."

No golf in lockdown

Hepburn urged courses considering opening to take on board legal advice before doing so. GolfRSA also sought to distance itself from the actions of individual clubs and courses, making it clear they did not support a challenge against lockdown regulations at this time.

"GolfRSA and South African golf bodies distance themselves from individuals or clubs, or petitions, who regard the legal route as an option at this point in time and we strongly encourage any golf club or golfing facility entertaining thoughts of re-opening on Monday, June 1 to seek legal advice relating to the Alert Level 3 regulations.

"We ask that you trust us and that collectively we remain calm and level-headed to see this process through to its conclusion."

The relaxation of the ban on organised sport is only relevant to professional sport, though codes like golf and tennis have been lobbying for a return as they are able to safely social distance while playing.