Golf shutdown: Baffling decision to close all courses

Much anger levied at GUI and ILGU

Thomas Callaghan

Reporter:

Thomas Callaghan

Email:

tommy.callaghan@leinsterleader.ie

Golf shutdown:  Baffling decision to close all courses

The news that all golf courses in the Republic of Ireland were to close from mid-night on Wednesday night, came as a major shock to the thousands of men and women, boys and girls who play the game throughout the length and breadth of the entire country.
The decision, in many respects, is absolutely baffling; and as Leo Varadkar might say, had not been thought through, and really needs to be looked at again.
All the while golfers in the North of Ireland can continue to play, albeit under strict criteria, but can play nevertheless, members, green fees and guests are all welcome.
From a safety perspective there are few safer sports around at the moment than golf and the restrictions that have been put in place over the last number of months have proven unquestionably to be safe and practical as is humanly possible under the circumstances.
Hardly need to point out that golf is played in the open air; no close contact with any individual; clubhouses have been out of bounds now for months; no socialising before or after a game.
Players arrive, individually by car, some 10 or 15 minutes prior to their pre-booked tee time; bunker rakes are no longer in use; even the lifting of the flag pole on greens is not allowed.
So absolutely no contact whatsoever.
One also has to question the role of the GUI and the ILGU in this regard.
Golf club members pay a levy to those organisations annually and to say members are angry and upset is putting it very mildly at this decision. A couple of paragraphs on their golf web sites late on Wednesday afternoon that all courses are closed is simply not good enough, no reasons, no explanations, nothing.
There is a feeling out there that the golfing bodies have really let their membership down and let them down big time.
In the circumstances we find ourselves in today, most people realise that restrictions on movement in all walks of life are both required and are necessary but there are areas that can operate, such as golf, that give thousands of people, young and not so young, an outlet, exercise and something that we hear more and more about these days, piece of mind.
However, for some reason or other, golf has been put into a category that suggests it is not safe to play during this pandemic; a decision that needs some explanation from both the State and golf authorities.

The thousands of golfers who pay an annual levy to the GUI deserve must more than a mere few sentences informing them golf course are to shut is simply not good enough.

Maybe if the GUI and ILGU got the GAA authorities to fight their corner, the outcome of negotiations would have been very different!