What Golfers Expect From Return of Golf
Golf was last officially played in the UK on March 23, the UK Government's lockdown restrictions seeing courses across the country shut on mass. However, there is now light at the end of the tunnel for those golfers desperate to play, with venues in England reopening on Wednesday May 13, and clubs in Wales free to open their doors from Monday May 18.
Before the governing bodies, headlined by The R&A and England Golf, announced that the game would resume this week, Golfshake surveyed 1,200 golfers on the potential return of the sport, specifically on what changes they expected to be implemented.
Ultimately, 97% of respondents either anticipated changes or were comfortable following them, guidelines that we saw unveiled by The R&A two weeks ago, recommendations that will now be administered at golf clubs across the country.
But what were the common themes identified from comments left by golfers? They expected to see:
- Social Distancing
- 2 Balls
- Bigger Gaps Between Tee Times
- No Bunker Rakes
- Flagstick In
- No Clubhouse Access
- Competitions Suspended
Those were the predictions, and they have matched the reality of what golfers are to follow.
However, in the medium to longer term, these guidelines are likely to remain in place for a considerable period, and golfers have commented on what they believe the game will look like throughout this summer.
"We will need to keep up social distance. And we will probably need to wear face masks in the clubhouse. And clubs will need to provide hand sanitiser everywhere."
"No gatherings before or after the round, no rakes in bunkers, flags remain in holes at all times. Exchanging of physical scorecards to be discouraged, a potential for electronic scoring if comps are allowed."
"Changing in the car park: not going into the clubhouse apart from the loos, sitting afterwards outdoors with remote drinks service, putting out with partners standing well back, no taking out of pin, raised holes."
"Handshake may stop but that will not stop the respect for playing partners and the game."
"Clubs will want to get medal and trophy competitions played and Championships completed. I would expect to revert to almost normal play in the Autumn."
"One good thing is that I won’t be stuck behind all those impossibly slow four balls!"
Due to the unprecedented demand on the limited tee times available, work commitments, and personal circumstances relating to the coronavirus pandemic, not everyone will be imminently heading back onto the golf course, but for those who are, they are now aware of what to anticipate, and considering the response to this recent survey, none of the restrictions will come as a shock, highlighting that common sense should prevail within the vast majority of players.
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