Who Can Play Golf in the UK And Where
Updated 5th Jan 2021: This article was written on the 27th November 2020.
For the latest information and updates visit: www.golfshake.com/news/view/15824/What_New_Lockdowns_Mean_For_Your_Golf.html
Golfers in England are set to return to their beloved golf courses from December 2, following a second national lockdown. It's a welcome move and the demand for tee times is already uniquely high for this time of year. However, there are some differences to note between regions under the new tier system, with golfers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also facing contrasting restrictions as we enter the height of winter.
Who can play golf and where? We take a closer look at how each of the nations stand.
The great news for golfers in England is that wherever they live, in whichever tiered restriction level, they can play in fourballs from December 2, but there are subtle differences between the tiers that will impact socialising beyond the activity of playing the game.
The rule of six applies in tier 1, which only covers the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, but in tier 2, indoor socialising is restricted to those within your household and any support bubble. Outdoor socialising again falls under the rule of six.
But in tier 2, pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals, which may impact what's available from clubhouses. Table service only will be available in these venues, which must close by 10pm.
However, with regards to travel, if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work.
For tier 2, the areas presently covered are; Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Warrington and Cheshire, York, North Yorkshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, Rutland, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough, Norfolk, Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, London, all 32 boroughs plus the City of London, East Sussex, West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Surrey, Reading, Wokingham,Bracknell Forest,Windsor and Maidenhead, West Berkshire,Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton,Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor, Bath and North East Somerset, Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swindon, Devon.
In tier 3, the strictest measures, playing golf continues, but hospitality settings are closed, and those within these areas should avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary.
Those considered in the "Very High Alert" levels are; Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland, Darlington, Sunderland, South Tyneside,Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, County Durham, Northumberland, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen, Yorkshire and The Humber, The Humber, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Birmingham and Black Country, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull, Derby and Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Slough, Kent and Medway, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset.
For updates from England Golf visit: www.englandgolf.org
For golfers in Scotland, courses have gratefully remained open since the initial return from the spring lockdown, with up to four players from four different households allowed to participate together, but there are key areas to follow.
Specifically, under the level system introduced by the Scottish Government, those who live in tier 4 and 3 regions should not travel beyond those borders to play golf, unless a course happens to straddle between two local authorities. Likewise, golfers from outwith a tier 4 or region should avoid travelling into the area.
Currently level 3 restrictions are in place within Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dundee City, Edinburgh City, Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire and Perth & Kinross.
Level 4 covers; East Ayrshire, East Dumbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dumbartonshire, West Lothian.
Access to toilet facilities, locker rooms and professional shops can continue when appropriate guidance is followed, but catering and bar service can only operate where applicable, something more likely in lower level areas.
For updates from Scottish Golf visit: scottishgolf.org
Following the "firebreak" lockdown in Wales, golf courses re-opened on Monday 9 November, a status that stands.
Golf can be played in fourballs, with courses, professional shops and driving ranges open. Group coaching is available. But the requirement to book before you play golf will continue.
There are no legal restrictions on travel within Wales for residents, but travel from those who reside outside Wales should be for essential reasons only.
For updates from Wales Golf visit: www.walesgolf.org
Under the new rules established by the NI Executive, which has introduced a two-week lockdown in Northern Ireland, golf courses will be among the venues to close during that period.
The Golfing Union of Ireland confirmed: "We regret to confirm that as per the NI Executive’s new COVID-19 restrictions which will take effect at 23.59 on Thursday 26 November, all sports facilities, including golf courses, must close at this time.
"While it is acknowledged that golf has demonstrated itself to be a safe sport during the pandemic, the wider public health guidance must be adhered to and we encourage all golf clubs and golfers to comply fully with the advice of the NI Public Health Agency.
"In the meantime, as is the case in the Republic of Ireland, we will continue to engage with the relevant authorities to ensure that golf courses can reopen as soon as possible."
For updates from the Golf Union of Ireland visit: www.golfnet.ie
Ultimately, wherever you live, we hope that you remain safe throughout these uncertain times, and that if you are lucky enough to find yourself on a golf course, that you thoroughly enjoy and make the most of the opportunity.
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