Welsh golf courses will remain closed this week – although those in England are about to re-open.
The divergence in regulations is the first example of how the rules around sport are about to differ on either side of the border.
Following the announcement on Sunday by UK prime minister Boris Johnson that some sports are going to be available to participate in from Wednesday in England, Wales Golf – the governing body for the sport in Wales – have put their name to a joint statement by the UK golf bodies.
It states that while courses may be about to re-open with conditions in England, the sticking to existing rules by the Welsh government means there will be no-one teeing off on Welsh courses.
The statement says: “The UK Government has announced that golf will be able to resume in England on Wednesday, 13 May 2020.
“All outdoor sport must be done alone or within a household group and that includes golf.
“There is no change to the current position in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and so golf courses in these countries will remain closed for now.”
It goes on to add: “Golf clubs and golfers have observed the lockdown very well and must keep it up and act responsibly as play resumes.
Following recent Government announcements, please see the statement below issued jointly by UK golf bodies
— Wales Golf | Golff Cymru (@wales_golf) May 10, 2020
“The pandemic has already had a substantial impact on golf clubs and venues and the focus will soon turn to trying to recover from the crisis. As a group we will continue to do all we can to provide support and guidance in that effort.”
The R&A has confirmed that golf courses in England will be permitted to open from Wednesday.
Communal areas such as clubhouses and locker rooms will remain closed at courses, while visitors will be needed to pre-book tee-times before showing up.
Golf courses, tennis and basketball courts and bowling greens can reopen, the government has announced. But strict social distancing conditions will apply.
The announcements were revealed as the government published its Covid-19 recovery strategy.
People wanting to use the sporting venues ‘should only use these alone, with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while keeping two metres apart at all times’, the document said.
Only those sports were mentioned in the document, but the government said the announcement would apply to ‘outdoor sports facilities’.
Fishing was the only other pastime referenced.
A busy morning preparing things for the return of golf from Wednesday….⛳️ pic.twitter.com/huIbzO8WUy
— Hartford Golf Club ⛳️ (@HartfordGolfC) May 11, 2020
Team sports should not be played, except with members of your household.
The document said: “These measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date.
“The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.
“People may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish. For example, this would include angling and tennis. You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.
“You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household – this means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household.
“People may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there, because this does not involve contact with people outside your household.
“When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration. ”