COVID-19: FAQ’s & Advice May 12

David Tease
May 13, 2020

Golf NSW has this afternoon received advice from the NSW Office of Sport that exemptions to the NSW Public Health Order that would allow golf to be played in groups of four have not yet been executed.

In saying that, Golf NSW’s notification on May 11 that clubs should anticipate for golf to be played in four’s from Friday, May 15th remains unchanged.

Golf NSW appreciates the frustration this situation is causing and will notify clubs as soon as formal approval from the NSW State Government is received.

As always, Golf NSW will provide updates as soon as the situation changes and when any changes to the restrictions occur.

Can way play in groups of four as long as we maintain the appropriate Social Distancing Rules?
No. Despite the recent relaxation of rules surrounding family visitations, outdoor gatherings are still restricted to a maximum of only two people.

Can we socialise in the carpark with our playing partner post-round?
We strongly discourage post-round socialisation in the carpark. Once you have finished your round you should not hang around the club house or carpark socialising. Remember you are allowed to golf purely as a means for essential exercise at this time.

Do we have to open our Golf course now that the Office of Sport – NSW Government has approved the playing of golf?
No. It is not compulsory for golf courses to open. The opening of your course/pro shop is your Club’s decision.
A club which feels they cannot provide a safe environment for members, staff, public, and/or cannot implement and enforce gathering and social distancing measures in line with regulations and the NSW Public Health Order should strongly consider not re-opening. 

Can we play competition golf?
Yes. Under the new advice from the Office of Sport – NSW Government, no condition prevents the play of competition golf if the Club can implement and enforce gathering and social distancing measures in line with regulations and the NSW Public Health Order.

Can I use the course driving range and putting green to practice?
Yes. Provided gathering and social distancing measures are in line with regulations, and the NSW Public Health Order is implemented and enforced.
A limit on the number of people allowed on the practice putting green, or in the hitting bays at any one time should be communicated via signage and enforced at each location.

Can Clubs hold an AGM under current COVID-19 restrictions?
Clubs can only hold and AGM under current Public Health Order restrictions in regard to public gatherings remotely/virtually ie via video conference or the like.
ASIC has provided a two month extension to the current five month time limit to stage an AGM from the end of the clubs reporting period. For example a club with a 31 December 2019 financial year end will have till 31 July 2020 to stage their AGM.

Can a club hold board meetings at the club during the COVID 19 Crisis?
If a club is in a position to hold their board meetings remotely/virtually by video and or phone conference, they should do so. Clubs which have to hold a ‘face to face’ board meeting should check with their local law enforcement agency if this is permissible.

Am I entitled to a membership fee discount at my Club?
Any matter pertaining to a membership discount fee is a matter between the member and their Club.

Will Golf NSW be discounting affiliation fees for clubs?
Golf NSW will make a decision regarding affiliation fees once:
– The exact financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Clubs can be ascertained.
– The extent and impact of Federal and State Government financial stimulus initiatives on Clubs has been determined.

Can two family members who live together both ride in the same golf cart?
Recent advice from the NSW Health Minister has determined that two family members living together can share a golf cart.

Golf NSW recommends that golf clubs should consider not allowing this practice as there are a number of potential issues that could arise. These include:

  • Increased difficulty for a club in policing their cart policy
  • Increase likelihood of community reports to law enforcement for social distancing breaches by the club
  • Creating confusion amongst the membership on the club’s cart policy
  • An increased chance of negative media reporting, including social media. 

Can a player using a cart carry more than one set of clubs?
Golf NSW recommends that only one set of clubs be carried on each cart to reduce the unnecessary risk of being no compliant with social distancing rules.

Can more than two family members living together play in the same group?
Yes, the social gathering laws allow for more than two family members living in the same household to exercise together.
This may however be problematic for clubs as they implement two ball time sheets. Each golfer should check with their own club if the timesheet allows this to occur.

Can I get a ‘One-on-One’ lesson from the Professional at the Club?
Yes. Under the new advice from the Office of Sport – NSW Government, there are no conditions that prevent a golfer having a lesson if the Club/Professional can implement and enforce gathering and social distancing measures in line with regulations and the NSW Public Health Order.

Are golfers over 70 allowed to play golf?
On Sunday March 29, Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia strongly recommended against any person over the age of 70 leaving their home, unless it was ‘absolutely necessary’, with the exception of recreation/exercise. 
The advice was provided due to the increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 for this age demographic.
The decision to allow golfers over 70 years of age to play is a club decision.  

Can Club volunteer working bees still go ahead?
Golf NSW recommends to Clubs that course works from volunteers/Dad’s Army style working bees cease temporarily under the current NSW Public Health Order and Government guidelines unless it is an emergency and absolutely essential.

The Questions and Answers above follow on from advice Golf NSW passed on to golfers late last week. These recommendations are:

  • No sharing of golf carts. *note exception for those living together above. Consider removing cart use all together and Disinfect carts before and after use
  • Increase intervals between tee times
  • Play in groups of 2 and we strongly advise clubs to use one starting tee only
  • Adhere to the 4 square metre distancing rules as a minimum
  • No presentations at the conclusion of competitions
  • Ensure contact with golf-related infrastructure is minimised
  • Leave the doors to Pro Shops open
  • Introduce the new modified Rules of Golf so that flag sticks and bunker rakes aren’t touched
  • Reduce hole depth
  • ensure personal hygiene standards are maintained at the highest level
  • Don’t attend the golf club if you feel ill, or have been in contact with someone who is
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands
  • Don’t shake hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth because your hands touch many different surfaces and can easily pick up viruses

Remember, let’s create a culture which ensures we can keep our golf courses open.

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