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Confusion as courses ignore Golf Australia advice and remain open

Confusion as courses ignore Golf Australia advice and remain open
April 3, 2020

After four days of confusion how the Coronavirus restrictions apply to the operation of golf courses, Golf Australia, has released a statement outlining its position, in which it acknowledges that “many golf clubs around Australia have either re-opened, or are considering doing so”.

Following Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement last Sunday evening on the latest Coronavirus restrictions and that outdoor gatherings should be limited to two people, Golf Australia issued advice on Monday that all golf clubs and facilities should close until further notice.

However, many golf courses have remained open for play while others, which closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, have now reopened.

In Canberra, four golf courses - Royal Canberra, Yowani, Gold Creek and Belconnen - remain open while among courses in Sydney, the Woollahra golf course closed, then reopened on Thursday.

Seeking for golf to be considered an ‘essential activity’, Golf Australia has contacted government representatives for clarification but, as of today (Friday 3rd April) its “formal recommendation” remains that “based on the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday evening, 29 March, that all golf clubs and facilities should close until further notice”.

In a statement released today “to provide further assistance and guidance to our clubs and facilities on this important topic”, it advises “Golf Australia acknowledges that some state/territory governments have since taken alternative positions. As promised, we will keep you up to date as and when additional state/territory announcements are made so you are clear on the legalities of golf courses and their operations moving forward.”

This follows a statement from yesterday that advised “Golf Australia, while not wishing to act in a manner contrary to those specific rulings or directives, remains of the view that golf is a non-essential activity, a view which sits comfortably with the current Federal Government directive and rules to ‘stay at home’ unless absolutely necessary.

“Of course, Golf Australia is merely recommending that position to all clubs around Australia and ultimately we respect the right of the clubs to act in the way they see fit while complying with all social distancing requirements.

“The recommendation we formulated around course closure was based on the position Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken and, at all times throughout this issue, Golf Australia has sought to provide the latest Federal and state advice for all golf clubs around the country.

“That has proved an extremely difficult task given that various state positions have been constantly changing, almost on a daily basis. We apologise for any confusion that has caused, but we are sure you can understand these are unprecedented times in our country and, indeed, for our great game.

“That so many people are passionate about the sport is a great sign of the game's significance in our community and we are truly sympathetic to those who are desperate to once again walk the fairways, but we as the national governing body feel that in this time of crisis for so many in our community, it is best to be safe.

“Furthermore, we strongly believe that unity, prudence and safety during this unprecedented crisis is the best way for us to assist with "flattening the curve" of Covid-19's surge through the community and we believe that golf and our industry has a role to play in doing this.

“Our recommendation to remain closed therefore remains the same - Australia and our community come first.”

Australasian Leisure Management understands that all courses are currently closed in the Northern Territory and Victoria, as mandated by their respesctive Governments.

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-owner / Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-owner and publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

As of 2020, he has launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

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