Open letter to the First Minister regarding the closure of golf courses in Wales
Wales Golf has today (21 December) sent an open letter to the First Minister regarding the closure of golf courses in Wales.
21st December 2020
Dear First Minister,
Open letter regarding the closure of golf courses in Wales
I recognise that at this incredibly difficult time you are faced with many challenging decisions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I write to request that you reconsider the closure of golf courses under the level 4 restrictions which came into force in Wales on 20 December.
Wales Golf worked extensively with the rest of the industry and the Welsh Government last summer to establish a set of protocols which would allow the safe resumption of the sport. We were delighted that as a result of this work golf was one of the first sports in Wales to resume once restrictions were relaxed. Golf clubs across Wales have fully lived up to the requirements placed upon them to enable players in Wales to play their sport in a safe environment.
The health benefits from playing golf have been well researched and are widely accepted by leaders in public health and public policy around the world. As an outdoor sport with detailed safety protocols in place it offers an ideal opportunity for participants to exercise safely. These benefits and the measures introduced by the industry in response to the pandemic are explored in more detail in the enclosed report produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf.
In light of the clear benefits that golf offers to approximately 100,000 players across Wales, and the damage to golf clubs across the country that will be caused by a further period of closure, it appears counter-productive to require that golf courses close under the recently introduced Welsh Government level 4 restrictions. It is notable that both the UK and Scottish governments, recognising the benefits described above, will allow golf courses to remain open under their own tier 4 restrictions.
We understand and fully support the decision to allow people to exercise in large outdoor spaces such as parks. It is difficult, though, to understand the rationale for preventing people from playing the sport of golf through which participants also gain the benefits of exercise in large outdoor areas, with risks further reduced through the detailed COVID protocols which are already in place.
In summary, golf is an outdoor sport and has established COVID secure practices in place. As such it is ideally placed to be played safely under lockdown restrictions to the benefit of thousands of people across the country. Wales Golf and the clubs that it represents are more than willing to continue to work with you to facilitate the re-opening of golf courses at the earliest possible opportunity. We hope that you will give this matter your urgent consideration.
cc Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism
Registered Office: Catsash, Newport, South Wales, NP18 1JQ