ALL THE LATEST NEWS ON AMATEUR GOLF IN AYRSHIRE

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

GOLF SOUTH AYRSHIRE - membership arrangements and guidelines for play announced in readiness for golf restart

Golf South Ayrshire have announced details of the arrangements for commencing play on the 8 local authority courses in the area from Friday 29th May, pending  Scottish Government approval, including on course arrangements and the introduction of a flexi-membership arrangement in place of the traditional season ticket process at this stage, to allow golfers to commence playing on the courses as soon as permissible.

A series of questions and answers regarding the new flexi membership arrangements have been published by Golf South Ayrshire:-

REOPENING & FLEXI MEMBERSHIP - FAQ

You will have a number of questions relating to the reopening of the courses.

We have tried to answer as many questions below, however if there is anything we haven’t covered, please email info@golfsouthayrshire.com and we will endeavour to get back to you within 2 working days.

Why are you not selling the Traditional Season Ticket?

Our Season Ticket offers unlimited access to 8 courses throughout South Ayrshire. Due to the gradual relaxation of restrictions, with access to tee times also restricted, it may be several months before we are able to offer the Season Ticket in its traditional form.

Initially tee time intervals will be increased, and the size of groups restricted. This means the availability of tee times and group size will be around 25% of our usual capacity.

This may restrict your ability to be able to book the course and time that you want.

Is there a limit to the number of golfers per tee time?

Play will initially be limited to 2 per tee time at 15 minute intervals. Tee times will be available from 7am to 7pm daily.

All tee times will be available to FLEXI-Members, there will be no Visitor times available initially.

Is there a limit to the number of times I can book in a week?

To meet the anticipated demand for tee times, we may have to restrict the maximum number of bookings per golfer to 2 per week. This will be under constant review and will be immediately relaxed if we are sure there is enough capacity for everyone wishing to play.

When will we get back to normal play?

We simply do not know how things will progress. We may have to enter another period of lockdown and close the courses. The administrative resources required to start, stop and restart memberships, direct debits and issue refunds to all members would be an impossible task.

The FLEXI-Membership, allows you to join as a member and to play golf immediately, however you will only pay for what you use with no long term commitment.

What is the FLEXI-Membership?

The FLEXI-Membership, is a points based membership which allows you to join online as a member and make payment online to top up your membership account. This removes the requirement to sign up and pay within the clubhouse, reducing the risk to our customers and staff. It also removes the requirement to check-in with the starter, however it is essential that you pre-book before arriving onsite.

How much does it cost?

To become a FLEXI-Member and play on the courses will cost as little as £50 and can be purchased in multiples of 50.

All member rounds will cost 5 points, and guest rates will vary by course. Junior Golfers will only be charged 2 points per round (proof of age may be requested by a member of staff)

MEMBER GUEST RATES
Belleisle, Darley and Lochgreen 18 points
Fullarton and Seafield 12 points
Dalmilling and Girvan 10 points
Maybole 7 points

How do I sign up?

The Golf Booking Line, 01292 616255, will be open from Tuesday 26 May and daily thereafter between 9am and 5pm.

You will then receive a confirmation email within 48hrs with instructions on how to register your online account. As soon as you have added points to your account, you will be ready to book your first round of golf.

To enable as many people to sign up as possible ahead of the reopening date, tee time bookings will not go live until Thursday 28 May*.

From the 5 June, the booking line will only be available Monday – Friday between 9am and 12noon.

*Dependent on the First Minister confirming the easing of lockdown restrictions on Thursday 28 May.

Can I come to the clubhouse to pay?

Initially no, the clubhouses will be closed, our staff on the course will also not be accepting any cash payments. All transactions must be completed online or on the telephone by Debit or Credit Card.

How does the points system work?

When you book your next round of golf points will then be automatically deducted from your account.

If you cancel your tee time with greater than 24hrs notice, they will immediately be refunded.
You may also use your points to pay for a guest (Member’s guest rates apply).

If you are booking another FLEXI-Member into your tee time, their account will be deducted the required number of points.

*Telephone bookings will be available Monday – Friday 9am to 12noon only.

Why can I not use my points on any golf course?

Initially, due to travel restrictions, you will only be able to redeem points at a single location. These are; Troon Links, Belleisle Park, Dalmilling, Girvan or Maybole. We therefore encourage you to play at your nearest course.

As restrictions are lifted, we plan to be able to make points redeemable at any of the courses.
What if I still have points remaining when the traditional season ticket becomes available?

You can use them towards the cost of converting your FLEXI-Membership to one of our traditional Season Ticket types.

All points purchased will be valid until 31st March 2021.

Will I still be able to play if I don’t want a FLEXI-Membership?

Initially no. Priority will be given to members only. Once travel, group size restrictions are relaxed and tee time availability increases, you will be able to pay to play as a visitor by booking online.

Is the FLEXI-Membership available for Juniors?

Not yet. The guidelines recommend that all juniors should play with an adult from their own household for now, a Junior Guest rate is available when booking online.

Golf South Ayrshire have also issued guidance on procedures on and off the courses once golf restarts:-

Scottish Golf, sportScotland and the Scottish Government have agreed a set of guidelines on how golf can be played when restrictions are eased on 28th May. We anticipate that golf will be able to resume on 29th May at the earliest.

The following information covers all key areas: booking your round, arrival at the facility, on the course and after the round.

Our number one priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our community of golfers, clubs and staff. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the details in this document.

Also be aware that Golf will be in the spotlight at this time and it is essential that we all follow the guidance and physically distance at all times.

We will not hesitate to close the courses if we cannot be certain that the risk to Public Health is minimised.

As guidance changes it may be necessary to update this document.

BOOKING YOUR ROUND
Travel to the golf course must be in line with Scottish Government guidelines – in Phase 1 local travel is noted as broadly 5 miles from home.

If you are in the highest risk (shielding) group outlined by the Government, then you should stay at home.

If you are displaying any symptoms of a cold or COVID-19, you are not permitted to access the facility, or course for a period of 14 days.

Only FLEXI-Members and their guests are permitted to play.

All rounds of golf must be pre-booked, you must not turn up to the facility without a booking. A limited telephone booking service will be available Monday to Friday 9am – 12noon and will be for members only.

You can also download the mobile app by visiting the App Store or Google Play Store and by searching ‘BRS GOLF’

All players must be entered at the time of booking. If you intend to play on your own, you must select RESERVED in the Player 2 slot. Another player will be also able to book into this tee time if you leave it blank.

Times will become available at 5am and be bookable up to 7 days in advance.

First tee time will be 7am and last will be 7pm, daily.

Times may be cancelled up to 24hrs in advance a full and immediate refund will be made.

Times not cancelled will be charged in full.

If the course is closed for COVID-19 restrictions or inclement weather, a full and immediate refund will be given.

Tee Time intervals will be 15 minutes – this MUST be strictly observed.

There will be a maximum of 2 players per tee time.

Anyone found not to be observing tee time intervals or are playing in groups of greater than 2 players, will be asked to leave the course. No refunds will be offered. No exceptions.

ARRIVAL AND WAITING TO PLAY
The clubhouse and locker room facilities will remain closed. There will be no access to the toilets or changing facilities, please arrive ready to play.

If you require your equipment from a locker, then call 01292 616255, to make an appointment to collect your equipment. A member of staff will remove the items for you.

The Pro Shop will be open, 1 customer will be permitted in at any one time. Please observe social distancing at all times. There will be markings on the ground to advise customers where to stand when queuing. Please do not linger.

There is no requirement to check in for play, there will be a member of staff on course who will confirm your arrival. If you are not booked in to play, you will be asked to leave.

Arrival at the facility; Please arrive ready to play no earlier than 15 minutes prior to your tee time. Please remain in your car until 10 minutes prior to your tee time and please do not go to the tee until 5 minutes prior to your tee time.

Please do not congregate in the carpark with your peers.

You MUST maintain 2m Social Distancing at all times.

No trolleys, buggies or clubs will be available for hire.

There will be no scorecards available.

Please bring your own hand sanitiser with you, and use this at regular intervals throughout your round.

ON THE COURSE
During the course of the lockdown, we have been following an essential maintenance programme only. Some areas of the course have not been maintained as normal. It may take a little time for some areas of the course to return to normal. Please respect this and our staff.

On-Course Items
All rakes will be removed – Bunkers will remain GUR until further notice, as such relief from a bunker will be possible without penalty.

Ball washers will be covered up.

All Benches and bins will be removed, covered or sign-posted in such a way that players don’t touch them – please be responsible and take your rubbish home with you.

All other removable items will be removed, except that stakes defining areas of the course can be treated as immovable obstructions.

Hole and Flagstick
Flagsticks will be used, please note that flagsticks are not to be touched or removed. Please do not use your putter to retrieve your ball as this will damage the hole.

The hole cup will be inverted making the ball easier to retrieve by hand, please do not use your putter to retrieve your ball.

Practice Areas
All Practice Ranges and Practice Nets will remain closed until further notice. Please respect this and respect the courses by not practicing on them.

The Practice Putting Green will be open and may be used, the flagpoles will be removed and the cups inverted. Please do not use your putter to retrieve your ball.

DURING YOUR ROUND
Social Distancing reminders will be placed throughout the golf course.

Teeing Areas
You must maintain social distancing at all times, and remember to keep 2 metres apart at teeing areas due the normal close proximity of golfers to one another when tee shots are being played.

Only 1 player is permitted on a tee box at any one time.

General
You must stay more than 2 metres apart when walking to the ball, searching for a ball and playing shots.

Do not touch any golf ball other than your own.

Bunkers
As there are no rakes on the course, bunkers will remain GUR until further notice.

Putting Greens
You must keep 2 metres apart from your playing partner on the putting greens and not to touch the flagstick. When retrieving the ball please do not use your putter as this may damage the hole.

AFTER YOUR ROUND
Social distancing is as important after a round as it is during the round, so when the round is over you must leave the course and the facility immediately so that there are no gatherings around the clubhouse area.

FAILURE TO FOLLOW THIS GUIDANCE
Please do not be offended if a member of staff reminds you of any of these measures.

Repeated failure to follow these measures, may result in you being asked to leave the course, a serious breach of these measures may result in the forfeiture of your membership.

The Council reserves the right to temporarily close any course or facility to ensure the safety of its staff and customer at any point.

UPDATES
This document will be reviewed and updated when new guidance or measures are announced by Scottish Golf, or Scottish Government in relation to tackling the COVID-19 virus.

Further information and updated guidance is available via the Golf South Ayrshire website at www.golfsouthayrshire.com

Thursday, May 21, 2020

POTENTIAL RETURN FOR GOLF IN SCOTLAND ON 29th MAY - Scottish Golf identify return date, subject to final approval

Scottish Golf issued an update on Thursday 21st May, identifying Friday 29th May as the potential return day for golf in Scotland, subject to Scottish Government approval on Thursday 28th May.

The statement issued by Scottish Golf reads:-

Following the First Ministers update today, I am writing to provide detail to support you with the opening of golf courses from 29 May 2020 at the earliest, subject to final confirmation by the First Minister by way of an update currently planned for 28 May. 

As previously stated, we have been working with Sportscotland and the government to ensure that golf aligns with the guidelines laid out for Phase 1 easing of the current lockdown restrictions. Whilst I know that in many people’s eyes this should have been a straightforward process, it certainly has not been the case, but I am delighted that we now have the opportunity to share with you the guidelines for the safe return of golf across Scotland.

There are aspects of the document that refer to direct government advice e.g Travel restrictions, Physical Distancing, Risk Groups and any changes to those policies will be for clubs and individual golfers to ensure they are adhering to. I must stress that these guidelines are shared with the assumption that there is no change made in the government’s stated position on easing of restrictions.

It should be noted that a final decision will be made by the First Minister on 28 May and if any changes to the current procedures are required to align with updates provided by Scottish Government then these will be shared with you as soon as they are known to ensure re-opening plans can be updated or adjusted accordingly.

Based on the above, if they choose to do so, clubs may now prepare their course and their membership for play to commence on 29 May. I hope that in giving a week’s notice, this will give clubs time to finalise any local rules and activate their tee sheets. I have looked to give direction but not prescription, as I know that all clubs will want to do what is best for their members within the framework of the facilities or operational capacity that each club will have. The Scottish Golf guidance has been prepared through our collaboration with the wider golf industry but has been reviewed by appropriate Scottish Government channels to give you a flexible but consistent framework with which to prepare your own club protocols.

The full document provides you with all the detail and links to get ready for a safe return to golf but some of the key aspects are:

Two Balls – may be from two households whilst maintaining physical distancing

Groups up to 4 four players permitted at the discretion of the golf club 
(ensuring that only two households are represented in the group)

Tee Time intervals will be at the discretion of the club

Travel to course within local vicinity, noted as broadly around 5 miles in roadmap

Casual play only is recommended in the first instance to allow all membership categories the opportunity for play

Clubhouse facilities must remain closed at this time


We have heard very encouraging stories from south of the border where some clubs have seen an immediate uplift in membership, as many courses have not been open to visitors given ongoing travel restrictions applying to exercise. Clubs have a great opportunity to show value in being a member of a club, and all the preferential benefits this can bring. I am sure that the demand for tee-times will be high and I look forward to seeing and hearing of golf courses all over Scotland full of people enjoying the sport once again.

Finally, I would like to thank all golfers who have shown great restrain over the last 8 or 9 weeks in conforming with the requests of the Scottish Government. The team here at Scottish Golf are firm in our belief that golf is a healthy sport that can be played giving due consideration to social distancing, whilst contributing to the improved health and mental wellbeing of many people across the country and we will continue to prioritise supporting clubs and the development of the game in Scotland.

I wish you well in planning for the return of your membership to your fairways and should you require any clarification on any aspect of the guidance framework then please do get in touch.

Karin Sharp
Chief Operating Officer

Copies of Scottish Golf's Guidance for Golf Clubs and Golfers on returning to golf in Scotland, and for Scottish Golf's latest updates on COVID-19  can be accessed via the Scottish Golf website at www.scottishgolf.org





LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS - Scottish Golf issue statement following First Minister's statement on route map to easing restrictions

Scottish Golf have issued the following statement following the statement made by the Forst Minister on Thursday 21st may on the route map to ease COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in Scotland.

Following positive discussions with the Scottish Government, sportscotland and the governing bodies for tennis and bowls, Scottish Golf welcomes today’s news that our golfing community will benefit from the Scottish Government’s revised guidance for exercise. 

Guidance documents containing detail on preparing facilities for the return of golf will be issued to all affiliated clubs as soon as practically possible. This will take into account details from the road map published by the Scottish Government today.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

COVID 19 - Scottish Golf issue statement following First Minister's daily briefing

Scottish Golf have issued the following statement, in response to the First Minister's daily briefing on Monday 198th May 2020.

Following the First Minister’s daily briefing on Monday 18 May, Scottish Golf welcomes the announcement that more detail will be shared later this week on Scotland’s road map out of the current lockdown restrictions in Scotland.

Scottish Golf are working through final details with the Scottish Government and Sportscotland to ensure that when the time is right, golf can be included in any extension to exercise guidelines and we look forward to sharing more detail of the Scottish Government’s publication on Thursday.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

BELLEISLE OPEN - 2020 competition cancelled

The 2020 Belleisle Open, due to take place at Ayr Belleisle on Sunday 26th July, has been cancelled.

Organisers Ayr Belleisle GC have decided that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, there were presently too many uncertainties involved to give the club any confidence that the competition could be completed successfully this year.


Friday, May 15, 2020

GOLF SOUTH AYRSHIRE - Local Authority release statement regarding municipal courses

Golf South Ayrshire have published a statement regarding the current position on the eight municipal courses in South Ayrshire.

GOLF SOUTH AYRSHIRE
COVID-19 UPDATE...7 weeks in

Courses remain closed

It has now been a little over 7 weeks since we closed the courses as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the lockdown instructions were issued by the UK and Scottish Government.

You will be aware that England has begun to relax some of its lockdown restrictions, with Golf being able to recommence on Wednesday and in Wales on 18 May.

The lockdown still remains in place in Scotland, with no date or indication as yet as to when Golf may be able to recommence.

Please be assured that we are working to enable us to reopen safely to minimise any risk to our staff and customers when the time comes. There will be a number of measures that will have to be implemented to achieve this, which we will communicate to you in due course.

We would like to thank the vast majority of you for respecting lockdown and course closures by not playing golf at this time. To those who still insist on trying to nip out for a practice or a few holes, be assured that our staff will ask you to leave.

Over the past 7 weeks the courses have been busy with people and families accessing them for their daily exercise and on the whole they have done so responsibly and respected the golf course.

Our hardworking Starters and Marshalls have been out patrolling the courses to ensure that the courses remain in good condition throughout and have been on hand to ask those who are there to stay off the greens and to take their litter home with them.

They’ve also been undertaking some divot repair work and litter picking whilst on patrol.

Our Greenkeeping Team have also been working hard to ensure the courses remain well maintained so that they can reopen as soon as lockdown restrictions are eased and golf is given the green light to recommence.

Until then, please Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

WEST OF SCOTLAND GOLF - Current fixture position for 2020 season

The six West of Scotland Area Associations have agreed the following position regarding the remaining West of Scotland fixtures in 2020, which will be subject to a further review around the end of July.

The WEST OF SCOTLAND MENS STROKEPLAY which was originally due to be played at Gleddoch in may and was later rescheduled to September has now been cancelled for 2020. Renfrewshire will host the competition in 2021.

the WEST OF SCOTLAND BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP which was scheduled to be played in June at Rowallan Castle GC has been cancelled for this year. Ayrshire will host the event in 2021.

Fixtures in the WEST OF SCOTLAND INTER COUNTY A LEAGUE, in September and October 2020,  remain in place at present.

Fixtures in the WEST OF SCOTLAND INTER COUNTY YOUTHS LEAGUE, in September and October 2020, remain in place at present.

All fixtures in the WEST OF SCOTLAND INTER COUNTY BOYS LEAGUE, scheduled to be played from May through to September have been cancelled. The six Area Associations will review the position in July, with some format of event, either match fixtures or a one day event, to be considered later in the year if possible.


Monday, May 11, 2020

SCOTTISH GOLF - Statement released following UK government's relaxation of lockdown rules

Scottish Golf have released a statement regarding participation in Scotland, following the relaxation of lockdown rules, effective in England, announced by the government on Sunday 10th May.

"Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, we are writing to confirm that the position outlined by Scottish Golf on Friday, 8 May for Golf in Scotland remains unchanged. The message is still clear – Stay at home and save lives.

We remain in daily dialogue with the Scottish Government and other golfing bodies throughout the UK, to ensure that when it is deemed safe to do so in Scotland, that we are ready to support our golf clubs with a concise protocol for reopening. 

We will update our membership as soon as the Scottish Government agrees a plan on a safe return to golf. Scottish Golf would like to thank all of our members for their continued support in following the guidelines in such difficult times".

Friday, May 08, 2020

SCOTTISH GOLF - Statement released on course opening speculation


Scottish Golf have today released a statement regarding the ongoing speculation over when golf courses are likely to reopen.

In response to increased speculation and rumour around timing of the re-introduction of golf, Scottish Golf can confirm that nothing has been finalised regarding a date, or any details of potential phasing with Government. Scottish Golf has been, and will remain in regular dialogue with Scottish Government, with regards to the planned procedures for the safe return of our sport when the time is right. We also continue to collaborate with our partners in golf throughout the UK and act as a collective at every opportunity. The recent update provided by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed that lockdown restrictions remain in place and the clear public health message is to stay home and save lives. This responsibility sits with each of us and golf is no exception.

Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing “I recognise the importance of golf to many across the country, and the eagerness to return to the course as soon as possible. However, that can only happen once it is safe to do so – and the focus at present must be the continuation of measures to slow the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. The Scottish Government and sportscotland are working closely with Scottish Golf to ensure the right preparation and risk assessment is undertaken to allow golf to return at the appropriate time.”

Karin Sharp, Scottish Golf, “It has been disappointing to hear that some golf clubs in Scotland have communicated to members their intent to re-open their golf course ahead of restrictions being lifted. We urge all member clubs to continue to follow the Scottish Government advice, that continues to have the best interest of the public at heart. Golf is a sport where integrity and rules sit at the very heart of the game and we ask all golfers to respect the position of Scottish Government and show patience at a time when the virus continues to have a devastating impact on society. I appreciate the frustrations and desire to play golf as soon as possible, but I urge you to continue following Government guidelines and save lives."






Tuesday, April 28, 2020

SCOTTISH GOLF - Subscription refund announcement not so positive after details are released

The announcement at the weekend from Scottish Golf that clubs would be refunded 2019 - 2020 subscriptions has proved less attractive with the release of the details of the decision this week.

Unlike most of the Area Association in Scotland, who have already made the decision to refund between 50% and 100% of subscriptions to member clubs this year, the national body are proposing a return to clubs of just 25% of monies paid, and only if clubs apply on an individual basis for the refund.

With around 40% of Scottish Golf affiliation fees, which should have been paid by the end of March,  still outstanding from member clubs this year, Scottish Golf are still looking for the remaining clubs to pay 75% of the full affiliation fees due this year. Though there has been an indication of flexible finaince options being available, it is not clear how Scottish Golf will proceed with clubs who do not, or are not able, to pay the fees due to the current COVID-19 crisis.

The full statement sent to member clubs this week is reproduced below:-


Dear Member Clubs,

In my first newsletter since taking the lead at Scottish Golf, I wanted to offer a more detailed outline to our membership on decisions that have been made recently, and the strategy and rationale behind them. Making key decisions in such uncertain times is a challenge all businesses are facing and at Scottish Golf we have a responsibility to protect the organisation and all the clubs we represent. In such difficult circumstances, it was important that action was taken to deliver tangible offerings to all golf clubs. If ever the “one size fits all” theory is not ideal, it is now, but to act swiftly this is the model that has to be used. From a financial planning perspective, there were many uncertainties where robust information was required to ensure that responsible business decisions were made.

Decisions recently made:

Events – Cancel all events for 2020

Rationale - The decision to cancel all events was not made lightly, or purely on the basis of when it would be possible to play a round of golf, or even run an event in the future. We had to take into consideration the full requirements to run a National Championship and the impact it would have, like:
When would courses be open for Championship play?
Would it be fair to close a member’s course for up to a week and deny that membership their facility when they have been starved of golf for many weeks/months at a key time of the year?
Would it be safe for our staff and volunteers to run events?
Where would the participants stay (would hotels, guest houses be open)? Once at the event, would clubhouses and restaurants be open for them to eat at?
When will normal playing conditions be achieved? We could be playing with upturned cups, no rakes for bunkers etc for some time post restrictions being lifted and we question whether National Championships should be contested under potentially restricted playing conditions?
We have been in touch with all of the 2020 Host Venue Clubs and given them first refusal to host the same event in the 2021 season. We continue to work through the logistics of this with the current and subsequent year venues but with staff furloughed both in clubs and at Scottish Golf, this process is going to take some time and we will provide further updates on the 2021 calendar in the coming months.

Performance – Cancel the performance programme for the remainder of 2020 playing season

Rationale - Another decision not taken lightly, with many of the reasons for cancelling our own events also being relevant to performance activity, along with the additional key aspect of not knowing when international travel might be permitted. In taking an early decision in consultation with external funders to the performance programme and by making our position clear, it enabled us to redirect funds for golf club support.

Golf Club Financial Survey – To issue a short survey to all clubs

Rationale - This was the final key part in our planning to give us a clear picture on the facts behind the current landscape. Contrary to the thoughts of some, this was never intended as an intrusive survey, more to ensure we were basing decisions on facts as opposed to opinions. A personal thank you to all the clubs who completed this survey in such a timely manner.  Through recent work, and with sportscotland’s assistance, we are now also gaining a clearer understanding of the number of clubs impacted by possible grant restriction based on their rateable value. This will continue to be an ongoing discussion with Government for us.

What next?

Return to Golf – A topic that many have been asking about and one which we are actively engaging with many key partners to move forward. We have had positive discussion in the last few days with government (through key contacts in Active Scotland and sportscotland) and have their support in what is a planning phase. We are also collaborating with key industry partners to ensure that across GB&I we are developing a consistent approach that can be adopted when the time is right. It is highly likely that any return will be in phases, with single golfers or household groups in the first instance to ensure that the golf industry continues to adhere to government guidelines – within our clubs, we will have a mix of front line & key workers, along with vulnerable groups who have been shielding or self-isolating for lengthy periods and we must continue to ensure we can keep everyone safe. To be clear, we are very much in the planning phase to ensure that when the time is right, we are well placed and have the support of key partners to be able to move quickly to update clubs with detailed information as to what a phased return to golf will look like. In the meantime, whilst we remain in lockdown with the restrictions in place we must continue to stay home and save lives.

Affiliation Fees – As you know our financial year runs from 1st October to 30th September, so the Coronavirus Pandemic impact on Golf Course closure happened just a few days short of 6 months into the current year. The Regulations of Scottish Golf state that all affiliation fees are in fact due by the end of January, but in recent years Scottish Golf moved this to the end of March to try and assist clubs with cash flow based on when a large portion of club membership fees fall due. For various reason as of today almost 40% of affiliation fees due to Scottish Golf remain unpaid. The payment due by date was informally extended to allow time for further internal discussion and we have made no representation to clubs chasing the outstanding balances at this time. On a more positive note, as of last week our membership reported an average of 75% of 2020 membership has already been renewed, 64% of Clubs have already applied for/received their Government Support Fund, and 76% have made use of Government Furlough. For clarity this is based on 135 clubs that responded.

Scottish Golf Support - With all of the above taken into consideration, we are now in a position to announce our plans to assist golf clubs from a financial perspective over the remaining 6 months of this financial year, and into our 2020/21 financial year. We are making an immediate commitment to our clubs that offers in excess of £575,000 of support by way of refund or rebate on affiliation fees. This equates to 50% reduction of the remaining 6 months of the financial year. We are also committing to interest free payment plans for any club that needs it for the 2019/20 financial year and the 2020/21 financial year.

Summary of our commitment:
All clubs can apply for a 25% refund on their total 2019/20 affiliation fee invoice. Clubs that have already paid can apply for a refund or carry over a credit to the 2020/21 invoice year.
All clubs can apply for an interest free payment plan for both the 2019/20 period and the 2020/21 financial year.
Any club that elects not to take the 25% refund/discount, we will commit that value to a club support fund which will be used for clubs under considerable financial strain. The value of this fund will become clear once all refund applications have been processed and the outcome will be published.
Scottish Golf will communicate the application process to all clubs within the next 14 days (noting it will be different for clubs who have paid, those who are adhering to committed payment plans and those clubs who have not communicated their intent).

A final thought:

As a member organisation it is imperative that we all are considerate of each other and work as a collective. Here at Scottish Golf we have colleagues, with families, who work hard on behalf of the game in Scotland and whom we have looked to treat with fairness and respect. Some of those colleagues we have had to furlough - others continue to work supporting the membership through these challenging times. Like our member clubs, we have other fixed business expenses that we must pay, however we are in a fortunate position where the combination of reserves and reallocation of budget from events and performance activity have allowed us to take the financial decision to refund part of the affiliation fee. We recognise that some clubs will be struggling more than others in these challenging times, particularly those who don’t have reserves on which they can rely.

If we commit to working together and supporting each other, golf can come out of this crisis in a stronger more unified way. I will do all that I can to support every club with the resources I have, but I also ask that clubs recognise that my limited team (13 since furlough) are working flat out to adapt to an ever-changing world. Following on from today, I will be in dialogue with the Areas and Counties to gain a clearer understanding of the challenges they are hearing of at a local level (many of these calls were scheduled at the end of last week), and I will also make myself available to assist our wider membership in any way that I can.

Thank you and stay safe.

Karin Sharp
Chief Operating Officer

Saturday, April 25, 2020

AYRSHIRE GOLF ASSOCIATION - Subscription and entry fee refunds sent to clubs

Following the recent decision to support member clubs through the present COVID-19 crisis, refunds of the 2019-2020 Ayrshire Golf Association subscriptions and entry fees to the 2020 competitions have been sent to all member clubs.

The refunds, in the form of cheques, were posted to club secretaries on Friday 24th April.


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

SCOTTISH GOLF - Leadership changes announced following departure of Andrew McKinlay

Scottish Golf have today announced changes to their leadership arrangements following the departure of Andrew McKinlay from the organisation intimated yesterday.

The following statement was released today:-

Following the statement yesterday that Scottish Golf CEO Andrew McKinlay has decided to leave the organisation, today they are announcing a number of key steps to ensure a sustainable future for Scottish Golf, along with targeted initiatives to support their 575 affiliated clubs through these extremely challenging times.

This month the governing body significantly reduced staffing numbers through utilisation of the Government furlough scheme. In addition, and in response to the global health crisis, they felt it sensible to take early decisive action and cancel all events and performance programmes for the remainder of the 2020 season enabling available resources to be reprioritised towards golf club support.

Eleanor Cannon, Chair of Scottish Golf said: “The Board and Executive Team have had to make very tough decisions in order to focus on ensuring we are in a sustainable position going forward when courses reopen. With many clubs feeling the financial strain, which in turn has had a knock-on effect on our income, we have prioritised expenditure accordingly.

Now more than ever we need strong leadership backed up by robust actionable plans. I am very pleased to announce that The Board has invited Karin Sharp to lead the organisation with immediate effect, from her current role as Chief Operating Officer. Karin has outstanding operational pedigree gained through various leadership roles within RBS where her career spanned 23 years, predominately in their Corporate & Commercial Banking Division. She joined Scottish Ladies Golfing Association in November 2013 as Chief Operating Officer and, following the amalgamation in 2015, has ultimately continued in the same role for Scottish Golf.”

Karin said: “In response to these unprecedented circumstances we have issued a short financial health check survey to our member clubs which seeks to gather key information, specifically around the impact of COVID-19 to golf club operations. This detail will directly contribute to, and significantly inform, our ongoing dialogue with Scottish Government in relation to the struggles faced by golf in Scotland. This information is crucial. To enable us to represent the situation accurately and effectively, I urge all clubs to complete the survey at the earliest opportunity. In addition, this Thursday we will host the first of our weekly support webinars, open to all member golf clubs. We have brought together experts from golf club management, finance, marketing and commercial disciplines that are on hand to offer advice on the significant challenges our clubs are currently facing.” Karin will continue to be supported by Iain Forsyth the Scottish Golf Chief Commercial Officer. Iain has more than 30 years’ commercial leadership experience working in the golf industry. Both Karin and Iain have voluntarily decided to take a 20% pay cut for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

COVID-19 RESPONSE - Ayrshire Golf Association cancel county competitions for 2020 season and Member club subscriptions to be refunded in full

The Ayrshire Golf Association executive have taken the regrettable, but necessary decision to cancel all Ayrshire Golf Association competitions for the 2020 season, as a direct result of the present COVID-19 pandemic situation and associated restrictions in place at present, and projected going forward.

The decision has also been taken to support member clubs through these difficult times by refunding all per capita subscriptions paid for the 2019 - 2020 period, and utilise a proportion of reserve funds to cover outlay to date and future outlay until the AGM in October.

The Ayrshire Golf Association executive last met in February and was due to have their next meeting on 12th May.

At the last meeting, the decision was taken to suspend all AGA competitions until a review on 12th May. The present restrictions make it unlikely that any formal executive meetings will take place in the forseeable future.

The executive members have considered a number of matters relating to county golf as a rrsult of the present national and indeed international, situation and consensus has been reached on the following issues which will directly affect, or be of interested to members of Ayrshire Golf Association affiliated clubs.

COMPETITIONS - ONE DAY EVENTS

The Junior Team Championship, Strokeplay Championship and Matchplay Championship had already been postponed from the fixture list in April and May.

It has been agreed to postpone the remaining scheduled fixtures for 2020. These fixtures are

5th July – CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS (Loudoun)
14th July – AYRSHIRE SENIORS (Troon Fullarton)
6th August – AYRSHIRE BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP (Irvine)
10 - 13 August – AYRSHIRE BOYS MATCHPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP (Prestwick)

Although these events have been postponed, it has also been agreed that, should circumstances later in the year permit, that consideration will be given to reinstating one or more of the events at short notice if it proves practical to do so. This will be closely monitored and all clubs will be advised if the position changes in any way.

EXTENDED COMPETITIONS

The six extended competitions that the AGA run have already been suspended until at least 12th May, and with no likelyhood of an early return to 'normal' circumstances to allow these events to continue this year, it has been decided that the extended competitions will be cancelled for 2020.

The events concerned are:-

The Champion of Champions Trophy
The Ayrshire Fourball Championship
The Gary Bryden Memorial Salver
The President's Putter
The Ayrshire Scratch Leagues
The Ayrshire Handicap League Championship

This also means the Finals Day in September will be cancelled.

TEAM MATCHES - WEST OF SCOTLAND

Discussions are ongoing with the other five West of Scotland Area Associations regarding the position of the Mens, Youths and Boys League fixtures as well as the Mens and Boys West of Scotland Open events.

Any decision reached will be circulated in due course.

SUBSCRIPTIONS AND ENTRY FEES

The vast majority of The Association's 63 member clubs have paid their 2019-2020 subscriptions to date and The AGA Executive have decided that the most practical way in which The Association could support the member clubs at this time is to refund any subscription paid for the 2019 - 2020 period IN FULL.

It was also agreed to refund extended competition entry fees IN FULL for the cancelled events in 2020.

Any costs for the 2019 - 2020 period will be covered from existing funds held by The Association, including reserve funds set aside for just such unforseen or emergency situations as The Association and their member clubs find themselves in at the present time.

Secretaries of The Association's member clubs will be contacted over the next few weeks regarding refund payments.

The Association hope that that this information is helpful at present in relation to county golf matters, and hope that the early notification, albeit with the regrettable decision which had to be taken regarding event cancellation, will assist everyone involved in golf in Ayrshire, at a county or club level, in clarifying the position for the remainder of the year.

The decisions taken will hopefully allow The Association to give as much practical support as possible to our member clubs through these testing circumstances we all find ourselves in. 

SCOTTISH GOLF - Chief executive Officer Andrew McKinlay steps down.

Scottish Golf Chair Eleanor cannon today released a statement advising that the Scottish Golf Chief executive Officer Andrew McKinlay has stepped down from his post.

The surprise announcement was contained in the following statement:-

"We are living in unprecedented times and, as we are all very well aware, sport has no immunity to the impact of COVID-19. Scottish Golf, like all businesses and indeed golf clubs across the country, is having to assess its business model. The governing body has had to make some very difficult decisions regarding income and expenditure, to ensure sustainability in the current circumstances.

To this end, our Chief Executive, Andrew McKinlay, has decided that he should step aside in order to help the organisation come through this situation. He leaves having worked with the team on a revised structure that will be fit for purpose when we emerge from the national lockdown.

Eleanor Cannon, Scottish Golf Chair: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Andrew for his contribution to Scottish Golf over the past two years. He brought a wealth of experience to what can be a pressurised role.

“He has helped take the organisation forward and has now taken a very difficult decision at this challenging time. I thank him for doing so and wish him the very best for the future.”

Andrew McKinlay: “It has been a privilege to lead this fantastic organisation and, I am grateful to Eleanor and the board for the opportunity. Above all I am indebted to the team at Scottish Golf for their commitment in implementing the objectives to take the game forward towards a sustainable and, indeed, prosperous future.”

Eleanor Cannon, Chair, Scottish Golf

WEST OF SCOTLAND MENS OPEN - Renfrewshire Golf Union announce postponement

The Renfrewshire Golf Union have announced that The West of Scotland Mens Open, scheduled for the 10th May at Gleddoch GC, has been postponed.

The event has been rearranged for Saturday 26th September 2020. All entrants will be informed individually  by email.

Friday, April 17, 2020

BELLEISLE CUP - Ayr event is the latest cancellation due to COVID-19 crisis

The 2020 Belleisle Cup is the latest golf event in Ayrshire to be cancelled due to the uncertainties arising from the current COVID-19 crisis.

The event, one of the highlights in the Ayrshire county calendar,  was due to take place at Ayr Belleisle on Sunday 31st May 2020, but the organisers of the event, the Ayr Belleisle Golf Club, have decided it will not be feasible to run the competition this year.

As the club have have no control over when the course or clubhouse will re-open, or what social distancing rules may still be in place by the scheduled date of the event, cancellation was considered  the only practicable option open.

There are no plans to try to reschedule the event later in the season.

The club do hope they can still stage the Belleisle Open this year, planned for end of July, but this too will be under review depending on the prevailing conditions over the next few weeks.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

COVID-19 - Scottish Golf cancel full national programme of events for 2020

Scottish Golf have today intimated their decision to cancel all national events and performance programmes for 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The decision was outlined in a statement issued by the Chair of the national body, Elanor Cannon.


Statement from Scottish Golf

First and foremost, I want to send our best wishes to each and every one of you, our members, from the team here at Scottish Golf. This is the most difficult time we have all had to face in a generation, both personally and professionally. All of us have been affected by COVID-19 either directly or indirectly.

For now, it is a time to pull together. As a community we represent so much more than golf. Together, locally, we represent camaraderie, friendship, and support.  We are all pulling together in the golf clubs that we love, reaching out to each other, making sure that our golfing friends who are on their own and vulnerable are being looked after and feel supported by their club and their fellow members.

I recognise that, for each of our 575 affiliated clubs, our committees, employees and members, it is a time of uncertainty and stress. Tough decisions are being taken by your management teams so that your clubs can re-open their doors in as strong a position as is possible. Clubs need their members more than ever to support their them financially so that they can survive the lockdown in an already tough market, and so that we each have our club to come back to.

Scottish Golf, like its member clubs, is having to make some tough decisions in light of a significant delay in our member income, so that we can continue to support our clubs as we come through these difficult times. To this end we have furloughed the majority of our employees and made the necessary decisions as regards our season’s calendar of events.

We have taken the decision to cancel all our all our events and our performance programmes for the remainder of the 2020 season. 

There is important work that we will continue to deliver to ensure we are in a positive position when our clubs and their courses reopen. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you more about this work now.

Scottish Golf are continuing the development of our Hive eLearning platform. This will allow clubs to access self-learning tools to manage various aspects of the club, including assistance with educating members on WHS.

Secondly, the works continues on the development and testing of VMS. We know that many clubs are using the current down time to learn the new system and we have retained team members to support you in this.

We are also in the final stages of completing the build of our WHS system, which will allow golfers to see what their new WHS handicap index will become.

Scottish Golf want to support you and your clubs during these challenging times. As each of the skeletal team is working remotely, the very best way to seek support on specific issues is to email: info@scottishgolf.org

We continue to liaise with sportscotland and the Government and we will ensure that we communicate with you as and when decisions about the game are made.

In time we will all get back out there onto our courses. For now, we must look after each other and the communities that our clubs serve. Once we can start playing the game we love again, we will all work together to re-establish golf as the life blood of our communities. Thank you for the commitment you have shown us. We look forward to working with you all both now and in the future.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a peaceful Easter weekend. I urge you all to continue to follow the Government guidelines to stay at home.

With very best wishes,
Eleanor Cannon
Chair

Thursday, March 26, 2020

COURSE MAINTENANCE - Scottish Golf issue further industry guidelines

Scottish Golf have issued further industry guidelines regarding the level of maintenance considered appropriate during the present COVID-19 restrictions

The industry statement sets out a reduced, essential maintenance regime for greenkeeping that protects workers, jobs and secures golfing facilities.

The article includes advice on working practices as well as grass cutting schedules, irrigation and nutrition advice for courses and equipment maintenance.

The full article can be accessed via the following link

 👉bit.ly/EssentialMaintenanceSG


COVID-19 - Scottish Golf Club eligible for £25,000 Government grant

The Scotsman today reports that Scottish golf clubs forced into temporary closure by the coronavirus crisis are eligible for a one-off grant of £25,000 from the Scottish Government.

The report is based on the latest COVID-19 news release from Scottish Golf.

Scottish Golf continues to seek the latest Government advice to share with golf clubs on Coronavirus (COVID-19). We recognise that this is a time of great uncertainty for all affiliated golf clubs and wanted to provide all clubs with an update on some of the support measures that have been put in place by Government to support businesses.

The news bulleting contains a number of links to the latest updates issued by both the Scottish and UK Governments outlining financial support measures available to businesses in Scotland.

This information is being shared by Scottish Golf to sign-post golf clubs to the relevant Government information.

Scottish Government advice is available on


  • Help with non-domestic rates in Scotland during COVID-19
  • Information on Grants and types of retail, hospitality and leisure businesses who qualify for one-off £25,000
  • Scottish Government helpline to support Scottish businesses 

UK Government advice is available on


  • COVID-19 Support for Businesses
  • COVID-19 Guidance for Employees
  • Support for those affected by COVID-19

Ohter links include


  • Scottish Chamber of Commerce information on Business Support during COVID-19
  • Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations - Third Sector COVID-19 Hub
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development - Advice for Employers
  • COVID-19 Updates from Scottish Golf
  • Xact Business Assist Service
  • Golf Industry Guidelines – Financial Support Measures

Scottish Golf remains committed to working together with all affiliated clubs to provide up to date guidance and support. If you have any additional information that you believe could help another golf club, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Scottish Golf.

The link below gives access to the full article and the relevant information links

https://scottishgolf.org/covid-19-update-resources-for-golf-clubs/

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

PUT THE CLUBS AWAY - Latest info published by the PGA leaves nobody in any doubt.

The latest update published by the PGA Chief executive Robert Maxfield leaves everyone in no doubt as to what the position of golf's combined governing bodies is on continuing playing the game during the COVID-19 crisis.

Image may contain: possible text that says 'PGA ThePr Profesional Association The PGA is fully coordinated with golf's other governing bodies and is supportive that golf cannot continue to operate within these Government restrictions. Robert Maxfield Chief Executive of The PGA'

Following last night’s Government announcement (23.03.20), The PGA is fully coordinated with Golfs other governing bodies and is wholly supportive that golf cannot continue to operate within these government restrictions.

It is an unprecedented time for us all and the health and wellbeing of our members and their families comes first. Its on that basis, and following the Government guidelines that mean golf clubs, Proshops and courses must now be closed and courses maintained until further notice.

These measures are designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus and restrict the pressure on the National Health Service.

The full article can be read via the following link

https://buff.ly/3doTLkd

Time to put the clubs away for the time being and look after each other.

Stay safe folks.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 - Ayrshire courses take on Government advice to close

Following the advice issued last night and this morning by Scottish Golf in response to the Government announcements yesterday, most Ayrshire clubs are shutting their courses with immediate effect, to ensure the safety of their members and the wider community in general.

The Scottish Golf statement last night urged all golfers to stay at home and stop playing until further notice. The full text of the announcement is:-

In its latest measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the UK Government has announced that everyone must now stay at home except in exceptional circumstances. 

The new measures announced state that you may only leave home: 

to go to work (if you are a key worker)
to infrequently shop for groceries, medicine and other essentials
to exercise outside once a day 
to provide care or help a vulnerable person 
for any medical need
While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message to all of us is clear, we must stay home and play our part in containing the spread of COVID-19. 

With this in mind, Scottish Golf asks that all golfers in Scotland refrain from golfing until further notice. 

We understand that this advice will have a significant impact on golf clubs across the country and we will continue to consult with industry partners to provide clubs with all information and support possible during this time of deep uncertainty. 

We know that these decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the Government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we get the opportunity to play the game that we all love as soon as it is safe to do so.

Last week, North Ayrshire Council and East Ayrshire Council took the decision to close their municipal courses and since the announcement late last night a number of other clubs and courses have followed suit.

It has been confirmed that the courses administered by Golf South Ayrshire in Troon, Ayr, Maybole and Girvan will also be closed with immediate effect and an announcement to that effect is imminent.

Many private clubs around the county such as Kilmarnock Barassie, Prestwick St Cuthbert, Loudoun, Prestwick St Nicholas have also announced the closure of their courses until advice to reopen is forthcoming, and it is hoped that all courses in the county will take the same position going forward.

At the moment, advice from Scottish Golf published today indicates that essential maintenance of courses will be able to continue at present,

The full text of the advice is :-

COVID-19 Update – Advice for greens staff

Following last night’s announcement, Scottish Golf has been working with partners from across the golf industry to seek further information from the Government on guidance for greens staff.

Scottish Golf has today received the following advice from the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

For security and essential maintenance purposes, greenkeeping staff can still attend work.
All work must be carried out in strict accordance with government guidelines on social distancing.
We are aware that this is an uncertain time and would like thank you for your understanding during this ever-changing situation. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

COVID-19 - Time for clubs to close their courses ?

With the joint announcement from the UK and Scottish Governments tonight, restricting movement for essential purposes only, is it time for clubs throughout the country to close their courses for the meantime.

England Golf have tonight issues a statement to that effect, which can be read in full via the following link.

https://www.englandgolf.org/clubs-and-courses-must-close-covid-19-update/?fbclid=IwAR2IEcd_zo1zRAwKgv6xg8AyrQgaoNXU2mxDoCaKv71JO-ujfS-ET7WQpMs

It is fully expected that Scottish Golf will issue similar instructions in the very near future.

Hopefully, for the safety of all club and staff members, our clubs will not need to wait for further instructions, embrace the advice already issued at Government level and, whilst regretable, close the courses and facilities for the forseeable future to minimise the impact on the golfing and wider community and try to ensure that things return to normal as soon as possible.

Stay safe folks.

Friday, March 20, 2020

COVID-19 - Scottish Golf confirm adoption of R & A Guidance for counting competitions during current pandemic

After consulting with CONGU, Scottish Golf would like to inform its members that all recommendations listed by The R&A will be adopted and count for handicapping purposes in Scotland with immediate effect.



COVID-19 – Related guidance on the Rules of Golf

The R&A has received a number of enquiries from organisers of golf competitions seeking guidance on the Rules of Golf in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. The purpose of this communication is to provide some guidance on the Rules of Golf.

Further to guidance provided by The R&A and after consulting with CONGU, the official handicapping authority for all golf governing bodies in Great Britain and Ireland, Scottish Golf would like to inform its members that any of the options listed below can adopted and count for handicapping purposes in Scotland with immediate effect.

Scorecards 

In view of concerns around handling and exchanging scorecards (which may be in paper or electronic form as already provided in the Rules), on a temporary basis, Committees may choose to allow methods of scoring in stroke play that do not strictly comply with Rule 3.3b, or do not comply with the normal methods used under Rule 3.3b.

For example:

Players may enter their own hole scores on the scorecard (it is not necessary for a marker to do it).
It is not necessary to have a marker physically certify the player’s hole scores, but some form of verbal certification should take place.
It is not necessary to physically return a scorecard to the Committee provided the Committee can accept the scores in another way.

Flagsticks

Committees may choose to adopt the following policies on a temporary basis:

Requiring that players leave the flagstick in the hole at all times. It is a matter for the Committee to decide whether it establishes this policy by way of a Code of Conduct or Local Rule, and whether it provides a penalty under the Code of Conduct or for a breach of the Local Rule.
Not have flagsticks at all. 


Hole

No modifications to the Definition of Hole are offered, but if a Committee chooses not to follow the requirements in the Definition of Hole, which may also have an impact on the Definition of “Holed”, the Committee should consult its national association for guidance on whether scores submitted in such circumstances are acceptable for handicapping purposes.

The following will be deemed acceptable for use in qualifying competitions:

Clubs can invert the cup so that there is only a shallow cup allowing players to remove the ball without touching the flag please see photo below.



Bunkers

If rakes have been removed from the course, or if the Committee has requested that rakes not be used, it is recognised that bunkers may not be smoothed as well as when there are rakes on the course. But it is recommended that no modification is made to the Rules of Golf in such circumstances, and that players are requested to smooth bunkers using their feet or a club. 

If, as a result of there being no rakes, the Committee decides to introduce a Local Rule relating to bunkers, scores submitted under the following Local Rules acceptable for use in qualifying competitions:

Preferred lies in bunkers within 6 inches to allow players to get out of un-raked areas or bunkers marked as GUR.

If you have any further queries relating to Handicapping and qualifying competitions, please email handicapping@scottishgolf.org

Thursday, March 19, 2020

LATEST AYRSHIRE CORONOVIRUS UPDATE - Sad news from West Kilbride

From the Ayrshire Live Facebook page Sincere condolences from The Ayrshire Golf Association executive members is extended to the bereaved family and all the members and staff at West Kilbride Golf Club affected by this sad news. The first Ayrshire patient who tested positive for coronavirus has died. Members of West Kilbride Golf Club received notification that one of their members passed away on Tuesday morning. A message from the club to its members said: “We understand [he] had underlying health issues but the information we have suggests he had also contracted the COVID-19 virus. “We are deeply saddened by this news and are obviously concerned about the safety of our members.” The man had attended a quiz night held at the club on Friday, March 13. Following advice from NHS, the club has told members who have been in contact with the man in the last week and who are over 70 and/or have underlying health conditions to self-isolate immediately, for a minimum of 7 days if living on their own, or 14 days if living with their family. The club has also announced it had closed its lounge, dining room and toilets with immediate effect until a thorough deep clean can be carried out. It comes after Nicola Sturgeon announced schools will close will close on Friday. The First Minister announced the total number of COVID-19 cases is now 227 in Scotland, an increase of 32 since yesterday.

PLAYING AND ACCESS RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED ON LOCAL AUTHORITY COURSES - But the Ayrshire golfing community come together

The departments running municipal golf courses in the three local authority areas in Ayrshire announced restrictions on 18th March 2020, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation.

KA Leisure, who administer the courses at Irvine Ravenspark, Auchenharvie and Routenburn in Largs announced the closure of all their leisure facilities, including full closure of the three golf courses, for an indeterminate period.

Similarly east Ayrshire leisure have announced the closure of all their facilities, incuding the municipal course at Annanhill, until further notice.

Golf South Ayrshire, who look after the three municipal courses in Troon, three in Ayr as well as the courses in Maybole and Girvan have announced that, in the meantime, the courses remain open for play but clubhouse facilities will not be available at the course locations until further notice.

In a heartwarming show of togetherness and consideration for fellow golfers, an appeal from Irvine Ravenspark Club Captain Colin McKinnon on social media during the afternoon, asking other local clubs to consider allowing access to the Ravenspark members to other local courses at a reduced fee, to enable them to keep playing following the closure of their course, received quick positive responses from a number of clubs throughout the county. Great to see the Ayrshire golfing community coming together to help each other out during these testing times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

COVID-19 RESPONSE - All Ayrshire Golf Association events and competitions suspended until 12th May

The Ayrshire Golf Association Executive have decided, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and considering current government advice and information available at present, to cancel all scheduled Ayrshire Golf Association county competitions until 12th May 2020, and suspend all extended competitions until that date also.

The scheduled competitions to be postponed as a result of this decision are the Ayrshire Junior Team Championship, the Ayrshire Strokeplay Championship and the Ayrshire Matchplay Championship. It is hoped that circumstances will allow all three events to be rescheduled later in the year.

The two team matches due to take place by the end of march this year have also been postponed.

Entry forms for the Ayrshire Seniors Championship, The Ayrshire Boys Championship and the West of Scotland Boys Championship, due to be held later in the season, will not be made available until after the position is reevaluated on 12th May.

In addition there will be no play in the six extended competitions until at least 12th May, when the position will be reviewed and further information circulated.

The following information has been circulated to club secretaries by email


AYRSHIRE GOLF ASSOCIATION – COVID-19 RESPONSE

After considering the latest national guidelines and all current information available, the Ayrshire Golf Association Executive have decided to postpone all Ayrshire Golf Association competitions and suspend all Ayrshire Golf Association extended competitions until at least 12th May 2020, when the position will be re-assessed and further information distributed.
In summary, the effect of this decision as far as county events is concerned is: -

1.       The AYRSHIRE JUNIOR TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP due to take place on Sunday 19th April at Routenburn GC has been postponed. It is hoped to reschedule this event later in the year if circumstances allow.

2.       The AYRSHIRE STROKEPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP due to take place at Prestwick St Cuthbert GC on Sunday 26th April 2020 has been postponed. It is hoped to reschedule this event later in the year if possible.

3.       The AYRSHIRE MATCHPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP due to take place at Dundonald Links from 4th to 7th May 2020 has been postponed. It is hoped to reschedule this event later in the year to suitable dates, as and when the Strokeplay Championship is rescheduled.

4.       The annual fixture against the South of Scotland, due to take place on 29th March 2020 has been postponed and it is hoped to reschedule the fixture later in the season if circumstances allow.

5.       The annual fixture against the Scratch league Division 1 winners, due to take place on 22nd March 2020 has been postponed and it is hoped to reschedule the fixture later in the season if circumstances allow.

6.       Entry forms for the AYRSHIRE SENIORS CHAMPIONSHIP, due to take place in mid-July will not be made available until after the position is reviewed on 12th May at the earliest.

7.       Entry forms for the AYRSHIRE BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP, due to take place in early August will not be made available until after the position is reviewed on 12th May at the earliest.

8.       Entry forms for the WEST OF SCOTLAND BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP, due to take place in late June at Rowallan Castle GC will not be made available until after the position is reviewed on 12th May at the earliest.

9.       The Association will be liaising with the other five West of Scotland Area Associations in due course regarding the scheduled West of Scotland Under 18 inter county matches due to commence in May and the Youth/A team matches due to take place in September.

All ties and matches in the following Ayrshire Golf Association extended competitions are suspended pending further consideration of the position on May 12th, after which further advice will be circulated regarding dates for ties to be played and fixture schedules etc. The events concerned are:

THE CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS TROPHY
THE AYRSHIRE FOURBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
THE GARY BRYDEN MEMORIAL SALVER
THE PRESIDENT’S PUTTER
THE AYRSHIRE HANDICAP LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
THE AYRSHIRE SCRATCH LEAGUES

If there are any further questions on the six extended competitions, participants should contact the respective event administrator in the first instance, or the Area Association Secretary.

The Ayrshire Golf Association executive appreciate that this decision will have a considerable impact on county events this season but are sure that the member clubs and players will appreciate the background to which this difficult decision has been made.

At the moment Golf remains one of the few sporting activities which can be enjoyed within the confines of the present government advice on the COVID-19 outbreak and The Ayrshire Golf Association would encourage member clubs to keep informed of the current advice available and formulate an appropriate plan of action relevant to their own individual circumstances.

To assist clubs to access information, the following web link issued by the PGA may help member clubs.


The Ayrshire Golf Association would like to thank clubs and players for their understanding during these unprecedented circumstances which we are all subject to at the present time, and hope to provide a further positive update following the review of the position as far as the county events are concerned on 12th May.

Keep safe.

Alasdair J Malcolm
AGA Secretary