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

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