Spring 2020 Updates on course closure
A message from County President Shelagh Withams
Sent to all Executive Officers, non-Executive Officers and Club delegates
Good afternoon ladies
I hope you are all keeping safe and well
Last week England Golf ran three webinars for Voting Members and County Secretaries. The key points were:
..a Covid Team has been established and meets on alternate days
..over half of the staff are furloughed, including all Club Support Officers, but Partnership Managers are working
..non-furloughed staff are mostly working from home
..EG Officers are working with government bodies and national organisations to address the implications and management of the pandemic in the context of golf.
..criteria, under the heading of Play Safe, Be Safe, are being developed for implementation when a decision is made about how and when a return to playing golf can be achieved, although at present
there is no indication of when that will be
..implementation of the World Handicap System is still scheduled for 1 November. Wendy Cox has sent out an update to Handicap Secretaries - copy attached
..a members’ newsletter has been circulated which includes a survey related to WHS - ..please encourage members to complete the survey
..a range of EG competitions and championships is still scheduled to run from 27th July. ..Further information will be available if and when easing or otherwise of the restrictions occurs
..affiliation fee income is significantly reduced at present but Sport England funding and EG reserves are able to sustain the organisation currently
..reminder that all Clubs and Counties have a free one hour consultation with Mills and Reeves
...ensure that clubs are utilising Government support schemes, where appropriate
..achieving SafeGolf accreditation is still a priority but target date may be extended. A ..related on-line learning package is available through the EG website
..the next England Golf webinars are scheduled for the 5th and 6th May.
At County level, we have already cancelled all competitions up to and including the County Foursomes scheduled for 9th July. Our next scheduled competition is the Seniors' Cup on 10th August followed by President’s Day on 20th August. Currently, we have no idea if it will be possible to run these events, although it seems unlikely. Entries for these competitions are suspended until such time as it is possible to make a decision.
If you have any queries please feel free to contact me
Best wishes and take care
Dr Sheila C Withams, County President
Golf in England has never before faced so many difficult challenges and in such a short space of time as it has done since restrictions were put in place to combat the threat of COVID-19.
The unprecedented, but necessary, decision to close golf courses from 23 March has had a profound effect on our game.
This was not a call we took pleasure in making – however, it remains the correct and responsible decision during a global pandemic and at a time of national emergency.
Throughout this period of disruption, however, England Golf has never shied away from facing this crisis head on by working for and on behalf of our clubs and counties.
Much of this work has, necessarily, gone on quietly behind the scenes.
Even though we took the decision to furlough the majority of our staff, a core workforce has remained to act on behalf of our stakeholders and champion golf’s cause while being respectful of the wider public health concerns.
From the outset, we have worked in partnership with the other home unions, industry partners, The R&A and collaboratively with the PGA, BIGGA and GCMA on a number of golf-related matters.
One example is the production of an ‘essential maintenance guide’ for greenkeepers in order that courses may be cared for at a level that will allow the game to return when it is safe to do so.
We have also been proactive in our dealing with government and, in particular, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Topics have included:
Of course, there remains a great appetite to discover the date when it may be safe for golf to return.
England Golf will continue to work in support of government and with them to move towards that day.
When golf does return, this great game of ours must be ready to do so in an organised and responsible manner.
The enthusiasm for golf’s return after an enforced hiatus is to be embraced.
However, it is important that everyone who loves the game is guided by the simple message – Play Safe, Stay Safe.
England Golf will soon provide golf clubs with a series of guides to help plan the final steps on the journey back to playing the game.
While we cannot yet circle a date in the diary, it is right to put in place a proper framework to allow golfers to tee it up at the appropriate time and with the necessary infrastructure already in place.
The following areas will be covered:
It is realistic for golf clubs to expect restrictions on opening of facilities, requirements for social distancing and adaptations to the usual playing etiquette even after any easing of lockdown.
Restarting the game on this basis will be a challenge. There is a key responsibility to balance the issue of public health while at the same time ensuring the vitality of our sport.
Golf will play a prominent role in the nation’s sporting recovery – when the time is right.
By working together, we can make sure this happens with our affiliated clubs and counties at the heart of the matter.
Chief Executive, England Golf
Fixtures and information for county competitions