CALLING ALL GOLFERS IN ENGLAND!! Hole19 apps at the ready as the news you've all been waiting for is finally here... you can play golf again for the first time since March 23.
While encouraging more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise, the UK government confirmed that English golf courses can reopen from Wednesday May 13 and that golfers can now play with members of their household or ONE player from outside their household.
Unfortunately at this stage, the loosening of restrictions has not been accepted or implemented by the devolved parliaments of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and applies to golfers in England only.
We've preempted some questions you may have below:
Hallelujah... how quickly can I get a tee-time?
That's going to be down to your local course so be sure to make contact and discuss your first tee-time slot. Given the fact that you may be restricted to a maximum of two-balls, it's possible that tee-times could go very quickly.
The announcement came as a bit of a surprise so some courses may not be immediately ready to welcome golfers back. On that note, don't expect the course to be as perfectly manicured as it would normally be... greenkeeping staff are likely to have been working reduced hours (if at all).
What social distancing measures will be in place?
Golfers can expect clubhouses to be closed, though toilets should remain open. There should be at least 10 minutes between tee-times. Rakes will be removed from bunkers so you'll need to do as good a job as possible smoothing the sand after your shot. Flagsticks shouldn't be touched and golf clubs should introduce lining to stop the ball from dropping to the bottom of the cup.
Two-metre distancing should be adhered to by members from different households and golfers should not arrive more than 15 mins before their round and leave immediately after.
Is there official guidance on this?
Well, the R&A put out a statement confirming the change in governmental guidance on May 11, and had previously pulled together a list of considerations golf clubs and their members should be aware of when restarting golf under restrictions in the UK.
How come golf courses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will remain closed?
In the United Kingdom each devolved government has the ability to tread their own path out of the lockdown, and they have each chosen a rather more cautious approach at this stage.
It's possible that changes could be implemented in the coming weeks and we hope that Hole19ers from the rest of the UK will be hitting the fairways before too long - and when it's deemed safe to do so.
Llanymynech Golf Club - Weird but true
The staff at Llanymynech Golf Club are a little in the dark as to whether they can open at this time. Why? Well, despite the clear guidance on a country-by-country basis, this particular golf course straddles the English/Welsh border.
Two holes (and a green) are in England, while the rest of the golf course is located across the border in Wales.
We hope all you golfers in England can get to the course and find some respite from these difficult times. Get your Hole19 app ready, play well and stay safe.