Which Countries Have Lifted Their Covid-19 Golf Ban?
While we are far from out of the woods yet, the Covid-19 pandemic is starting to slow down in various European countries (and beyond). Governments are now considering which activities are deemed safe and, thankfully, many golf courses are starting to reopen.
While not an exhaustive list by any means, below we list some major countries and a recent update on the status of their golf courses.
We'll start with the place we call home - Portugal!
Golf courses in Portugal have been allowed to open since May 4 and many have now done so. They all have some restrictions measures in place such as the mandatory use of face masks, wider intervals between tee times and no buggy sharing unless members of the same family etc.
Of course, travel into the country is not permitted and the border with Spain is closed. Many golfers in Portugal have been enjoying their first round for several weeks - including many of us here at Hole19.
Some Spanish regions have opened their golf courses but the likes of Madrid and Catalunya aren't expected to follow suit until May 26. The Spanish golfing authority have agreed social distancing protocols with the government - you can find them here.
United Kingdom 🇬🇧
Golf courses in England can open from May 13, however the loosening of restrictions has not been implemented by the devolved parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In England, a golfer can play with members of his/her own household or ONE player from outside the household. Golf courses should consider the protocols laid down by the R&A - you can find them here.
In Ireland all golf courses are currently closed but are expected to start opening from May 18. As golf clubs start to open again they will be guided by a list of protocols and guidance from the Golfing Union of Ireland on the phased approach in the upcoming months.
If you're in Ireland you'll find all you need to know here.
Golfers in France have been allowed to play golf from May 11 after announcements on the first phase of deconfinement in the country. Many golf courses are expected to let the first players hit the golf course later this week.
Fourballs are allowed as long as players keep to the strict 2m distancing rules.
In Germany, the lifting of lockdown measures is in the hands of the 16 separate federal states with golf courses opening at different stages. The most recent update saw 10 states open for play with the remaining six due to follow suit on May 11.
As with every other region, the decision to reopen is often an individual one so its best to check with the local golf club re: availability of tee-times.
Golf courses have been open in Austria since May 1 to all golfers (members & non-members) with the understanding that strict social distancing guidance is followed.
In Belgium, golf courses have been opening to all green fee payers from May 4 (May 11 in some areas). A maximum of 3 people from the same or different households can play together - and as often as they wish - as long as they play with the same golfers each time.
The Netherlands 🇳🇱
Most golf courses in the Netherlands have been open for play since May 11 with many prioritising tee-times for members and their playing partners. There will be some courses open to all green fee payers.
Check with the club before you arrive.
United States of America 🇺🇸
In the USA, each of the 50 states currently allow golf to be played and for maintenance to continue, however, the decision whether or not to stay open is an independent business decision by each course.
As of the May 11, almost 80% of courses in USA were open while others could follow suit.
Golf is now open for play in all states and territories across Australia. Having been played in five states and one territory in the weeks preceding the announcement, the decision was taken that golf could be played in relative safety - as long as golfers adhere to distancing measures.
The latest information from Golf Australia, including all safety protocols, can be found here.
New Zealand 🇳🇿
Thankfully New Zealand have been quite proactive in their Covid19 response and move to Alert Level 2 from May 14. At this level, golf can be played however, as you will expect, there are firm measures in place to ensure health is not put at risk.
Golf clubs that open at Alert Level 2 must do so under the guidelines laid out in this article by New Zealand Golf.
South Korea 🇰🇷
Golfers in South Korea can hit the golf course while adhering to the standard social distancing measures.
What's more, women professional golfers are gearing up to take part in the first organised professional golf tournament since the Covid19 outbreak - the KLPGA Championship.
Let us know in the comments if and when your country relaxed their restrictions and when you're playing your first round. As more and more countries start relaxing their restrictions, more and more of you Hole19ers will be able to get to the golf course. Get your Hole19 apps ready, play well and - most importantly - stay safe!!