Sport Golf Golf Australia talking to Victoria and NT about lifting COVID-19 bans

Golf Australia talking to Victoria and NT about lifting COVID-19 bans

Golf cart
Back soon: Golf is back on in most states, but Victorian and NT players will have to wait. Photo: AAP
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Golf Australia says it is in active discussions with the Victorian and Northern Territory governments about lifting bans on the game in those jurisdictions.

The peak body’s chairman Andrew Newbold reaffirmed that there is “constant dialogue with all governments around golf and our clubs”.

Golf Australia has been concerned about the financial health of clubs.

Most states have allowed the game to continue, albeit with strict rules around social distancing that are cutting off substantial revenue.

“We are particularly focused on how we can assist our clubs through this crisis,” Mr Newbold said.

“We are speaking with each government regularly and, as other restrictions are lifted, we would hope that golf once again becomes a permitted form of exercise undertaken in a safe way,” he said.

Asked by The New Daily if the high-profile public protests of Melbourne football identity Sam Newman had done harm to the image of the game – particularly when comparisons were being made on social media to people using public transport to get to work – Mr Newbold said: “A lot of people are suffering physically, mentally and economically as a result of this pandemic”.

Golf is only a game and, whilst it is very important, we have tried to play our part in advocating for the game in a socially responsible manner.”

Early on, Golf Australia supported course shutdowns, but changed tack last week to push for play to resume in Victoria and the NT.

Asked if the body had taken any independent advice on the risks of playing golf in pairs, Mr Newbold said Golf Australia was following all advice from health authorities about social distancing when advising clubs how to manage play safely.

As well as social distancing, protocols include keeping gloves on and not touching hands with playing partners, not sharing carts, leaving flags in, reducing hole depth, greater times between groups, not exchanging cards, not using bunker rakes and maintaining personal hygiene.