Coronavirus: Clubhouse closes at Open Championship venue in Scotland

The clubhouse at Muirfield, home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, has closed with immediate effect due to the coronavirusThe clubhouse at Muirfield, home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, has closed with immediate effect due to the coronavirus
The clubhouse at Muirfield, home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, has closed with immediate effect due to the coronavirus | other
Muirfield has become the first Open Championship venue to completely close its clubhouse as the coronavirus continues to take its grip on golf.

The decision was confirmed to The Scotsman in a statement from the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which has its home at the East Lothian venue.

It read: "The captain and Board of the Honourable Company, heeding Government advice and bearing in mind our prime responsibility to protect our wonderful staff and members from this virus, have decided to close the clubhouse facilities at Muirfield with immediate effect.

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"The golf course will remain open to members with the green staff working a shift system to ensure their inter personal contact is kept to a minimum. Staff will work from home where practicable.

"The club is in the process of contacting pre-booked visitors to advise them of the decisions taken.

"The situation will be kept under constant review and the club website updated with the latest information for members and visitors alike.

"The club will return to normal when it is safe to do so and on the advice of Government and their advisors."

Muirfield has hosted the Open Championship on 16 occasions, most recently in 2013, when Phil Mickelson got his hands on the Claret Jug for the first time.

One of the busiest clubhouses in St Andrews is also being closed down today as a precautionary measure because of the pandemic.

The decision by The New Golf Club, which overlooks the first and 18th fairway on the Old Course, follows the government's warning against "non-essential" contact, including trips to pubs and clubs.

"We’re closing indefinitely from this evening," The New Golf Club secretary confirmed in an email to The Scotsman.

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The move follows a similar decision by three Edinburgh clubs, Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society, Mortonhall and Ratho Park.

Gullane, one of the busiest clubs in Scotland, is holding a board meeting today to discuss all aspects of the pandemic, with the possibility of its two clubhouses - one for members and the other for visitors - being closed.