Frustrated by delay in allowing golf to begin again - Letters

It’s a sport which easily adheres to social distancing rules

I am a keen golfer in Scotland and would like to be able to get back to playing soon.

Golf is an outdoor game which is played in large open spaces and can be played while easily adhering to social distancing rules.

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There are well documented benefits from playing golf for physical and mental health, for all ages and genders. And of course, golf in Scotland is “every person’s” sport.

I am frustrated at the speed of the Government allowing golfers back onto their courses during this lockdown period.

There are discussions going on between the Scottish Government, Department of Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Scottish Golf, Active Scotland and sportScotland. I feel there is a great deal of discussion between these bodies but no one is asking ordinary golfers their opinion.

So I have started a petition – change.org/PlayGolfAgain

Simon Norris

Edinburgh

An open letter to all members of the Scottish Parliament:

The First Minister, in her presentation of the Government Paper – Covid 19 – A Framework for Decision Making, sought to engage the Scottish public in a discussion of how lockdown could be eased.

I offer the following as a basis for discussion, and endorsement, by our elected representatives entirely in keeping with the tone of the Paper.

In these dreadful times, we all must be vigilant in order to guard against being infected by the virus or, indeed, in assisting it to spread.

Clearly, any lessening of the lockdown restrictions must be done in a way which will maintain such vigilance.

One of main exceptions to the lockdown which has been embraced by the public is going outside for exercise whether it be walking, running or other pursuits. Whilst some may say that “golf is a good walk spoiled”, it is incongruous that Scottish golf courses are presently busy with walkers and owners exercising their dogs, but no golfers.

The softening of the restrictions provides an ideal opportunity for Scottish Government to encourage the enjoyment of a sport where social distancing, in the course of a round, is the norm rather than the exception. Scotland is known worldwide as the Home of Golf, with evidence of golf being played here many centuries ago and with the governing body for the sport, the R&A being based here in Scotland, who prior to lockdown had the foresight to amend their rules to minimise personal contact whilst playing.

It has been well reported over the past few years how participation in golf has fallen in most parts of the country. It is also no secret that Scotland reaps huge benefits from golf tourism.

Surely this is an ideal opportunity for the Scottish Government, backed by all sides of the political spectrum, to embrace the sport of golf as the perfect vehicle for socially distanced sport in this ‘new normal’ society upon which we must now embark?

No doubt golf clubs would face challenges, but by embracing technology for bookings and the submission of scores, and following the two metre rules around their premises and on the course, everyone would derive huge benefits:

a) individuals getting back to their chosen sport

b) new participants taking up the sport

c) clubs by seeing an income stream returning, and

d) Scotland showing a lead in again championing the sport which we gave to the world so many years ago – and no doubt seeing this reflected in tourism income in the future.

I ask you, therefore, to support and lobby for the reopening of golf courses, subject to strict adherence social distancing rules, as a major contribution to the first stage of the easing of the lockdown and the maintenance of the ongoing health of our nation.

John Tannahill

Glencruitten Golf Club

Dougalston Golf Club

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