The view from the first teebox.

Mullingar Golf Club all set for limited return to sport

Following extensive consultation with the relevant government departments and state agencies in the Republic of Ireland a protocol for golf clubs and golfers to facilitate a limited return to golf has been prepared by the Irish Ladies Golf Union and the Golfing Union of Ireland.

The protocol aims to ensure that golf can be played safely during the pandemic where public health measures permit such activity.

This Protocol is the basis on which the Unions and Golf Ireland sought the inclusion by the Government of the resumption of golf in Phase 1 of its Roadmap. As one of the first sports to be allowed to resume, there is a major responsibility on golf clubs and golfers to ensure that golf is conducted in a safe and responsible manner.

Full adherence to the provisions of this Protocol is absolutely essential. It should be noted that the Government continues to monitor the situation closely and has not ruled out the reintroduction of restrictions which could see golf clubs closed once again if the Protocol is not followed. Following the publication of the GUI/ILGU Protocol, Mullingar Golf Club issued its own protocol to members.

Under the terms of the Protocol in order to reopen Mullingar Golf Club must ensure, among other things, that:

• Play is restricted to: members only; casual golf only (no club competitions or opens).

• Tee times are booked in advance online or over the telephone. Clubs must ensure that players names are recorded on timesheets and timesheets must be kept for a period of at least 6 weeks to assist with contact tracing should the need arise.

• Daily timesheets are restricted to a minimum of 10, 12 or 14 minute intervals.

• Members with colds or any symptoms of COVID-19 stay away from the golf course/clubhouse.

• Physical distancing rules are observed by all members at all times in the car park, clubhouse and on the course.

Mullingar Golf Club members must observe the following rules (among others) to ensure that the game is played safely:

• Schedule your tee-time in the manner prescribed by Mullingar Golf Club. Under no circumstances should members arrive at the club without booking in advance.

• Ensure that group size is no greater than what is allowed by Mullingar Golf Club (the maximum number in any event is three).

• Observe physical distancing rules at all times following your arrival at the club.

• Warm-up alone. Observe physical distancing rules on practice range and on the practice putting green.

• If open, avoid holing out on practice putting green, putt to a tee-peg instead.

• Do not arrive at the first tee more than five minutes before your allotted tee time.

• Observe physical distancing at all times on the course.

• Following play of a hole, do not enter the next teeing ground until the all members of the group in front have played their tee-shots and exited the teeing ground.

• Do not use rakes in bunkers.

• Do not touch the flag or flagstick. Putt with the flagstick in and remove your own ball from the hole.

• Return directly to your car, change your shoes, put your equipment in your car and leave. Do not store your equipment in your locker.

• Avoid entering the clubhouse. If you must use the toilet facilities, ensure you adhere to health and safety guidelines.

It is everyone’s wish that the above measures can be relaxed on a regular and on-going basis so that we get back to some semblance of normality, including competitions, prior to season end. However, this can only happen if members have regard for the above protocols, respect their fellow members and staff and comply with what is asked of them.

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