- David Tease
- June 24, 2020
From 1 July 2020, the NSW State Government has approved the reintroduction of adult and junior sport, including contact sport. As such, the riding of two golfers in a cart will be permissible.
Golf NSW encourages all Golf Clubs to ensure they have a COVID Safety Plan, which will be different at each Club depending upon their clubhouse size and the number of golfers.
Clubs are encouraged to continue to practice social distancing, maintain good hygiene practices and ensure outdoor gatherings of no more than 20 people occur.
Frequently asked Questions:
Can two players both ride in the same golf cart?
Yes. With the State Government’s reintroduction of community sport for adults and children (including contact sport) from July 1, players can share golf carts. Clubs may consider recommending that one player be responsible for the driving duties for the entire round and that the passenger remain on the passenger’s side of the cart.
Should our Club still be enforcing modified playing conditions?
It is a Club’s decision as to whether they continue the use of the modified playing conditions as a part of their COVID-19 Safety Plan e.g. flags left in, no rakes in bunkers, no swapping of scorecards etc. Please click here for a full list of those modifications.
Should clubs allow rakes in bunkers and removal of the flagstick?
It is recommended that this be done with a gloved hand.
Can we play golf in groups of four?
Yes. Under current outdoor gathering limits, the play of golf in groups of four is allowed. While additional care needs to be taken to maintain social distancing, golf is also permissible in groups of greater than four and up to twenty, should this be required. For example, groups of six for Foursomes.
Can we play golf as a shotgun start?
Clubs should continue to minimise gathering opportunities wherever possible and as such, shotgun starts should be avoided unless gatherings of less than 20 people can be achieved.
Can we play golf with caddies?
Yes. Caddies may be utilised. Golf NSW recommends that caddies, where practical:
– Maintain social distancing practices
– Maintain good hygiene
– Allow players to pull their own clubs from their bag
Can players swap balls during the play of a hole?
In addition to the other Temporary Modifications to the Rules of Golf, it is permissible to introduce a local rule that allows players to substitute the golf ball during the play of a hole, so that players are not touching each other’s golf ball. For example:
- When taking a preferred lie
- When putting
If this local rule is introduced, Clubs must not introduce a penalty for a player hitting their partner’s golf ball.
Any local rules that are introduced should not be to the detriment of pace of play.
Can I use the course driving range and putting green to practice?
Yes. Provided gathering and social distancing measures are in line with regulations, and the NSW Public Health Order is implemented and enforced.
A limit on the number of people allowed (a maximum of 20) on the practice putting green, or in the hitting bays at any one time should be communicated via signage and enforced at each location.
It is a Club’s decision as to what extent practice facilities are made available to members and social golfers.
Can we play competition golf?
Yes. There are no conditions/restrictions that prevent the play of competition golf if the Club can implement and enforce gathering and social distancing measures in line with regulations and the NSW Public Health Order.
Your Club may also utilise two-tee starts if social distancing guidelines can be maintained. Avoid shotgun starts unless these occur in smaller groups, and gatherings of less than 20 people can be achieved.
Can I get a lesson from the Professional at the Club?
Yes. There are no conditions/restrictions that prevent a golfer from having a lesson if the Club/Professional can implement and enforce gathering and social distancing measures in line with regulations and the NSW Public Health Order. Outdoor group lessons with a maximum of 20 people are permitted.
Can the clubhouse serve food and drinks to members?
Yes. Clubs are permitted to serve food and drinks (including alcohol) in designated dining areas, to be consumed while seated.
The maximum capacity for each venue is 1 person for every 4 square metres.
For specific information from Clubs NSW, please click here.
- May 13, 2020
The NSW State Government has officially gazette further easing of COVID-19 restrictions around outdoor gatherings.
The change from a maximum of numbers two to ten persons now allows the play of golf in groups of four from Friday, May 15, 2020.
Please note that clubhouse closure (except for the service of takeaway food and beverage) and social distancing requirements remain in place.
Golf NSW recommends that Clubs continue to implement modified playing conditions that reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by contact, that is, flags left in, no rakes in bunkers, no swapping of scorecards etc.
Updated Golf Australia COVID-19 position
by Golf Australia … 17 April 2020
Golf Australia’s focus during the COVID-19 pandemic will always be the wellbeing of the broader community.
Combined with our enduring responsibility for our clubs, their staff and all Australian golfers, we remain comfortable that our position recommending that clubs close has been appropriate to this point.
But, acknowledging the long challenge that lies ahead of all Australians during this pandemic, we have been encouraged to see golf played in comparative safety in five states and one territory in recent weeks as we all adopt social distancing necessities.
Under strict and specific safety protocols – enforced by state and territory guidelines as well as individual club rules – Golf Australia is now satisfied that golf can be played at minimal risk. Having worked collaboratively with our clubs and other stakeholders, we are now comfortable to alter our position and encourage courses to open and for people to play.
As well as social distancing, these safety 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.
The ability to play currently does not apply to those in Victoria and the Northern Territory where golf remains prohibited by those State and Territory governments. As ever, Golf Australia will continue constructive dialogue and advocacy for golfers with these governments.
It is important to note that Golf Australia may again alter our position depending on the changing requirements of governments (Federal, state and territory) as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds.
From Golf Australia … 2 April 2020
Many golf clubs around Australia have either re-opened, or are considering doing so, after recent state and territory-specific rulings or directives.
Golf Australia, while not wishing to act in a manner contrary to those specific rulings or directives, remains of the view that golf is a non-essential activity, a view which sits comfortably with the current Federal Government directive and rules to “stay at home” unless absolutely necessary.
Of course, Golf Australia is merely recommending that position to all clubs around Australia and ultimately we respect the right of the clubs to act in the way they see fit while complying with all social distancing requirements.
Golf Australia has adopted – and will continue to adopt – a prudent position of respecting and heeding Government advice on all matters pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The recommendation we formulated around course closure was based on the position Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken and, at all times throughout this issue, Golf Australia has sought to provide the latest Federal and state advice for all golf clubs around the country.
That has proved an extremely difficult task given that various state positions have been constantly changing, almost on a daily basis. We apologise for any confusion that has caused, but we are sure you can understand these are unprecedented times in our country and, indeed, for our great game.
That so many people are passionate about the sport is a great sign of the game’s significance in our community and we are truly sympathetic to those who are desperate to once again walk the fairways, but we as the national governing body feel that in this time of crisis for so many in our community, it is best to be safe.
Furthermore, we strongly believe that unity, prudence and safety during this unprecedented crisis is the best way for us to assist with “flattening the curve” of Covid-19’s surge through the community and we believe that golf and our industry has a role to play in doing this.
Our recommendation to remain closed therefore remains the same – Australia and our community come first.
We yearn to see full fairways and clubhouses, but not as much as we desire our population to be fully healthy once again.
As always, Golf Australia remains on hand to offer clubs advice and support through these troubling times, regardless of whether or not they’ve chosen to open or close.
The most up-to-date information on all Australian golf matters pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic will be prominent at https://www.golf.org.au/covid-19 on the Golf Australia website. We implore all golfers to follow the State and Territory guidelines contained within this document.
We will endeavour to provide constant and relevant updates as soon as possible in this ever-changing landscape.
Above all, please stay safe.
Reconsideration … Advising Golf is an activity of Exercise … 1 April 2020
Golf NSW Update to Golf Courses as a point of Exercise
- April 1, 2020
After reconsideration, the Office of Sport – NSW Government has advised that golf is considered an activity that can continue to be played in line with Public Health Orders relating to public gathering limits, social distancing, and the elderly.
The statement from the Office of Sport – NSW Government is as follows:
The NSW Office of Sport would like to clarify the advice that went out on Monday 30 March 2020.
As you know, there are now restrictions around public gatherings and rules around leaving your home. These new measures are in place to keep the community safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. But it is important to note that people are allowed to leave their homes for the purpose of exercise.
For more information on the new restrictions, please visit
What does this mean for sport and active recreation organisations?
The NSW Government has issued guidelines allowing people to go outside and exercise. Any form of exercise is to be undertaken in compliance with the Public Health Orders, meaning that people must not participate in groups greater than two persons at any point in time. Therefore, individual sports such as golf and tennis can continue provided the Public Health Orders are complied with.
Maintaining the public’s physical and mental well-being is now as important as ever. Where possible, it is important sporting clubs and organisations continue to allow people to exercise, so long as social distancing is practised and rules around public gatherings of no more than two people are complied with.
We trust this information will help your organisation to make informed decisions.
Golf NSW understands and respects that it is ultimately a Club’s decision to open or remain closed, based on individual circumstances related to COVID-19.
© Golf NSW | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Golf NSW … Covid – 19 … March 30, 2020
Last night the Prime Minister announced further restrictions in relation to social gatherings
and self-isolation of the elderly in an effort to reduce the spread of slow the spread of COVID-19.
Following advice from the NSW State Government and the NSW Office of Sport, it is Golf NSW’s recommendation that all golf courses in NSW close at midnight on March 30, 2020, until further notice.
We all understand the health benefits, both mental and physical our game provides, however the Government has listed the four reasons in which you may leave your home; for work, exercise, food, and for medical reasons.
Sadly, under the current restrictions, sport is considered non-essential and therefore not exempt. Action by authorities, including fines, could be imposed on people not adhering to these regulations – Golf NSW
Clubs are advised that golf course maintenance may continue as long as staff adhere strictly to social distancing requirements.
Further information will be communicated to clubs as it comes to hand.
The NSW stance is consistent with similar decisions being made in other States and Territories, with regular communications also being provided by Golf Australia.
From Golf NSW Web Site
Coronavirus Update: as at 23 March 2020
The following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday local time today.
- Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
- Gyms and indoor sporting venues
- Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
- Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
- Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).
Isolated remote community hubs are not included in these restrictions.
Other facilities are not impacted, but will be considered under stage 2 restrictions, if necessary.
These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.
Latest Information …
As at 20 March 2020 …
Social Distancing is now 4 Square Metres Radius
Today, 20 March 2020, the Prime Minister extended the distance around each person for indoor gatherings.
New restrictions on indoor public gatherings would require a four-square metre radius for every person, the Prime Minister has announced.
“So for example, if you’ve got a room, if you’ve got a premises, if you’ve got a meeting room or something like that, that’s 100 square metres, then you can have 25 people in that room,” Scott Morrison said.
*Last updated Wednesday, 18 March 2020*
Dear Australian Golf Clubs and Facilities,
As you are aware, COVID-19 or the Coronavirus as it is more commonly known has created global health concerns regarding the disease and its infection rates.
Golf Australia is writing to provide further assistance and guidance to our clubs and facilities on this important topic.
On Wednesday, March 18 the Australian Government announced that all non-essential gatherings of 100 or more would be banned. Further information and advice on this topic is located in the Member, Guest and Staff health advice section.
It is Golf Australia’s recommendation to clubs and facilities that advice from the Australian Government’s Department of Health should be monitored closely over the coming days and weeks, as well as the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website. Advice may change from day to day.
It should be noted that the vast majority of golfers can and should continue to visit your clubs and facilities as per normal. Of course, golfers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments. By its nature, golf promotes a level of social distancing and while it is important that this is adhered to, golf is a lower risk sport than many others.
Clubhouse & Golf Operations:
On Wednesday, March 18 the Australian Government announced that all non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 or more would be banned. This will have a significant impact on clubhouse operations for many golf clubs and facilities. Golf Australia recommends that clubs and facilities who – during the course of regular clubhouse operations – often have 100 or more people within their clubhouse at any given time now put in place alternative operational plans.
Ban on Gatherings of More Than 100 People – CLARIFICATION
Authorities have advised that the interpretation of the ban on all indoor non-essential gathering of more than 100 persons is defined as being 100 people per single enclosed area of a venue.
For example, you can have 100 people in a function room including staff, while also having 100 people including staff in the Member’s Bar.
Examples of easy to implement changes to regular operations:
Some examples of changes for clubs and facilities that will help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 include:
- Place signage around clubhouse along with hand sanitisers
- Remove cash transactions and encourage ‘Pay-Wave’ transactions where no contact is required
- Remove use of member cards in place of providing member number at point of sale
- Remove shared items such as complimentary cheese and crackers
- Remove table items such as salt and pepper shakers and water stations on bars
- Where possible, leaving doors ajar removing the need to push doors open or turn door knobs
- No hand shaking
- Use drink trays for rounds of drinks
- Remove items such as pens, shoe cleaners, sun creams, hair brushes and combs, hair gel and hair dryers from locker rooms
- Sanitise motorised carts, push buggy and sand bucket handles, air compressor handles, before and after use
- Encourage golfers to wear their putting glove when removing the flag stick and when raking bunkers
- Remove small pins from practice putting greens
Golf club competition advice
Golf Australia is not currently advocating for regular club competitions to cease and we are encouraging that these continue. However, it will be important to continue to monitor Federal and State Government announcements over the coming days that may impact on golf operations.
This advice must also be viewed through the prism of the mass gathering ban put in place on Wednesday, March 18.
As previously noted, the virus and potential implications are changing constantly and we will continue to monitor accordingly, and provide updates to clubs and facilities as regularly as required, or alternatively when additional Federal Government updates are announced.
A precis of Golf Australia’s post on the Coronavirus covid-19
For full version of post go to golf.org.au/covid-19/
Secretary … NRVGA