The new month-long coronavirus restrictions in England starting from November 5th specifically state that golf courses and driving ranges must close, immediately leading to widespread anger and disbelief.
And local West Lancashire golfers fear it will be the end of the Beacon Park Golf Course, which is seen as an albatross round the neck of Serco, the course operator, or, less politely by some, the course undertaker!
According to gov.uk “To reduce social contact, the government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks.’
Sky News and the Daily Mail have reported that golf had been singled out, with the measures lasting until December 2. Sky reported that “outdoor exercise and recreation is encouraged and unlimited – only with your household/bubble, on your own or with one other person from a different household (golf is not allowed)”.
The reaction on social media to the announcement was largely one of anger, as golf has been seen as a safe sport to play during the pandemic.
Greenkeeping association BIGGA has issued a statement “in the full lockdown during March, April and May ‘essential maintenance’ was allowed to be carried out on English golf courses by green keepers provided they followed hygiene protocols”.
And who can forget how Serco, contracted by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to run three leisure sites in the borough, demanded a £290,000 reimbursement for loss of income during the earlier Covid pandemic?