Will golf courses close during lockdown? What Michael Gove said and rules explained as England introduces national restrictions on Thursday

Golf courses will be shut for the during of the lockdown in England (Getty Images)Golf courses will be shut for the during of the lockdown in England (Getty Images)
Golf courses will be shut for the during of the lockdown in England (Getty Images)
A petition calling for golf to be exempt from government restrictions has been signed by over 250,000

The return of golf was a source of solace for many as the first raft of lockdown restrictions were loosened in early summer.

Now there is confusion over whether golfers will be able to retreat to fairways during the second national lockdown which comes into force on November 5.

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Uncertainty created by the return of coronavirus restrictions have been muddied further by contradicting messages from cabinet ministers.

A petition, meanwhile, has been signed by thousands calling for golf to be exempt from lockdown restrictions.

Here’s the latest government guidance on playing golf during the second national lockdown.

Can I play golf during the England-wide lockdown?

For the duration of a nationwide lockdown all non-essential businesses will be required to close in order to reduce social contact.

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This includes indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, such as tennis courts and golf courses.

Driving ranges will also be required to close until the national lockdown is lifted.

Other leisure facilities impacted include: bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks,

The government states that “a full list of the business closures will be published and set out in law.”

What did Michael Gove say?

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Cabinet minister Michael Gove caused confusion when they indicated that golf courses could remain open.

Mr Gove admitted his mistake after wrongly suggesting that people would be able to play singles tennis or golf in pairs during the impending lockdown.

During an online question and answer session with his constituents on Monday, the MP for Surrey Heath suggested it would be possible to play golf.

The Cabinet Office minister also said “we are looking at” allowing people to play golf with one other person, despite Mr Johnson so far resisting calls for golf courses to remain open.

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On Tuesday morning, Mr Gove apologised for the comments on Twitter, including a link to the Government guidance.

“My apologies, I got this wrong,” he said. “Outdoor leisure facilities including tennis courts and golf courses will be closed from Thursday.”

When will I be able to play golf again?

Golf courses will be allowed to resume business when the national lockdown ends.

The new measures are currently scheduled to run until at least December 2, though it is possible that this period could be extended.

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Speaking on November 3 Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated that lockdown would not be extended beyond December 2.

Speaking to a cabinet meeting he said: “We have a very clear way ahead. These measures – the crucial thing to understand is that they expire on 2 December. They come to an end. And we therefore as a government and indeed as a country have a deadline and a target to develop solutions which previously … did not exist.”