The future of golf courses will be debated in parliament next week - here's why

Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 5:00 pm

MPs will debate whether golf courses in England should be made exempt from the list of venues required to close during lockdown, after an online petition received more than 257,000 signatures.

Golf courses have currently been closed since 2 November, and are set to remain shut until 2 December.

The motion will be debated by Parliament on 23 November, nine days before the lockdown is set to be lifted.

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It will be discussed at the same time as a similar petition, protesting the closure of gyms. The debate will last 90 minutes, taking place in Westminster Hall from 4:30pm, and will be screened on Parliament TV.

‘Golf can help people stay healthy and happy’

The petition to pass the 100,000 threshold to merit consideration by the UK Government was called ‘Exempt golf courses from the list of venues required to close due to Covid-19.’

It stated, “Isolation [is] essential to the government’s strategy for fighting coronavirus, and UK citizens must remain healthy and exercise whilst keeping adequate distance between people. The government should allow golf courses to open so families or individuals can play golf in order to exercise safely.

“This could be achieved on golf courses, whether families or individuals are playing rounds. On the course everyone can keep a safe distance from each other. Let’s make use of the space and the open air. Golf can help people stay healthy and happy whilst observing social distancing rules.”

The petition received more than 110,000 signatures before noon on the first day of its launch.

A ‘Covid-safe’ sport

Golf was among the first sports allowed back after the first national lockdown period earlier this year. Players were restricted to two-ball pairings, and some courses required masks to be worn whilst playing.

England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson said, "We know the benefits our sport can provide for both mental and physical health at this time of isolation and hope the Government can recognise this during the upcoming debate and support golf's return to playing.

“Earlier this year, the game of golf was able to clearly demonstrate that it could be enjoyed in a Covid-safe way, which is why it was one of the first sports to return once restrictions were lifted.

“This was a privilege that the sport took incredibly seriously and accordingly adopted the highest possible standards to keep participants safe."