As the sun rose over the greens and fairways of New Zealand’s golf courses today there was an air of excitement for golfers south of the Bombay Hills that we can finally get out and play a round of golf.
All of New Zealand, outside of Auckland and Northland, has moved to alert level 3 on the first day of spring. Northland has two more days and then will hopefully be joining the party, just leaving Auckland golfers to suffer in silence for hopefully only a couple of more weeks.
So what can you do at Alert Level 3?
Can I go out and play golf at Alert Level 3?
Yes. Golf is a permitted activity at Alert Level 3.
What do I need to remember when playing golf at Level 3?
The most important principle is to stay safe and to stay physically distant from people outside of your bubble. Golf can be played as long as it does not involve the interaction of
people from different bubbles.
Will my club be open at Level 3?
Whether a golf club opens for play is entirely a decision for each golf club to make. The number one priority should be the health, safety and wellbeing of your staff, members, golf participants and the wider community.
Can I travel outside my region to visit my golf club?
No. At Alert Level 3 you can only travel for sport within your region. Go to your closest club rather than possibly your favourite one.
What does my club need to do to be able to open at Level 3?
Golf clubs, facilities and golfers must take appropriate steps to make sure they minimise the risk of infection from the COVID-19 virus. Golf clubs and facilities must follow all
government regulations around the NZ COVID Tracer App and display of the QR code plus the keeping of accurate records.
Each club needs to have a COVID-19 safety plan must be in place, including risk controls for any staff that may be on site. All clubhouse, pro shop, changing room, toilets and any other facility at the golf course must be closed to players and visitors (only available to be accessed and used by essential staff on site)
What do I need to remember when entering and leaving the golf course?
Golfers should arrive ready to play and leave the facility immediately after play. An appropriate interval between tee times should be observed to ensure distancing between
groups is maintained. A six-minute interval between solo players is recommended. An interval of ten minutes between groups that have two or more players is recommended. Golf courses may organise specific times of each day for groups of different sizes.
Can I keep score and improve my handicap in Level 3?
Scorecards cannot be physically issued prior to play nor returned after play. No scores will be accepted by the national handicapping system from clubs operating at Alert Level 3.
Can I just go and practice at the range?
Driving ranges and other practice or warm-up facilities must be set up to ensure a minimum of two-metre distance between players. If driving ranges are used, appropriate ball and surface sterilising must take place. All pins must be removed from practice putting greens.
Can I use a golf cart to get around the course?
Equipment cannot be shared. If golf carts are to be used, they can only be used by people inside the same bubble. Golf carts and trundlers must be completely cleaned and sterilised after each use.
Are we back to having no pins in the holes and no raking the bunkers?
All pins/ flagsticks are to be removed from the course. The holes will most likely be cut in the centre of the green and may be slightly raised or placed upside down. All bunker rakes are to be removed from the course and all drinking fountains, ball washers, shared sunscreen stations and on-course toilets will be closed.
Can my coach come with me on the course?
Coaches must work from home and use online and video conferencing facilities to deliver their training.
Can we interact with the golf course staff?
Any staff who are on-site should be provided with any appropriate personal protective equipment to ensure they can remain healthy and safe. No physical interaction between any essential staff and players can occur.