COVID-19 Level 2: Ready, Set, ………….. Go for Thursday

Ready, Set,..... Maybe

New Zealand golf clubs have been asked to thoroughly understand the Level 2 guidelines before considering opening once the COVID-19 alert level changes this coming Thursday.

The New Zealand cabinet have decided to move down from Level 3 to Level 2 on this coming Thursday May 14.

Level 2 guidelines were released last week and NZ Golf have re-affirmed these and asked clubs to be clear on what is expected the items they need to tick off to restart full operation.

In a statement, NZ golf said exercise and recreation is an important part of maintaining health and wellbeing however everyone must continue to be aware the playing of golf presents a risk of transmission.

“There will be a natural desire to get back to business quickly, however, we strongly encourage all clubs and facilities to thoroughly understand the guidelines and create detailed and robust plans before restarting operations,” NZ Golf said in a statement to clubs.

“This new information should support you in forward planning, noting that your club or facility will need to make your own decisions, and take responsibility for understanding any restrictions and requirements.”

The national body said they are happy to provide advice however they cannot confirm or endorse club operational plans.

“The most important principle is to ‘play it safe’ and remain physically distant from others.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of your staff, members, golf participants and the wider community is of paramount importance.”

Level 2 Club Guidelines

If the country moves to Level 2 this week then clubs will be asked to follow these 8 general guidance principles.

1. The golf course, clubhouse, pro shop, changing room and any other facility at the golf club can open at Alert Level 2.

2. All staff, players, visitors must adhere to general government advice; particularly all recommended hygiene measures.

3. For golf clubs, strict hygiene and sanitisation practices must be maintained throughout the facility including all common touchpoints and surfaces. Facilities must have a written plan for safe operation in place.

4. A system to record and retain the contact details of all staff, players and visitors must be in place to enable contact tracing should it be required.

5. Physical distancing (2 metres encouraged) between all staff, players and visitors should be maintained. Distancing should be maintained on the golf course and throughout all club facilities.

6. All indoor facilities at a club need to restrict entry to a maximum of 100 people. Operations across any indoor facilities must follow government guidelines.

7. Groups of guests in the clubhouse should be seated, have separation from other groups, and be served by a single server if possible. Golfers should only sit with the group they played golf with.

8. Any staff who are on-site should be provided with any appropriate personal protective equipment to ensure they can remain healthy and safe.

New guidelines for the playing of golf on the course will apply as well, giving golfers more chance to play golf than at level 3 and it will also mean the resumption of scoring and the new handicap system which will be the first time the new system has been used in New Zealand as it only came into force during lockdown Level 4.

Level 2 Playing Guidelines

New golfing guidelines are;

9. All players should wash and dry their hands before and after play.

10. Shotgun or multiple tee starts should only be held if they can be managed in a manner that does not see groups of golfers congregating. A minimum interval of 10 minutes is suggested for four-ball groups.

11. Groups of golfers should maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres between themselves and other groups on the course.

12. Club events and competitions can be held so long as there is strict adherence to hygiene, distancing and gatherings regulations.

13. While the national handicap system will be operational, physical scorecards should be avoided if possible. If scorecards are used, exchanging of cards should not occur.

14. All pins should be removed from practice putting greens.

15. Pins / flagsticks can be on the course however they should be left in the hole and should not be touched or removed by any player.

16. Bunker rakes can be on the course however a local rule will be provided by New Zealand Golf for bunker play should players not wish to touch bunker rakes.

17. All drinking fountains, ball washers, and shared sunscreen stations should be closed.

18. Any shared club equipment must be cleaned and sterilised after each use.

19. Coaching can be undertaken on a contactless basis and with strict 2-metre distancing being observed.

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