MEMBERS UPDATE – PLANNING AHEAD FOR OUR RETURN TO GOLF
PLANNING AHEAD FOR OUR RETURN TO GOLF
PLAY SAFE, STAY SAFE
I wanted to update you about the Golf Committee’s work to produce a recovery plan for our golfing calendar, as well as generally looking ahead to a return to golf.
Following the Government’s announcement that the current lockdown restrictions will last until at least 7th May, we have re-focused our planning on the basis of a golf re-start during the second half of May at the earliest – but with the flexibility to move this date forward to earlier in May, or back to later in the year, if required.
Our current version of the revised golfing calendar, therefore, is provisional pending the next Government review on 7th May and takes into account the very real possibility that the easing of lockdown restrictions will be phased over a period of time. For golf, this might mean restricting play to 2-balls only and/or to members only (i.e. no guests or visitors), compulsory tee-bookings throughout the day, as well as the continuation of the strict social distancing and other safety measures that we had put in place immediately before the lockdown. The clubhouse bar and catering facilities may also need to remain closed for some time after golf re-starts.
The various summer knockout competitions need to be considered separately, and whether or not they run this year will depend on their start date. For example, whilst the Ladies Knockout Foursomes have been cancelled altogether this year, both the Mixed and Seniors Knockouts could withstand a late May start, albeit with slightly shorter periods between rounds. A decision on, and the format of, the Men’s two main knockout competitions will need to be made once we have a clearer indication of a start date. Any requirement to limit play to 2-balls will of course also impact on the various Pairs knockout competitions.
Inevitably, some weekly golf competitions and other events have already had to be either cancelled or postponed. Cancellations so far include all the Ladies A. B and C team matches, the Ladies Seniors matches, the Ladies Open, the Seniors Invitation, the Men’s 1st Invitation, Junior inter-club matches up to 30th June as well as most of the club’s April and early May weekly competitions. Postponements until later in the year include the Men’s Llanymynech Exchange Day, the VE Day competitions, the Seniors Open, Seniors early season inter-club matches, the Seniors v Juniors annual match, and some Men’s and Ladies weekly competitions.
We are also conscious of the health risks involved with scorecard handling. However, Handicap Master have developed their software to allow remote scoring via a smartphone or laptop (though only for individual, not team, competitions), and we are currently trialling this. If successful, this would allow us to re-start the competitions schedule as soon as we return.
Of course, at this moment we still do not know when our ability to play golf again will return. However, when we do, we will in a position to start promptly and in a responsible and organised way. We expect the golf course to be very busy in the early days and, to give all members an equal chance of play, we have temporarily suspended all member and visitor booking on BRS until further notice as well as cancelling all existing bookings.
We will continue to keep in touch with England Golf and be guided by their advice and recommendations too and, in that regard, you will be interested in the attached letter from the England Golf CEO and his views on golf in England as it now stands.
England Golf has also advised that the new World Handicap System (WHS) will still be launched, as planned, on 2nd November 2020. They consider that the lack of scores being returned this year will not impact on the move to WHS as they will be using records back to January 2018 for the transition. We still hope to hold some WHS seminars for members later in the year, and we will also ensure that any educational material provided by England Golf is posted onto the club’s WHS page.
In the meantime, please stay safe and do get in touch if you have any questions on golf-related matters.
Chair of Golf
25th April 2020