The Scotsman

English golf courses set to reopen on Wednesday


Catriona Matthew has hailed Scotland’s decision to keep golf courses closed as “sensible” as clubs in England move towards opening as early as Wednesday.

The prospect of the UK having different rules in place for golf as the first steps are taken in a lockdown exit was paved by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his latest address to the nation.

Talking about measures set to be in place from Wednesday, he said: “You can even play sports but only with members of your own household.”

The announceme­nt means that golf courses in England have effectivel­y been given the green light to reopen later this week, having been closed en masse since the lockdown rules in place during the coronaviru­s crisis came into force on 23 March.

However, courses in Scotland will still be expected to remain closed for the time being after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon emphasised her message remained “stay at home”.

As from today, Scots will be allowed to exercise more than once a day but no other changes have been made to lockdown restrictio­ns north of the

Border. Commenting on the prospect of some courses in the UK being open while others remain closed, European Solheim Cup captain Matthew said: “It seems sensible in Scotland as our R (rate of infection number) still seems to be higher.”

In a statement issued following the Prime Minister’s address, England Golf said: “England Golf acknowledg­es the Prime Minister’s statement of this evening and his updated guidelines on outdoor recreation.

“We will continue to work alongside The R&A, home nations, PGA and industry partners to liaise with government and assess how lockdown adjustment­s impact on golf. Further guidance and details will follow.”

It had been known since Friday that Scottish courses faced a longer wait to reopen following a statement issued by Scottish Golf.

It read: “Scottish Golf has been, and will remain, in regular dialogue with Scottish Government, with regards to the planned procedures for the safe return of our sport when the time is right. The recent update provided by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed that lockdown restrictio­ns remain in place and the clear public health message is to stay home and save lives. This responsibi­lity sits with each of us and golf is no exception.”

Courses are due to reopen in Ireland next Monday with travel restrictio­ns in place.

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