Golf Australia, the governing body for the sport in our country, is offering regularly updated information concerning playing golf and golf-club operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of this afternoon, each state is treating the actual playing of golf differently. Read on to find out more and how it impacts you:
Dear Australian golf clubs and facilities,
As you are aware, COVID-19, or Coronavirus as it is more commonly known, has created global health concerns regarding the disease and its infection rates.
Golf Australia is writing to provide further assistance and guidance to our clubs and facilities on this important topic.
Please note, all information communicated by Golf Australia to date will be located on our website at https://www.golf.org.au/covid-19/. Our communications moving forward will contain only new information and updates.
It is Golf Australia’s recommendation to clubs and facilities that advice from the Australian Government’s Department of Health be monitored closely in coming days and weeks, as well as the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website. Advice may change daily.
Please note, Golf Australia remains fully operational for all of your club and facility support, rules and handicapping and competition management requirements. For contact details of each departmental area, please visit https://www.golf.org.au/contactus/.
Considering the recent announcements, Clubs that are permitted to operate should be doing all they can to protect the privilege of being able to play our sport during these challenging times. Clubs should actively discourage the congregation of players and not drawing any undue attention to their hospitality offerings.
Clubhouse and golf operations
On Sunday, March 22, the Australian Government announced a closure – from midday, Monday, March 23 – of all pubs, licensed clubs, bars, restaurants and cafes (dining in), cinemas, casinos, places of worship, gyms and indoor sporting venues.
Any further advice received by Golf Australia will be communicated to clubs and facilities immediately. We acknowledge that industry advisory bodies are updating registered clubs and we are aware of this advice. Golf Australia’s advice is based on communications with government and we will continue to liaise with government on all matters over the coming hours and days.
The closure of licensed venues has affected the operations of clubs in each state differently. Please read the specific advice below that affects your club.
In addition to the below, you should continue to review your operational plans. Practical examples of this include:
- Removing ‘shotgun’ and ‘two-tee’ starts to reduce peak service loads across the course
- Creating larger gaps between groups on time sheets
- Reducing or cancelling club competitions with a heightened focus on social play
- Review the need for the pro shop to operate, or operate on a reduced capacity.
At this point, the advice received from the Queensland government is as follows; If a course or facility is licensed, it must completely close immediately.
Golf Australia is currently working hard to advocate for the sport to continue to be played during this crisis.
The advice for SA comes out of SAPOL, the Office of Rec, Sport & Racing and the Office of Liquor & Gaming through Clubs SA.
Your clubhouse must be closed and there should be no food and beverage service at the club, whatsoever. The pro shop can remain open, but must not be used as a place of social gathering under any circumstance.
Your club should be operating on a members-only basis.
The advice for Tasmania comes from the Tasmanian Hospitality Association.
The playing of golf can continue provided social distancing measures are in place. All licensed clubhouses should be immediately closed, with no food or beverage service taking place. Take away food and non-alcoholic beverages can be sold at pro shops.
The advice for WA comes from Clubs WA.
The playing of golf can continue provided social distancing measures are in place. All licensed clubhouses should be immediately closed, with no food or beverage service taking place. Take away food and non-alcoholic beverages can be sold out at pro shops, halfway hut or catering cart. Clubs should not provide any seated areas.
It is important that golf clubs and facilities adhere to these restrictions to ensure golf can continue to be played and is not seen as flouting the restrictions in place for other businesses.
New South Wales
The information for NSW comes from government and law enforcement officials.
While your clubhouse operations must be closed for normal business, golf activities can and should continue. Of course, golfers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene and adhere to social distancing guidelines, as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments.
The Northern Territory advice has been sourced from Licensing NT.
Licensing NT have provided additional direction stating that your course can remain open, however all bar areas and outdoor drinking areas for members and guests must be closed. You can, however, continue to sell takeaway liquor to members with the Clubhouse closed for any other purpose.
The Victorian advice has been sourced from Sport, Recreation & Racing Victoria.
Sport, Recreation and Racing Victoria’s advice is that golf courses can continue to operate at this time. Your Clubhouse must be closed at this time.
Member, guest and staff health advice
Golf clubs and facilities are often heavily trafficked, and there is a chance that a member, guest or member of your staff will be exposed to, or test positive to, COVID-19.
It is vitally important that if a member, guest or staff member tests positive to COVID-19, they must inform the club/facility as soon as possible. If this has occurred, anyone testing positive will be contacted by the state/territory Department of Health in relation to contact tracing. You should then take advice on ongoing facility operations from your state/territory Department of Health.
It will continue to be important for club boards and management to review contingencies to plan stages ahead for club operations should public information change.
Practices across your facility should display a heightened regard for the sanitation of surfaces. Ask your cleaning chemical provider to provide guidance.
Staff and volunteers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene, as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments.
Golf Australia has collated a range of proactive actions that clubs have implemented across the country. This list can be found on Golf Australia’s website, on the dedicated COVID-19 page, golf.org.au/covid-19 and will be updated from time to time.
If clubs would like to share what they are doing in their facility, they can send these stories to [email protected].
Industrial Relations advice
For specific Industrial Relations advice, please contact the licensed venue peak body or business advisory organisation in your state (Community Clubs Victoria, Clubs SA, ClubsNSW, Clubs WA, Clubs QLD, Clubs NT, Tasmanian Hospitality Association). If your golf club or facility is not a member and requires advice, please contact Golf Australia club support on [email protected].
Golf Australia – staff update
All Golf Australia staff are currently working from home, however we remain fully operational as a business.
We will still be contactable via regular means such as phone and e-mail, and our reception phone will be diverted to ensure all incoming calls are answered.
As previously noted, the potential implications are changing constantly and we will continue to monitor accordingly, and provide updates to clubs and facilities as regularly as required, or alternatively when additional Federal Government updates are announced.
For further Federal Government information on COVID-19, the Coronavirus Health Information Line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 020 080.
If you require additional information or have questions please do not hesitate to contact Golf Australia on (03) 9626 5000 or [email protected].