Where Australian clubs stand on the emerging ‘no jab, no play’ policy.

Emboldened by Royal Melbourne’s much-publicised stance, leading Australian golf clubs are close to finalising ‘no jab, no play’ policies of their own to return to full capacity. 

Royal Melbourne Golf Club captain Andrew Kirby recently revealed that 1,000 members have already lodged vaccination certificates, the response to the club’s policy almost unanimously welcomed. Given its stature as Australia’s most prestigious golf club, Royal Melbourne instituting such a policy has been monitored closely by other clubs across the country. New South Wales Golf Club in Sydney has communicated to its members that it too will be putting such a policy in place and Kirby hinted that other leading clubs on the Melbourne Sandbelt would also follow suit. 

Intrigued by Kirby’s prediction, Australian Golf Digest asked a handful of the country’s top golf facilities – public and private – where they stand on golf’s most controversial new topic. Here’s what they revealed.

The Australian Golf Club, Sydney

The board of the club has considered the requirement to provide a duty of care to its staff and members. This would include an obligation to provide a safe environment at the club and minimise the risk or foreseeable threat as they relate to the spread of COVID-19. The health advice on the importance of vaccinations as the most effective barrier to serious illness and transmission of the virus has been taken on board. The board will require that all members, guests and any patron over the age of 16 provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19, prior to utilising the club’s facilities. The support from the membership has been overwhelmingly positive.

– Steven Shearer, chief executive officer

Commonwealth Golf Club, Melbourne

Commonwealth and the other Sandbelt clubs wrote to Golf Australia indicating that they supported a rapid vaccine rollout and that if the Victorian Government permitted golf from September 23, or sooner, under the conditions of
‘no jab, no play’, then these clubs would be supportive of such a decision. 

The committee has resolved to adopt a general policy that unless a member, staff member or guest is COVID vaccinated, that person will be precluded from access to the facilities of the club until such time as vaccination occurs. Naturally, any policy will include legitimate medical reasons supported by a medical certificate.

 – Paul Rainey, captain

Royal Adelaide Golf Club, Adelaide

The Royal Adelaide Golf Club committee will be considering its position on vaccination policies at the next committee meeting and therefore have not made a determination as to the direction the club will take. Adelaide has been fortunate and avoided the lockdowns suffered in Victoria and New South Wales, so the requirement to make these decisions has not been as pressing.

– Andrew Gay, general manager

Moore Park Golf, Sydney

There are a number of operational considerations which need to be taken into account, not to mention the ever-changing guidelines. We are planning for multiple different scenarios which may eventuate, but at this stage will continue to operate in the most inclusive manner within the health guidelines, which is in two-balls. Overarchingly, we will be guided by and operate within the applicable health orders.

Stephen Peverett, NSW state manager at Clublinks

Liverpool Golf Club, Sydney

Being a semi-private club means that we rely heavily on both member and social play as our main source of revenue. It was therefore important for us to strike the right balance between optimising player numbers while still complying with the public health orders and privacy laws. 

Conditions of Entry and Play will be that fully vaccinated players will receive priority in terms of tee-times and playing in groups of four, with semi or unvaccinated players being relegated to the end of the field in groups of two. That’s not to say, however, that this second cohort might not be further segregated to semi and unvaccinated if future health orders dictate as such. 

Our position on ‘no jab no play’ remains fluid in so far as we don’t know what restrictions will remain in place and how they might influence members in terms of being fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated member sentiment will also be important and may cause us to eventually move down that path. 

In terms of other facilities such as the clubhouse, this will be determined by the health orders, which restricts access to fully vaccinated persons only.

– Peter Summers, general manager