Golf Australia chairman Andrew Newbold couldn’t hide his relief to finally see golf back in Victoria but warned any reckless behaviour from those hitting the fairways could risk further bans in the state.
“We really appreciate the patience our clubs and players have shown in these trying times,” Newbold said Monday.
“It’s going to be exciting for all to get back on course or to your favourite facility, but we plead with all to follow distancing and hygiene guidelines in place. If they’re broken, we face a return to no golf and that’s clearly something we’d all like to avoid.”
Victorian golfers can head back to the course from Wednesday after Premier Daniel Andrews this morning announced the state will take the first steps to come out of its stage three Covid-19 lockdown from midnight tomorrow.
A range of outdoor sports and activities will now be permitted, including golf.
It’s understood that golfers will be permitted to play in groups of four, provided strict distancing and hygiene protocols are followed.
Golf Australia will relay further information today as it is made available, including a “return to sport” plan to assist club and facility operations.
Premier Andrews said maintaining “common sense and good judgement” was critical in the next few weeks as the state assesses the impact of the newly relaxed rules, which primarily relate to permitting up to five guests in each household.
“We need to be vigilant in following a new set of rules,” he said.
“There will be a gradual opening up of the economy and relaxation of these rules, but each step, particularly this first step, has got to be cautious, safe and appropriate to the circumstances we are dealing with.”
Andrews said the new rules would be revisited again at the end of May, but insisted that Victorians “stay at home” and “work from home” wherever possible.
“These are small (but) significant steps. You only get one chance to get this right … the last thing we want to do is follow the example so many other countries have given us. “If you relax too many rules too quickly, then we’ll find ourselves back here, and indeed worse, in a lockdown even harder than the one we’re coming out of.
“Then in June, following testing (and) experience, we’ll be guided by the data.
“This is far from over. It’s an opportunity for a first step that’s safe, cautious and appropriate.
“We’re not other states, we face our own unique challenges … and we need to be cautious.”