Golf course rules during coronavirus: Tee off times, distance, players, flags

Golf courses have reopened across the country following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to begin easing the coronavirus lockdown measures, but there are new rules around the game and how to play safely. Golf courses have reopened their doors, and fairways, across England and Wales but things aren’t quite as they were before.

On Monday 12 May it was confirmed that golf courses would be allowed to reopen following the UK lockdown, but players would have to abide by a new set of rules to maintain social distancing and keep participants safe.

The R&A had set out guidelines for players prior to the measures being lifted, allowing clubs time to prepare to reopen.

A statement also called on players to continue to observe the new rules.

The R&A said: “As a sport we must work together to resume play responsibly as and when the relevant Government determines it is safe to do so.

“We must ensure that the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved from golfers, to club staff and greenkeepers is maintained at all times.

“Golf clubs and golfers have observed the lockdown very well and must keep it up and act responsibly as play resumes.”

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The new guidelines include how to play at a social distance, who you can play with and how to act on the course.

The government set out their new roadmap for tackling the virus and stated people could now take unlimited exercise outdoors, an upgrade for the once daily allowance, and that you could now also play outdoor sports with a person from another household.

Golf course rules

What are the new rules on tee off times?

Tee times can be booked at a minimum of 10-minute intervals, allowing traffic on the course to be manageable.

Tee times must be booked online in advance of arriving at the course, with each club having to outline to members and visitors how to book times.

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What are the new rules on distancing?

Players must continue to social distance while on the course, this means keeping two meters away from playing partners. End of round handshakes are also banned.

What are the rules on players?

Players can play solo, with people from their own household or with one person from another household. However you can only play with someone from another household in a two-ball, so playing in a three-ball or four-ball is not permitted unless you all live together.

Golf England stated the three ways you can play:

  • Individuals playing golf on their own.
  • Two-balls comprising of individuals from different households
  • At the discretion of the golf club, members of the same household playing in two, three or four-balls.

What are the rules on flags?

Flags are to be left in the hole at all times and not touched. This means putting with the flag in.

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