Until a vaccine is found or all Covid-19 restrictions are dropped, golf will have to played under a new set of etiquette and regulations when clubs re-open in England tomorrow (May 13).
Although the fundamental Rules of Golf will not change, there will be a number of local rules introduced to ensure the safety of golfers and club staff and reduce the chances of spreading the virus.
Until further notice, golfers will only be able to play as singles or in two-balls with one other household member or one other person from outside your household. Three- and four-balls are also permitted at the discretion of each club, but only when comprising members of the same household.
Clubs will be encouraging social matchplay to speed up the pace of play. If competitive stroke play is played, players may enter their own scores on the scorecard, which can be verbally certified by their fellow player. As provided in the Rules of Golf, scorecards can be submitted electronically.
BOOKING TEE TIMES
Most venues, even those that did not previously have a tee time booking system, will insist on tee times being pre-booked and pre-paid. Those that don’t have an online payment system will have to take payment by contactless methods in the pro shop. Players will need to arrive 10-15 minutes before their tee time and leave as soon as rounds are completed. Tee time intervals may be longer than longer than normal.
Players not from the same household should maintain social distancing of at least 2 metres at all times.
No equipment should be shared between players, and each player should only handle their own ball.
Flags should be left in the hole at all times and not be touched at any point.
Cups will be raised so that the ball remains largely above ground for easy retrieval without having to touch the hole or the cup with a hand.
Rakes will be removed from all bunkers and players should smooth over their footprints with a club or their shoes. Some clubs may introduce a local rule to allow the ball to be replaced in a better lie should the ball finish in an old footprint, while others may designate bunkers ‘GUR’, with a free drop zone outside of the bunker.
Buggies, if required, should be used by one player, unless shared by two people from the same household.
Ball washers, drinking fountains, waste bins and benches should not be used.
All clubhouses are closed under current Covid-19 restrictions, with no access to changing rooms and catering/bar facilities. Toilets, where accessible, will be permitted to be open, with users following UK Government hand washing guidelines.