UPDATED: 25 Things You Can And Can't Do When Playing Golf After Lockdown

With golf courses in England reopening, we look at things you can and can't do on the golf course at the moment.

Things You Can And Can't Do When Playing Golf After Lockdown
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With golf courses in England reopening, we look at things you can and can't do on the golf course at the moment.

Things You Can And Can't Do When Playing Golf After Lockdown

This has been updated following the news that golf in England can be played in three and fourballs from 1 June.

The government announced this week several Coronavirus lockdown modifications, which resulted in the R&A giving the go-ahead for golf to reopen in England on Wednesday.

“Golf can resume in England on Wednesday following the latest update by the UK Government,” the R&A said in a joint statement with golf’s stakeholders and home unions.

So what will golf look like when people return to golf courses and what are the things you can and can't do whilst playing?

*Please note that many clubs may have differing local rules and restrictions in place so make sure you familiarise yourself with those before playing anywhere.

It is also worth familiarising yourself with information from the government on the Coronavirus - click here for more information.

Things You Can Do

  • You can play golf by yourself, with people in your household or three other person from outside of your household. You must practise social distancing whilst doing so. (You can now play as a fourball. Talk to your club about any local regulations/check your national guidelines.)
  • You must pre-book your tee times. It is also advised that you arrive shortly before your time and then leave as soon as the round is completed.
  • You can change shoes in the car park and are actively encouraged to do so because locker rooms and many clubhouses will be shut.
  • You can play social golf
  • Clubs can now choose to run competitions provided social distancing and safety regulations can be strictly observed at all times (Check your national guidelines).
  • You can use practice putting and chipping greens, although each club will have its own rules  - ie. only one or two people at a time or priority for the next tee time.
  • At many clubs you can use buggies but they are for single occupancy only. Buggies in use will be sanitised before and after use.
  • You also should be able to hire a trolley if your club has a sanitising process.
  • You can have lessons with your pro if social distancing is obeyed.
  • You can deem the ball holed if any part of it is below the putting surface and any putt within 12 inches (a putter grip), can be deemed a gimme.
  • Rakes are out of use so smoothing over sand with your feet and club is advised.

Things You Can't Do

  • You cannot play golf if you have any Covid-19 symptoms.
  • If you are playing with someone from outside of your household, you cannot shake hands or greet them in any way that involves touching.
  • You cannot touch the flagstick.
  • You cannot swap scorecards.
  • You cannot use ball washers.
  • You cannot use benches or seats dotted around the golf course.
  • In most cases you cannot go into the locker room, clubhouse or pro shop. Different clubs have different restrictions here so this is worth checking with the club first.
  • Many clubs have said you cannot play official club competitions or matches but this is worth checking with your club.
  • In most cases you cannot use the driving range or practice nets. Once again this is worth checking with the club first.
  • You cannot congregate with other golfers.
  • You cannot approach greenkeepers, social distancing must apply at all times.
  • You must not touch or pick up any stray golf balls
  • You cannot advance to the next tee until the group in front has exited the teeing ground.
  • If a ball is lost, you cannot go back to the tee or to the spot you last hit the shot. You should take a drop from where the original ball was lost.

Once again it is advisable to check with your club and local golf course what restrictions and rules it has in place before playing so that you are best prepared.

Remember, the rules are there for a reason and enjoy your golf!

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Sam Tremlett
E-commerce Editor

A golfer for most of his life, Sam is a Senior Staff Writer for Golf Monthly. 

Working with golf gear and equipment over the last six years, Sam has quickly built outstanding knowledge and expertise on golf products ranging from drivers, to balls, to shoes. 

He combines this knowledge with a passion for helping golfers get the best gear for them, and as such Sam manages a team of writers that look to deliver the most accurate and informative reviews and buying advice. This is so the reader can find exactly what they are looking for.


Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website, whilst he is also responsible for all content related to golf apparel. 

He also oversees all Tour player content as well so if you need to know what clubs Tiger or Rory has in play, Sam is the person to ask. 

Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five. 


Sam's What's In The Bag: 

Driver: Titleist TS3 (9 degrees) 

Fairway Wood: Callaway Paradym (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees) 

Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚ 

Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 

Ball: Srixon Z-Star Diamond

Shoes: G/FORE Gallivanter/Nike Air Zoom Infinity NEXT%/Cuater The Ringer