Is This The Reason Why Golf Is Currently Banned?

SAGE data indicates that Covid transmission is likely to be extremely low whilst playing golf, so why are courses shut?

Is This The Reason Why Golf Is Currently Banned
(Image credit: Getty Images)

SAGE data indicates that Covid transmission is likely to be extremely low whilst playing golf, so why are courses shut?

Is This The Reason Why Golf Is Currently Banned?

Golf courses in England have been closed since 5th January and it seems that they will remain closed for a good few weeks at least.

That's despite a petition surpassing 100,000 signatures, which the government responded to and gave no hope for golf to resume.

So, why is golf still closed?

A new All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf Covid web page (opens in new tab) has been made live and there are a couple of interesting quotes that we have missed this month, especially from Health Minister Helen Whately MP.

Whately essentially said that golf courses can't re-open as then more sports would have to open too.

This is after data from SAGE, the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies, "indicates that any level of community transmission attributed to playing golf is likely to be extremely low and significantly lower than other environments such as shops, bars and beaches," the APPGG said.

"I say to hon. Members who have raised this issue that if we made an exemption for golf, we would also have to make an exemption for other outdoor activities, such as tennis, outdoor bowling, climbing walls, riding centres, dry ski slopes and go-karting—I could go on," Helen Whately said during a debate on Public Health earlier this month.

"People would then say, 'I’m being told to stay at home but I can go and do all those things, so you don’t really mean that I should stay at home.'

"Quite apart from the fact that people congregate in those outdoor settings, we need to be really clear that the message now is, “Stay at home.”

Golfers who are struggling with their mental and physical health right now and missing the game can rightly feel aggrieved as there really is no data to suggest that the game contributes to rising Covid-19 cases.

It seems that the key reason golf is closed is to ensure that other outdoor activities don't open with it.

The APPGG encourages golfers to write to your local Member of Parliament with your view and ask them to raise the subject of re-opening golf courses with Ministers.

The group says it, along with the wider golf industry, is in "constant contact with Ministers and Officials to ensure they are aware of the impact golf’s closure has across all issues including: mental and physical wellbeing; jobs; local economies, and that golf has demonstrated it can be played safely in line with Covid precautions."

Related: Closing courses "an opportunity missed" - England Golf CEO

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x