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

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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 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