Thursday, May 21, 2020


Today, Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, unveiled details of a four-phase "Route Map" towards easing the country's lockdown restrictions.

In her statement, Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed that golf would be one of the first outdoor sports activities allowed to restart under Phase 1. The Scottish Government's Route Map states as follows:

"We are planning to allow unrestricted outdoors exercise adhering to distancing measures and non-contact outdoor activities in the local area - such as golf, hiking, canoeing, outdoor swimming, angling - consistent with wider rules and guidance applicable to any activity with this phase."

The First Minister stressed that, for now, the lockdown remains in place. She confirmed that Phase 1 will not start before the next formal review date for lifting restrictions, which is Thursday 28 May, and it will only go ahead if the current progress in suppressing the virus continues. She also cautioned that not all the measures detailed in Phase 1 will start immediately. This echoes her statement on Monday, when she advised that the aim was to allow clubs to reopen their courses "within a few days" of the review date.

There may be disappointment for those that need to travel some distance to their golf club. During the questions that followed her statement, the First Minister advised that any travel for outdoor leisure and exercise in Phase 1 should be limited to "around 5 miles". As many golfers in Scotland live a lot more than 5 miles from their golf club, some further easing may be required.

Scottish Golf has released a statement in response to the First Minister's announcement. It reads as follows:

"Following positive discussions with the Scottish Government, sportscotland and the governing bodies for tennis and bowls, Scottish Golf welcomes today’s news that our golfing community will benefit from the Scottish Government’s revised guidance for exercise."

"Guidance documents containing detail on preparing facilities for the return of golf will be issued to all affiliated clubs as soon as practically possible. This will take into account details from the road map published by the Scottish Government today."

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