While golf’s big three governing bodies await a response from the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), they are moving ahead with bolstering their risk mitigation strategy.
GolfRSA, the PGA of SA and the Club Management Association of South Africa have now received a formal response from Minister of Sports, Arts & Culture Nathi Mthethwa, regarding the presentation made to government on behalf of golf.
The minister also stated that golf will immediately be informed of any outcome once a final decision has been made. In written communication, the minister acknowledged that golf ‘lends itself to social distancing’ and that we presented a case worth taking to the NCCC.
‘This is a positive step, and we urge clubs and golfers to remain patient as the decision on when to reopen golf facilities ultimately remains in the hands of the NCCC. We empathise with those who are frustrated and desperate to get back out on the fairways,’ read a joint statement by GolfRSA, the PGA of SA and CMASA.
‘We understand the urgency for our clubs to resume operations in order to save the jobs of their staff, as well as caddies and coaches attached to their facilities. We are receiving feedback daily on the dire situation that many of our clubs are in and would like to assure all clubs and golfers that your respective associations are working tirelessly for the safe return of golf.’
In the meantime, a collaborative steering committee, including several recognised industry experts from across the country, helped enhance and refine the risk mitigation strategy put forward.
‘This will ensure that when golf is given the go-ahead, our clubs will be well prepared to open up and operate in a safe environment. This process has carefully considered all clubs from various risk profiles, including estates, large and small clubs. The contribution of our experts has been invaluable and we would like to thank them for their efforts.’
Further to a RMS that can be adapted for various scenarios, the governing bodies have prepared a ‘Good Golf Practice Guideline’ which is aligned with international best practice.
The governing bodies have also undertaken to send out communication to clubs relating to ‘suggested preparation and measures that should be put in place in the meantime. This preparation will be based on practical steps that clubs will need to be prepared for, regardless of when and how the NCCC allows golf to return.
‘When we do get the go-ahead, it will be a carefully managed process with extreme effort being taken to contain the spread of the disease. We all love this game and appreciate the value it brings to our lives through exercise, mental wellness, recreation and, for so many, a livelihood. In the interim, please keep safe and we hope our patience and hard work will be rewarded soon.’