• Rogue courses, facilities put golf industry at risk

    GolfRSA CEO Grant Hepburn
    GolfRSA CEO Grant Hepburn

    GolfRSA has revealed an official reprimand from the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture following a weekend during which at least two courses disregarded current regulations.

    In updating the South African golf industry on Monday, GolfRSA restated that the rogue actions of these estates and facilities have potentially put the reopening of the entire golf industry at risk.

    GolfRSA received an official reprimand from the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture following certain golf estates and facilities opening up for golf last week and this past weekend.

    While the wait for the published regulations continues, the reprimand did start by including praise for the GolfRSA-led efforts. The department placed on record its ‘appreciation for various engagements with GolfRSA as we chart the way forward for a return to play for the sports sector’.

    The reprimand, though, was serious and the letter, signed by director-general Vusumusi Mkhize, read inter alia: ‘The opening of these facilities is in direct contravention of Regulations 37 (1) (e) read with 39 (2) (b) of government’s Alert Level 3 Regulations.

    ‘Hence, the contravention of the above Regulations, in terms of Regulation 48 constitutes an offence, which may amount to a fine or imprisonment.’

    GolfRSA CEO Grant Hepburn wrote in his update: ‘The fruitful discussions between the delegation for golf and DSAC have been amicable and progressive.

    ‘We have established a high level of mutual trust and the Minister, Director General and the team at the Department has been open and proactive in terms of working towards solutions for the safe return of golf and other non-contact sports.

    ‘In a statement on Friday 5th June, GolfRSA communicated that we were days away from an announcement regarding the decision relating to the return of golf. GolfRSA also warned that actions of golfers and clubs demonstrating defiance of the regulations could negatively impact this announcement. 

    ‘The behaviour of a small minority of golf clubs and golfers over the past few days is a direct threat to the reopening of the golf industry, undoing the good work done by the delegation of golf over this period.

    ‘In the official letter, the Department acknowledged that it “fully understands the impact that the pandemic is having on golf and the sporting sector as a whole”. The letter requests GolfRSA to notify golfers and clubs to “desist from resuming golf activities until such time as the directions are gazetted and the details therein are complied with”.

    ‘GolfRSA does not condone the opening of any golf facilities before the department gazettes the official regulations and we sincerely hope these actions have not put the reopening of the golf industry at risk.

    ‘We have yet to make an official statement in terms of an actual date for golf’s return and we request that golfers treat any communication from outside agencies with caution, as there are many misleading communications from clubs, as well as posts doing the rounds on social media.

    ‘GolfRSA and the SA golfing bodies urgently appeal to all golf facilities in South Africa not to jeopardise golf’s positive position. Please comply with the current Alert Level 3 Regulations and exercise good conduct as we cross the final hurdle.’

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