Naracoorte Golf Club continues with heightened restrictions

Competitions such as the 2014 Taste Ambrose Golf Day where Michael Parker competed at the Naracoorte course would never have happened under the current restrictions.
Competitions such as the 2014 Taste Ambrose Golf Day where Michael Parker competed at the Naracoorte course would never have happened under the current restrictions.

Many golf clubs across regional SA are the only remaining sporting options left standing as Covid-19 restrictions continue to tighten their grip around social group activities.

Golf Australia today confirmed that it had received advice from the Office of Recreation, Sport & Racing that golf can continue to be played while adhering to strict social distancing measures, for now.

This comes despite national sporting bodies including football, soccer, netball, tennis, basketball and softball suspended sport last week.

With social golfers able to separate over a large area, Golf Australia confirmed that South Australian clubs could operate on a member-only basis.

"Considering the recent announcements, Clubs that are permitted to operate should be doing all they can to protect the privilege of being able to play our sport during these challenging times," a statement said.

"Clubs should actively discourage the congregation of players and not draw any undue attention to their hospitality offerings."

Naracoorte Golf Club held their final competition day on Wednesday March 25 as they transitioned to limit their courses to members only.

Club president Melville Proud said their decision would be reassessed every day as they continued to balance health concerns of their members and the wider community.

"From the club's perspective we're interested in the safety aspect for our members and the general public," he said.

The club has turned away a group of more than 40 golfers, many of whom had travelled to the region to play, in the interests of safety.

"The group that booked were very understanding and are probably heading home to face the same thing at their clubs."

Golf Australia has recommended extra measures to limit player contact including larger gaps between groups, reducing or cancelling club competitions and removing 'shotgun' and 'two-tee' starts to reduce peak service loads across the course.

Another change that the Naracoorte Golf club initiated was leaving flags in the hole so that golfers did not have to touch the same flag pole, thus reducing the risk of transferring germs.

Naracoorte club president Melville Proud said that while they were able to ensure the safety of their 100 or so regular playing members, there could be both physical and mental benefits to the sport.

So, for now, golf will continue to offer respite from the strain that long periods of isolation can put on individuals.

However Mr Proud expected this to change in the near future as advice from Golf Australia and the government is updated daily.

The club has already been affected financially by the bar and bistro closures which began on Monday and removed a source of income for the club.

"It's going to have a dramatic affect on this club and any club's financial status in the next 6 months," Mr Proud said.

This story PLAY ON: Golf continues in regions with heightened restrictions first appeared on Naracoorte Herald.