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GUI & ILGU Protocol Summary

Dear Member,

By now I’m sure you are aware that today the Northern Ireland Assembly will be making a statement on the reopening of golf courses. It is widely anticipated that this will be a positive announcement that will detail the exact date on which we can reopen.

Golf post lockdown will be a significantly different proposition from nine weeks ago. There will be many changes for both the club and the members to take on board.

The Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golfing Union have issued a detailed protocol for the re-introduction of Golf in Northern Ireland which both clubs and members will have to adhere to; this is available to view on the Golfnet.ie website homepage.

The first step the club has to take is to clear our BRS booking system from today onwards; all bookings already made for today onwards will be deleted. This is because our current timesheets are set up for four balls at ten minute intervals. Under the new protocol the maximum number of golfers in one time slot will be three and the timeslots themselves should be at least fourteen minutes - we will be using fifteen minute intervals when reopened. The revised sheets will offer starting times from 8.00am to 7.00pm, the later times will obviously be “light limited” in terms of holes playable. All members will all be notified at the same time when the new starting sheets go live ensuring equal opportunities to book. Staring sheets will be routinely released at two week intervals on Fridays.

The following guidelines must be followed, again by the club and the membership. It is worth reinforcing the message that only members can access the course at this stage and only casual non-competitive golf will be played:

General

·         No member exhibiting symptoms of COVID 19 (or residing with anyone exhibiting symptoms) should be on the premises.

·         Social distancing must be observed at all times; volunteers will be on the premises to ensure this is adhered to.

·         The Bar and Restaurant areas of the Clubhouse will remain closed.

·         Bring your own hydration/food to the course.

·         Hand sanitiser will be available at the clubhouse but members are advised to bring their own to use while playing.

·         Where possible, members of the same household should play together.

·         Members under the age of 18 must play with an adult member.

Prior to play

·         It is not our responsibility to monitor how members get to the club but we do encourage everyone to employ social distancing at all times.

·         All tee times must be booked in advance of arriving at the course; this can be done online or by phone through the Pro Shop. Under no circumstances should any member arrive at the club without having booked in advance. The Council strongly recommends that members download the BRS app for simplicity of access. Members may only book one slot per day.

·         No member will be allowed on the course without prior booking. This is essential as it allows us to have a record of who is on the course and in the event of a member showing symptoms of COVID 19 some days after playing we will be able to identify who they played with, in front of and behind and notify these individuals accordingly.

·         Members should also note that the Pro Shop will not be open for business, meaning that members will need to bring all their golfing requirements with them.

·         Do not arrive on the premises any earlier than fifteen minutes prior to your tee-time or on the 1st tee any earlier than five minutes before your tee-time.

·         Make sure you employ social distancing in the car park and at all times.

·         Clubs, shoes etc. can be collected from the locker rooms, which will only be open for a limited time. Access will be on a one-in one-out basis and once the equipment is out of the locker room it must remain so; take everything home and bring them with you when playing in the future.

·         The same will apply to the trolley room.

·         Caddies are not allowed.

·         All practice facilities will remain closed.

·         Buggies are allowed on the course, with only one occupant/driver for the complete round, two bags are allowed if members apply social distancing when removing clubs. Private owners must be responsible for sanitising after use. Club hire buggies can be booked and will also be sanitised after use.

On the Course

·         Continue to observe social distancing at all times.

·         Do not share equipment food or drinks with other players during the round.

·         Do not proceed to the next tee box until the previous group have left.

·         If a ball is lost, do not return to where shot was played from; drop another ball and retain your place on the course.

·         Do not lift other players’ equipment or golf balls.

·         There will be no rakes in the bunkers, use the “lift, smooth and play” option.

·         Do not touch the flag stick; cups will be foam filled to ensure the ball can be retrieved without reaching down into the hole - only remove your own ball.

After playing

·         Return to your car, change shoes, put all golfing equipment in the car and leave. Do not attempt to return to the locker or trolley rooms.

In conclusion, the Council would ask for all members to be patient and tolerant and to be aware of the fact that there will be some limitations on when they have the opportunity to play, largely due to the change in starting time slots. These restrictions will not last forever but will in the short term have to be adhered to. If we are found not to be adhering to all the guidelines within the protocol, the right to reopen can be revoked by the GUI/ILGU.

Essential maintenance has been ongoing on the course with a reduced staff (who have done a fantastic job); please remember this and subsequently temper all expectations with reality.

The Council want two things above all else - firstly, all members to work within the protocol to have the best possible experience in these difficult times and, most importantly, all members to stay safe and well while enjoying getting back onto the golf course.

All members are advised to visit the Golfnet.ie website and read the protocol in full.

Captain and Council