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Golfers advised to play on as COVID-19 warnings widen

Mar 18, 2020

With all the recent developments concerning Coronavirus (COVID-19), ausgolf thought it prudent to share the latest advice from golf’s governing body Golf Australia, concerning the outbreak and advice for golfers and golf operators in the current climate. It appears, for the time being at least, the pursuit of chasing the little white pill around the wide open spaces of the golf course may be about the best activity one could hope for at the moment.


ADVICE FOR GOLF OPERATIONS
Recently Golf Australia provided assistance and guidance to golf clubs and facilities on a range of important topics.

MEMBER GUEST AND STAFF TRAVEL ADVICE
If club members, guests or staff have recently returned from overseas, they are now required by law to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return, as of midnight on Sunday 15 March. During this period, they should not visit your facility for any reason.
If, in the 14 days prior to Sunday 15 March, your members, guests or staff have recently returned from or transited through China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mongolia or South Korea, we recommend that they do not visit your facility until the 14-day period has elapsed.
We further recommend that if, in the 14 days prior to Sunday 15 March, members, guests or staff recently returned from or who have transited through Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand or from a cruise holiday and who are experiencing flu-like symptoms, do not visit your facility, including use of the golf course, for 14 days.
 For simple, easy to understand advice for your facility including important health tips, you can also refer to the World Health Organisation
 
MEMBER, GUEST AND STAFF HEALTH ADVICE
Golf clubs and facilities are often heavily trafficked and there may be a chance that a member, guest or member of your staff will be exposed to, or test positive to, COVID-19.
It is vitally important that if a member, guest or staff member tests positive to COVID-19, they must inform the club/facility as soon as possible. If this has occurred, anyone testing positive will be contacted by the State/Territory Department of Health in relation to contact tracing. You should then take advice on ongoing facility operations from your State/Territory Department of Health.

Playing Golf
It should be noted that the vast majority of golfers can and should continue to visit your clubs or facility as per normal. Of course, golfers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments.

Clubhouse and Golf Operations
Clubs should consider reviewing their clubhouse and golf operations ensuring procedures are in place that minimise close person-to-person contact where possible. It is up to club and facility management to consider whether policies on clubhouse opening hours, course opening hours and visitor access require review at this time.
It is important for club boards and management to review contingencies to plan stages ahead for club operations should public information change.
Practices within clubhouses should display a heightened regard for the sanitation of surfaces, of which your cleaning chemical provider will be able to provide guidance on.
Staff and volunteers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments.

Course Maintenance Operations
Clubs and facilities should consider reviewing their course maintenance operations ensuring procedures are in place that minimise close person-to-person contact. Practices within the course maintenance team should display a heightened regard for the sanitation of surfaces, including machinery controls.

GOLF CLUB EVENT ADVICE
Earlier this week Golf Australia and the PGA of Australia made a series of announcements relating to events. Golf Australia has taken the decision to cancel all GA-run events through 16 May 2020. These include:
Australian Girls’ Amateur Championship
Australian Boys’ Amateur Championship
Australian Girls’ Interstate Teams Matches
Australian Boys’ Interstate Teams Matches
Women and Men’s Interstate Teams Matches

From the PGA, events such as the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series, Ladbrokes Legends Tour, Volkswagen Scramble Regional Finals and PGA Trainee and Open matches played from Friday 20 March until Friday 1 May are set to be rescheduled later in the year. It follows the postponement of the Morobe Open and Papua New Guinea Open, which form part of the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series and ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia respectively.

ONGOING UPDATES AND INFORMATION
On 18 March 2020, the updated advice received from the Australian Government was:
The implementation of restrictions on gatherings of more than 100 people for indoor events, and 500 for outdoor events.
The travel ban for Australians is being upgraded to level four – do not travel – for the entire world.
Advice that schools should remain open.
Visits to aged care facilities are being restricted.
As previously noted, the virus and potential implications are changing constantly and we will continue to monitor accordingly and provide updates to clubs and facilities as regularly as required, or alternatively when additional Federal Government updates are announced.


For further information from the Federal Government on COVID-19, the Coronavirus Health Information Line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 020 080.