New Development – 12 May
In the latest development from Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews on Monday 11 May, the state has given golf courses and clubs the go-ahead to open for play. The announcement comes as a welcome relief to many Victorians who saw neighbouring states resume golf play weeks before. The same announcement has been made in The Northern Territory. As of Wednesday 13 May 2020, all Australian states and territories have allowed golf to be played subject to strict social distancing rules. Many facilities will restrict what they open and when, but the key aspect is getting golfers on the fairways to resume play through the coming weeks.
Australia’s lock-down due to COVID-19 has created havoc for golf course maintenance, golf club memberships and golf club revenue. The monumental upkeep of golf courses around Australia that is required to ensure course surfaces are protected from the coming winter needs constant tender, loving care. The biggest problem for everyday golfers, weekend golfers and club members is why some states have allowed their golf clubs to decide on opening or closing, or prohibiting any golf club from opening whatsoever. See Voyages.golf’s statement on COVID-19.
The biggest problem for everyday golfers, weekend golfers and club members is why some states have allowed their golf clubs to decide on opening or closing, or prohibiting any golf club from opening whatsoever.
Latest update from each state
Read more about the latest advice from the Australian State Governments and golf course restrictions here. Current advice on golf club closures:
– VIC: All golf clubs must close until further notice
– NSW: Club’s discretion to open or close. Social distancing required.
– QLD: Club’s discretion to open or close. Maximum of 2 players per hole
– WA: Club’s discretion to open or close. Maximum of 2 players per hole
– TAS: Club’s discretion to open or close. Maximum of 2 players per hole
– SA: Club’s discretion to open or close. Police enforcing 10+ congregations
– NT: All golf clubs to close until 20 April 2020, pending review at the time
For most golf clubs, any amount of traffic helps pay groundskeepers for essential work during periods of economic downturn and winter. The Victorian and Northern Territory’s government decisions are much harsher than all other states and territories.
Many are questioning the logic behind allowing state governments the discretion to impose different rules on social distancing at golf courses, while the Federal Government is offering financial assistance Australia-wide. For most of us, especially in Victoria, the decision of the State Government to close all golf courses until further notice creates various issues:
– How can golf courses continue to pay their groundskeepers if they are forced to close, while neighbouring states allow social play?
– If golf courses are closed, who has the discretion of deciding golf club membership fees?
– If social distancing is expected to be enforced for the next foreseeable future, how will already struggling golf clubs stay afloat, regardless of the minimum JobSeeker payments for staff?
The discrepancies in Australia’s State Government policy regarding golf courses has driven many to question the logic behind the decisions. Read more from the Chief Health Officer regarding emergency pandemic powers here.