Two Dublin golf clubs insist they will remain open to members, despite a recommendation from both the Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union that all courses in the country should temporarily close due to ongoing public health concerns.
Up to this point nearly all courses in Ireland had remained open despite concerns around the coronavirus, but earlier this week the bodies overseeing the sport would recommend that all should now be closed.
However, some will not be following that order. Roganstown Country Club and Swords Golf Course in Dublin, both of whom fall under the same management, will still allow members to play despite the message that it may be unsafe to do so.
Speaking to the Irish Times, the managing director at Roganstown, Ian McGuinness said that people still need to exercise and that they will be following Government directives:
He [Leo Varadkar] specifically said things like ‘groups of four’, ‘outside exercise’, ‘[can] leave the house if you are going out for physical exercise’, ‘we have to preserve our humanity’, which means taking exercise and looking after your physical and mental wellbeing; that as long as you keep the groups to four [or less] and keep safe distances . . .
He left the parks open and, to be honest, there will be less people on the golf course than there will be in the park.
They have released a statement, which amongst others things said that the courses have taken some measures to prevent the spread of the virus, such as removing balls washers and pins from the greens. They also claim the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low because golf is 'played in an outdoor setting' and that the report from GUI this week was 'only a recommendation'.
However, this seems to do little in the effort of getting people to stay in their homes, the main strategy that has been adopted throughout the world in battling the coronavirus.
McGuinness believes that if people are responsible there should be no problem in continuing to play the sport:
If people are being responsible, it is the place to be . . . as far as I’m concerned. The positivity of the members [on keeping the courses open] has been brilliant. If the Government comes around and says ‘close’, I will close no problem.