Has golf discovered the keys to lockdown?

Golf could be in line to become the first sport to return at grass-roots level in this country after the government was presented with a proposal of safe playing protocols for when lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

The R&A, the sport’s governing body along with the USGA, has outlined the list of new rules on behalf of all industry bodies within the British game, including all the home unions.

With social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus at the heart of the recommendations, the plans cover the main areas of course set-up, before, during and after the round and the specific rules of golf.

The ‘safe golf’ proposals suggest allowing a maximum of two players each tee-time, at 10-minute intervals, with a recommendation of social golf only, preferably ‘friendly’ matchplay.

Clubhouses and practice facilities are closed, apart from essential facilities like toilets, while trolleys and carts, ball washers, drinking fountains and seating areas are unavailable unless safe sanitising practices are guaranteed.

Once on the course, players must remain two metres apart and not use rakes to smooth bunkers, while flagsticks must not be touched, with hole-liners being used to help prevent the ball dropping below the surface of the green.