Coronavirus: Golf clubs imposing gate checks, as Covid-19 level three opening looms


Golf clubs have been warned to be on alert for players trying to get around the Government’s Covid-19 regulations, when play resumes on the nation’s courses on Tuesday.

Golf and tennis will be the first sports to emerge from Level four lockdown, with stir-crazy golfers set to tee off from early Tuesday morning.

How well golf operates at level three is a matter of 'trust'.


How well golf operates at level three is a matter of ‘trust’.

But no longer will it simply be a matter of turn up-tee off. Clubs will be like a grassy Fort Knox under level three, with some using a gate attendants to monitor who is arriving at their course. At Hutt Valley course Manor Park, players send a text upon arrival, and are then checked in.

Clubs must provide an on-line booking system that enables a track trace, gatekeepers will match arrivals with the booking sheet.

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Golf clubs have been warned that the Government interpretation of what their playing “bubble” is, will rule.

In a letter to clubs in the capital, Wellington Golf operations manager Steve Weir has warned players would try to applying their own interpretations to what their bubble is.

Dean Murphy, New Zealand Golf chief executive


Dean Murphy, New Zealand Golf chief executive

The Government definition “keep your bubble as small as possible. If you need to, you can expand your bubble a small amount to bring in close family, isolated people or caregivers”, applied to golf.

Players could not create a “golf bubble”, and clubs will have to monitor that. Minister of Sport Grant Robertson has said: “if you are looking for a loophole or to apply your own interpretation, then it’s not allowed”.

NZ Golf chief executive Dean Murphy said he had checked the booking processes of several clubs, as reopening day loomed.

“What I have seen from the booking sheets is they are following the guidelines, which is what we expected,” he told Stuff.

Greenkeeper Kiel Stechman rides the mower at Manawatu Golf Club.


Greenkeeper Kiel Stechman rides the mower at Manawatu Golf Club.

Wellington boss Weir said, as with the general lockdown trust would be central to how well precautions worked.

“Trust is everything, this (pandemic) is without precedence,” he said.

“The trust is clearly with the individuals, and the clubs.”

Clubs have been give a 20-point list, of additional tasks and regulation.

There will be no scorecards, no score entry system, no flags. It will be golf, but not as we know it.

Boulcott's Farm in Lower Hutt is gearing up to open on Tuesday.


Boulcott’s Farm in Lower Hutt is gearing up to open on Tuesday.

Clubrooms must remain closed, as will pro shops. Equipment hire is banned.

Boulcott’s Farm Heritage Golf Club in Lower Hutt will be all go for members from Tuesday, at 7.30am.

General manager Amy Sidford said “we’ve taken the stance to look after our members. They’ve shown us loyalty to stay as members (through the lockdown) and we want to look after them in the first instance.”


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