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By Colin Smeeton
Golf courses on Arran have been shutting down this week as they become the latest victim of tighter restrictions surrounding the coronavirus.
Scottish Golf, the governing body for amateur golf in Scotland, has asked that all golfers in Scotland refrain from golfing until further notice.
The organisation, which is based at the home of golf in St Andrews, has also recommended that all affiliated golf clubs with locker room and changing facilities on site now close these at the earliest possible time.
At the time of going to press the situation with golf clubs on Arran was as follows: Brodick closed until further notice. Lamlash course open but all facilities closed. Corrie closed and Fran’s Tea Room also closed. Shiskine course open but strict guidelines imposed for players, social distancing and equipment.
Meanwhile, Lochranza golf course is also closed. A statement posted said: ‘We’re sorry to inform you that, due to government and local direction, we will not be opening Lochranza Golf and Campsite. This is in order to protect Arran and the wider community from Covid-19.’
So is Whiting Bay. A spokesman said: ‘After considering the recent advice on the response to the outbreak of the coronavirus the committee has suspended all trophy competitions at least until the end of April. The Friday night quizzes and bingo nights have been suspended. These decisions will be kept under review taking into account the ongoing advice.
‘The golf course will remain open as it will be important for all to be able to access leisure facilities especially those out in the fresh air. The clubhouse, however will not be open to the general public until further notice.’
Machrie Machrie Bay golf course was open at the time of going to press with the following caveat: ‘The cups are raised, so if the ball hits it then it is deemed as holed out. Flags removed as are rakes. Enjoy getting out for a game but do respect your playing partners space, keep two metres away at all times, and no shaking of hands.’
In a statement issued by Scottish Golf earlier this week said: ‘Scottish Golf is taking the spread of coronavirus extremely seriously. Our number one priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our community of golfers, clubs, volunteers and staff, ensuring that everyone is able to enjoy our great sport in a safe environment.
‘While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message to all of us is clear, we must stay home and play our part in containing the spread of COVID-19.
‘With this in mind, Scottish Golf asks that all golfers in Scotland refrain from golfing until further notice.
‘We understand that this advice will have a significant impact on golf clubs across the country and we will continue to consult with industry partners to provide clubs with all information and support possible during this time of deep uncertainty.
‘We know that these decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the Government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we get the opportunity to play the game that we all love as soon as it is safe to do so.’
Scottish golf will continue to provide updates regarding golfing in Scotland on their website at https://scottishgolf.org/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/
Happier times. Scottish Golf has requested that golfers refrain from golfing until further notice. Photo Shiskine Golf Club. No_B13Arrangolf01