Cornwall Golf Union Update (22nd May 2020)
Key messages from England Golf on the Return of Golf
As a County the Cornwall Golf Union has been party to a number of online briefings held recently by England Golf. This document summarises the key points referred to in these.
The Government has clearly put the onus on individuals, clubs and organisations and accordingly the message remains stick to the guidelines and DO NOT step outside them. Golfers have taken on the guidance and the changes imposed on them in the current climate. One unnamed club had permitted 3 and 4 balls (from multiple households) but were quickly brought back into line after County and England Golf intervention.
Some Pro Shops were said to be trading as normal. We were reminded Pro- Shop retail is deemed non-essential and they should remain closed with the exception of their use as a registration point for players and click and collect services. If clubs are non-compliant England Golf are happy to intervene and address the issue. Certainly, a PGA Professional whose shop was open and who was engaged in retail trading would be reported to the PGA.
These remain early days but there is optimism the country may move to another phase at the start of June when 3 & 4 balls may again be permitted but in the interim period the message remains the same – stick to the rules.
It is the recommendation clubs do not stage competitive golf but there is nothing to prevent this providing the necessary social distancing measures are in place. England Golf’s view is we are in early stages and should be taking ‘baby steps’. Their stance has been to try and find the balance offering guidance and recommendations as opposed to edicts. However, it will be the club’s decision as to whether competitions take place. To avoid the issue of needing to return score cards to the usual “box” we would strongly recommend sending the club a copy of the card, which only requires one signature. Alternatively, a number of software providers offer a mobile score input potentially solving a number of problems. If you have questions surrounding this subject please do contact the County Secretary.
England Golf have received confirmation their funding from Sport England will be extended for a further 12 months. The Sport England Emergency fund is temporarily paused to new applications. The fund stands at £35m as another £15m has been added. Of 11K applications some 8K have been assessed and 7K approved. 213 of these applications were from golf clubs who in total have to date been awarded some £468K. At least one club in Cornwall has received this funding and another has had an application turned down, although the reason for this is not known. Most of the awards have been made to private members clubs.
The R&A has announced a £7m package to support golf in dealing with the impact of Covid-19. This was announced the previous day and EG have been invited to submit a plan on how their ‘considerable’ allocation is to be spent. £4m is to be awarded to the home nations and England Golf are one such. England Golf are debating the plan at present and more details will be released when this is formulated but spend of the award will only be to affiliated facilities who are in financial difficulty, have appropriate safeguarding facilities in place and have demonstrated a commitment to Women in Golf. The next England Golf online meeting will be on 3rd June and it is anticipated the plan will go live the following day.
England Golf will provide and promote a Membership Programme nationally. To date there is evidence the resumption of golfing activity has brought about a swell of new membership applications to clubs and it is felt this is the right time to promote the benefits of club membership. Self-help packages will be available through the Club Support Officers and England Golf seek county support for the initiative.
The Treasury have indicated there will be no movement on the Rateable Value issue and the £51K threshold remains in place. England Golf have lobbied hard on this front and progress through county council discretionary fund options are still being pursued.
England Golf is undertaking essential spend only but have altered their financial projections for the year based on the resumption of golf coming earlier than anticipated. At present they anticipate a £0.5m deficit.
The England Golf Board is meeting more regularly to take account of the ongoing situation.
England Golf Championships & Performance Depts wish to be a light at the end of the tunnel and planning for events later in 2020 continue whilst ensuring the safest of decisions are made. For the England Golf County Finals 28 Men’s, 26 Ladies and 25 Seniors County Teams have indicated an intention to participate in the proposed September/October events. However, restaurant and hotel opening will be a fundamental requirement for these to proceed.
Two software providers have still not signed up to the England Golf World Handicap Programme. They happen to be the two biggest providers of handicap software in the country. Talks are ongoing and there is optimism they will sign up. England Golf state they have a backup plan to avoid the disruption which would be caused by the two not engaging. The 2nd November WHS start date remains in place and England Golf wish to start testing with the independent software vendors in early August.
England Golf will continue to provide the online ‘briefings’ to counties and voting members as long as they remain pertinent.
CGU’s position on competitions for the remainder of 2020
As we have made clear from the outset of the Covid-19 crisis, our wish is to play events as soon as we can. One of the roles the CGU has is to run a number of key competitions every year. The most significant one, of course, is the County Championship and if the rules allow, we look to run this in September. At this stage we need to reserve comment on date, venue and format, but rest assured this is a priority. The CGU Championship Committee is under instruction to run any event with four week’s notice. We will do whatever we can, but please be patient, golf has a long way to go until we are in any way back to normal.
CGU Survey Results
Just after resumption of golf we asked clubs for a response on what they were doing in terms of course opening and play. We thought you might be interested to know some of the headline figures.
Of the responses received (29 of our 31 affiliated clubs) 69% of clubs opened on the first day golf was permitted. The remainder opened over the following 5 days. 86% of the clubs opened all of their holes to players on their first day of resumption. 41% of the clubs were open to visitors from the outset and of our 11 private members clubs all of them opened only to their members. Four 18-hole facilities opened allowing members to at that stage play 9 holes only. All have now permitted 18-hole play. Coaching is currently available in just under half of the clubs.
We are very aware that little notice was given to clubs (in fact all of us) about resuming the playing of golf. This meant additional work for club staff effectively at the last minute and on top of large workloads already being experienced as a consequence of lockdown. We are pleased to say we have heard nothing but good reports on the efforts that have been made by you all. Keep up the good work, stick to the guidelines and if there is anything we can help with please do just ask.
Andrew Clotworthy Chris Pountney
County President County Secretary