Courses close as Borders golf clubs show responsibility

Borders golf clubs have broadly fallen in line with advice to close courses around the country, as measures to combat coronavirus are stepped up.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 4:25 pm
A number of local Borders golf courses are shutting until further notice.

There had probably been hope around south-east Scotland that play across the area might continue, at least for a while, with the game being played outdoors.

And, while clubhouses closed at the end of last week, in line with Government instructions on bars and restaurants, a number of courses remained open for play across the weekend.

However, following a Government update on Monday, which put huge restrictions on personal outdoor movement, decisions were taken by committees across the area to close courses.

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St Andrews-based Scottish Golf, the national governing body for the sport in Scotland, quickly issued guidance to clubs.

“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,” it said.

“With this in mind, Scottish Golf asks that all golfers in Scotland refrain from golfing until further notice.

“We understand 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 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 we get the opportunity to play the game we all love as soon as it is safe to do so.”

At Selkirk, there would be virtually complete closure until it was safe for people to start mingling again, indicated captain Jackson Cockburn.

There had been a certain amount of frustration and disappointment, with the annual dinner due this Friday and then the President’s Team v the New Captain’s Team match on Saturday, to herald a new season.

But, stressed Mr Cockburn, everyone realised people’s health and lives were more important than a game of golf.

The club had looked at ways of playing the team game in such a way that no one was mixing with anyone, but it proved complicated and was finally abandoned in favour of heeding the official advice.

“We will just think along the same lines as everybody else – screw the heads on and not do anything daft,” said Mr Cockburn.

He added some of the activities elsewhere, particularly in cities, “beggared belief”, with people congregating as if nothing had happened and displaying a lack of common sense, apparently not realising how serieous the health threat was.

“The season will start again but it will only start when the authorities say it is safe to do so,” added Mr Cockburn.

A spokesman for Minto, in Hawick, said: “Minto Golf Club has followed the guidance from Scottish Golf and closed the golf course until further notice.”

A recorded message at Torwoodlee, on the fringes of Galashiels, said the club would be closed for three weeks.

Galashiels Golf Club reported it had cancelled its Past Captains Texas Scramble, due to be played this Saturday, while it was hoped to reschedule the event later in the year. The Seniors Section had decided to cancel all competitions in April, while the remainder of the season would be monitored as per health restrictions.