Westwood, McDowell back petition to allow English golf courses to open

Oulton Hall Golf Course and House 2016

A petition to allow golf courses in England to open during the coronavirus lockdown has passed 100,000 signatures, meaning that parliament must consider it for debate.

Golf is one of the outdoor sports to be shut down in England, although it can continue in small groups in Scotland.

The petition entitled “Allow golf to be played with appropriate safety measures” has been backed by European number one Lee Westwood and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell.

“The Government should allow golf courses to remain open during the second lockdown, and any future restrictions,” it reads. “Shops and clubhouses can close, but courses should be allowed to remain open, with social distancing in place.

“The risk of Covid transmission is lower outdoors, so there is no reason for golf to be stopped. It provides important exercise for many people and has numerous mental health benefits. Don’t allow golf to be stopped.”

England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson said he regretted having failed to convince the Government of the physical and mental benefits of allowing the sport to continue under strict social-distancing rules.

On Tuesday Tomlinson told the PA news agency: “I apologise to all golfers out there that we haven’t been able to help the Government understand that golf could be part of a solution as opposed to the problem.

“I would very much class golf as part of walking, running and cycling; it’s in the open air, you naturally socially distance, you don’t touch anybody else’s equipment, you get a mental application, enjoyment and relaxation from it.

“And that’s before you even consider the strain that’s going to be on the open spaces and parks in an unregulated fashion.

“You would be taking circa 2 million people away from that, getting them on the golf courses, exercising in that way and again I think that could be a real positive.

“I hope to be able to convince the Government of that and at the very least to bring golf back sooner, rather than later.”