Bundaberg's Miriam Newman can now play golf again at the course.
Bundaberg's Miriam Newman can now play golf again at the course.

Golf is back on for now

GOLF: The Bundaberg Golf Club admits a prolonged period of time being closed would have had detrimental impacts on the club.

Golf clubs around Queensland received good news on Tuesday night with the State Government and Queensland Health allowing them to reopen after being closed earlier in the day.

“Golf Australia has tonight (Tuesday) received verbal confirmation from Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young that she has approved that Queensland Golf Clubs can operate on their golf courses from tomorrow (25/3/2020) in accordance with national cabinets approved measures relating to outdoor gatherings which includes but is not limited to having groups less than 10 people and maintaining a 1.5m spacing,” a statement from Golf Queensland said.

Bundaberg Golf Club, along with Innes Park Golf Club, Bargara Golf Club, Coral Cove Golf Club and Isis Golf Club all opened yesterday, allowing members to play on their course with the clubrooms remaining closed and no alcohol to be served.

That was the sticking point, with all alcohol venues closing on Monday and golf courses attached to the liquor licence it didn’t allow clubs to stay open.

Now, that has been loosened to allow clubs to play.

“When we brought it to Queensland Health it was a low priority to get them opened,” Bundaberg Golf Club president Geoff Loveday said.

“So I was surprised to see late last night (Tuesday) messages to see we were open again.”

The clubs will play under tough restrictions.

Social distancing is a must, with one play card to be used by each player, unless they are related.

Rakes at bunkers are gone and flags on each green cannot be touched.

Instead, holes have been widened to allow the ball to fall in with players also getting a gimme shot when the ball is within six inches of the hole.

The hole will be completed once that has happened and all players will add one to their score.

For Loveday the restrictions are a small price to pay to play.

It could save the club.

“It would have been terrible without income. We’ve got to keep the course running,” Loveday said.

“It requires a certain amount of work to rebuild the course if we let go of greenkeepers and staff, so we needed to keep them, which would have been at a cost with no income.”

Professional golfer Mick Murnane is also running his clinics again, after the course opened.

Bargara Golf Club said their situation wasn’t as dire but it would have taken a hit.

The club has added further restrictions including the removal of all flags and the centring of all holes on the green so golfers know where they are. All junior events, coaching and matches, have been suspended for the time being as well for both clubs.

“Our last 18 months we have been consolidating and doing extremely well with our manager,” Bargara Golf Club president Janine Smith said.

“The club is going extremely well.

“So if this takes six months to solve or we close for that time, we will survive.”

But it hasn’t stopped the club from minimising its staff and reducing numbers significantly. She urged all members to keep supporting all clubs around the region, while golf is allowed to be played.

“We hope that our members support us now,” Smith said.

“This is an important time for all clubs and everyone to do with golf.”

At this stage it is unknown if golf will remain open with further restrictions set to be handed down by the Federal Government in the coming days.

The club said it was wait and see but for now they were open for business.

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