Sat, 04 Jul 2020

SA golf community wants courses re-opened under Level 3 lockdown regulationsOnly professional sport has been given the green light to return in Level 3GolfRSA expresses disappointment after department of sport briefing

GolfRSA - the unified body of the South African Golf Association (SAGA) and Womens Golf South Africa (WGSA) - has expressed its disappointment following Saturday's address from sports minister Nathi Mthethwa.

It has been confirmed that all professional non-contact sports will be allowed to resume in Level 3 of the lockdown, which starts on Monday, but what it means for the amateur sporting sector is still not clear.

In a statement on Saturday, GolfRSA highlighted its concerns around what a continued suspension on all social golf would mean for the industry.

Full GolfRSA statement:

"Following the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture's briefing this morning, GolfRSA on behalf of all South African golf bodies, would like to go on record in expressing our disappointment around the continued uncertainty in terms of where the return of golf stands at Alert Level 3.

There are sufficient examples globally that have proven that golf can return safely and in so doing, reignite the industry.

We have been clear with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, through our detailed proposals and supporting documents, that a prerequisite for any professional golf to be practiced or played is for golf facilities to be open to all.

Golf clubs in the main worldwide derive their revenue from amateur golfers playing golf and this is essential for golf courses to survive. There are approximately 40 000 people employed by golf clubs across South Africa, and 85% of these employees fall in the most vulnerable economic sector.

Our overriding priority is to save jobs without adding any risk.

All South African golf bodies are united in their belief that we are well-prepared for a safe return of golf. We have the necessary protocols in place, including a comprehensive Risk Mitigation Strategy, Best Practice Guidelines and the advanced version of Healthdocs - an all-inclusive screening and monitoring application - available at all golf clubs.

Golf is played in wide open spaces and lends itself naturally to social distancing. The sport is globally recognised as healthy exercise for persons of all ages and is also an excellent stress-reliever.

We are acutely aware of government's priority to safeguard lives, restrict the spread of the coronavirus and to save jobs in order to revive the economy. It is our strong belief that without the return of golf and opening up of golf facilities, the industry will collapse.

We will urgently pursue all avenues to engage with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, including the Sports Steering Committee and Appeals Committee as referenced by the Minister of Department of Sports, Arts and Culture."

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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