When will golf resume?
Donegal golfers are hoping that any easing of Covid-19 related restrictions could see them back out playing in the early summer.
As a non-contact sport - and also one that is outdoors - there is a feeling amongst many players that it should be one of the first sports to benefit when the lockdown measures are loosened.
“I would hope that we would be back by the start of June,” commented golf enthusiast Eamon Davis, who set up and administers the popular All Things Golf in Donegal facebook page.
He feels that courses could be reopened on a phased basis, with just two players initially, and they could go out at regular intervals while adhering to the social distancing criteria. Rangers could be deployed to ensure all requirements are met.
There are difficult times for the county’s 18 golf clubs, who continue to have bills to pay yet their income streams have dried up.
Perhaps the only upside is the fact that many greenkeepers have been able to carry out reseeding and maintenance work.
Golf in Donegal contributes considerably to the local economy, especially in the summer months when there are many visitors to the county who take in golf as part of their stay. Indeed,there has been an influx on foreign golfers on the back of the successful staging of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin in 2018. Bars, restaurants, and club shops all generate considerable income as well as providing employment opportunities.
Earlier this month the Irish Ladies Golfing Union and the Golfing Union of Ireland issued a survey to all clubs on the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis with a view to using the data to appeal to the government for State-funded support.
In a statement, the Unions said that “while we know this period of restriction will pass, we are also aware of the significant and lasting impact this will have on our sport.
“Golf clubs play a vital role in the life of our cities, towns and villages and we want our members to emerge from this prepared to face the challenges ahead. This has not been an easy time for our sport.
“In line with this, we are planning to outline the financial impact of the current crisis on our member clubs to government departments and agencies.
“The Unions will continue to make a compelling case for state-funded supports to help our clubs recover as soon as possible.”
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