AS Spain’s golf courses start reopening, players will have to stick to new protocols or risk disqualification.

A whole new set of rules has been drawn up by the Spanish Golf Federation to maintain social distancing.

And in time-honoured golfing fashion, breaking the regulations will be severely punished.

ON COURSE: Family members will be able to share a buggy.

Intentional infringement of the ‘coronavirus local rules’ will mean a two stroke penalty or loss of hole in matchplay for a first offence. Break the rules again and the player will be disqualified.

  • The main points are:
  • Social distance must be kept throughout the whole round.
  • Flagsticks must be left untouched in the hole.
  • Holes will have a backstop to stop the ball reaching the bottom.
  • Only the player can pick up the ball.
  • No equipment including clubs and pens can be shared.
  • No device such as ball markers, gloves and tees can be borrowed.
  • Rakes will not be allowed to be used in bunkers.
  • Scorecards, whether card or electronic must not be passed around and will be disinfected before and after the round.
  • All objects on the course, including benches, must not be touched.
  • In addition players are asked to wait in the car park and then head straight to the first tee five minutes before their booked time.
  • On completion of the round they should leave the course immediately.
  • Changing rooms and cafés and bars will remain closed.
  • Buggies and trolleys must be disinfected before and after each round.

The federation hopes these measures will help the golf industry in Spain recover quickly after the enforced lay-off. At the moment golf courses in parts of the country to have entered Phase 1 of the coronavirus lockdown exit.

President of Turismo Costa del Sol, Francisco Salado said: “The reactivation of the golf courses will be key to the economic recovery of the Costa del Sol, since it is a safe sport, where it is easy to maintain a safety distance of two metres between people, and also develops entirely individually.”

More than 1.4 million tourists flock to Spain to play golf every year, spending around €2.5 billion, Some 30,000 jobs are said to rely on the sport, both directly and indirectly.

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