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.
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.