28 June 2021 – Further to the Regulations of the Disaster Management Act in respect of the Adjusted Alert Level 4, as gazetted on Sunday, 27 June 2021, we would like to address the contents thereof as it pertains to golf and to reiterate our confidence in the GolfRSA Risk Mitigation Guidelines in place for golfers and golf clubs.
Since no changes were made in the Adjusted Alert Level 4 Regulations as it pertains to Sport activities, including both professional and non-professional matches, golf can continue to be played.
However, we are cognisant of rising threat of the ‘Third Wave’ of the virus and we have subsequently reviewed our GolfRSA Risk Mitigation Guidelines (RMG), and Good Golf Practice Guidelines and directives, which were developed to create a safe environment for the sport to be played and to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The RMG in place has not changed materially since it was first published in June 2020 and the emphasis on physical distancing, mask wearing and sanitization contained in the RMG remains. These are the most effective means to minimise the spread of the virus, as emphasized by the President in his address on Sunday night.
We have complete confidence that, should we all strictly adhere to these guidelines, we can ensure that golf facilities remain open as safe spaces to exercise, with no risk of becoming super-spreader venues.
We strongly urge all golf facilities to continue to enforce strict compliance with all GolfRSA Risk Mitigation Guidelines, and Good Golf Practice Guidelines and directives. We also urge all golfers to respect and adhere to these necessary and critical directives to ensure a safe environment.
We are aware that every club is unique. Bearing in mind the high transmission factor and infection rate of the Delta variant currently most prevalent in South Africa, we advise that every club reviews its own Risk Mitigation Plan.
Emphasis should be placed on preventing airborne transmission at arrival, departure, practice facilities, teeing areas, on the course and during departure, and touch transmission around equipment, scorecards, pin flags, hole and hole liners, bunker rakes etc. Due to the risk of touch transmission, Nearest to the Pin, Longest Drive, Straightest Drive and similar competition boards/holders may not be used.
In enforcing club specific Risk Mitigation Strategies, attention needs to be paid to the following directives:
– Capacity to register golfers
– Capacity of the practice greens and warm-up facilities
– Capacity to manage the different formats of the game such as shot gun starts:
• Ability to manage physical distancing
• Dispatching golfers to starting tees and dispersing players at the end of the round to limit physical contact
– Management of “grab and go / takeaways” service
– Strict adherence to arrival and departure requirements
– No changeroom facilities, except ablution facilities
– Strict adherence to tracking and tracing systems. Paper based systems should not be allowed since this is high risk for transmission
– GolfRSA Good Golf Practice guidelines to be followed
– Caddie guidelines – avoid touching golfers’ equipment, etc.
– No waterpoints, benches etc.
– Prize giving is suspended in accordance with the amended Level 4 regulations
– Clubhouses should only be used in terms of the applicable current Government Regulations (i.e. closed for conferences, but open for deliveries, collection of food and soft drinks, Pro-Shop access, etc – chairs on table concept).
Please note that the GolfRSA Risk Mitigation Guidelines and Good Golf Practice Guidelines and directives relates to the playing of golf. The club’s pro shop (retail side) and the Clubhouse facilities are regulated by different Regulations to those relating to sport.
Download the GolfRSA Good Golf Practice Guidelines on the link below:
All other relevant documentation is available for download under the COVID-19 HUB / Resources / Toolkit on the GolfRSA website.
The latest wave of COVID-19 has put enormous strain on the country, but if we all act responsibly, I am confident that we can beat it. I look forward to seeing the golf industry back to normal as soon as possible. In the meantime, please stay safe.
Chief Executive Officer