Plans for the return of play - Queensland
Golf Australia has developed plans for the return of the sport on request of the various state government sport offices. The plans provide guidance for Clubs and Facilities as to how they can operate under models approved by the relevant state office.
Clubs may chose to adopt these plans if required to do so by an authority in their return to full operations following the COVID-19 crisis. If you require any assistance with the return to sport plan, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A copy of the following can be downloaded from QLD COVID-19 Safeplan Guidance.pdf.
Golf Australia in conjunction with Golf Queensland provides the following COVID-19 Safe Plan Guidance for all golf clubs and facilities in Queensland to utilise. Golf Australia understands that some clubs/facilities have created internal resource documents to assist this process and seeks to provide, through this document, further detail that can be utilised by clubs/facilities to finalise their return to play plans under the updated government guidelines.
This guidance addresses how golf clubs and facilities in Queensland can successfully manage operations under the loosening of Queensland government restrictions which will take effect from Saturday May 16.
To access the Queensland Government Roadmap to ease Queensland’s restrictions, click here. To access the map of ‘Outback Queensland’, COVID-19 Roadmap
To date Queensland Golf Clubs have done an amazing job in managing the strict restrictions in place due to COVID-19 which has allowed many golfers to have access the game they love through these extraordinary times. That being said, Golf Australia and our clubs/facilities must ensure that the Queensland Government Guidelines continue to be met to ensure that the risk of transmission continues to be minimised.
1.) Queensland Overview
2.) Golf Operations
3.) Facility management
4.) General considerations
As of Saturday 16 May 2020, as part of stage one (1) of the Queensland Government Roadmap to ease Queensland’s restrictions, clubs may commence dinning in their cafes, restaurants, and bistros. This will be limited to 10 people at any one time, while observing social distancing of 1.5m and at least 1 person per four square meters of space. There is to be no bar or gaming activities at this stage.
For those Clubs in Outback Queensland (please refer to previous map link), this is increased to 20 people. There is still to be no bar or gaming activities.
As of 12 June 2020, it is planned that under stage two restrictions this will increase to 20 people for the above activities (50 for Clubs in Outback Queensland).
As of 10 July 2020, it is planned that under stage three (3), registered and licensed clubs may re-open, with limits of 100 people. This will extend to bar and gaming activities.
Golf Australia will provide further operational guidance on any further changes closer to these dates.
COVID-19 Safe Plans
Clubs must have a COVID-19 Safe Plan in place. We understand that the Queensland Government has prepared a COVID-19 Safe Plan which will be available for distribution in due course. Clubs should use the guidance within this document as part of their COVID-19 Safe Plan.
COVID-19 Safe Checklist information
Key Points for golf clubs:
• You required to complete and display COVID Safe checklist before trading once Stage 1 Easing of Restrictions commence on 11.59pm on 15 May 2020.
• Draft COVID Safe checklists are provided below. Final checklists will be published by Wednesday 13 May 2020.
• These checklists tell you what you need to do if you are a business in the above two categories to be COVID Safe. The checklists include input resulting from consultation with key industry stakeholders.
• You must complete the Checklist to ensure you comply with essential health requirements to enable you to open and provide a safe environment for your customers and your staff.
• You must complete, sign and display the checklist in a prominent, visible location at your business premises.
• You are not required to submit this checklist to Queensland Health, however a relevant enforcement officer can check compliance at any time and/or may ask for a copy of the signed checklist.
Draft COVID safe checklist for Restaurants and Cafes etc.
Based on the Queensland Government announcement loosening COVID-19 restrictions within Queensland, Golf Australia provides the following recommendations.
Please note, this information should be read in conjunction with Play Management guidelines that are located at https://www.golf.org.au/club-guidance-managing-play-in-the-covid-19-environment.
• Golf can be played in groups of four
• All bookings should be made online, via phone or via text message. There should be no ‘roll-up play’. For clubs/facilities with online time sheets, these bookings should be strictly enforced to ensure no congregation in the pro shop or around the first tee. For those without online time sheets, it is recommended that bookings are made via phone.
• Club competitions can be run
• Shotgun starts should be avoided to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people
• Consideration should be given to the submission of scorecards via non-contact measures as outlined below:
o Phone call
o Scorecards, if in use, should be distributed and collected using PPE.
General hygiene principles required, including cleaning of facilities
Golf Australia has previously communicated to clubs that their staff and volunteers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments and they should display a heightened regard for the sanitation of surfaces, of which their cleaning chemical provider will be able to provide guidance on.
Golf Australia has provided Club & Facilities with specific easy to implement changes to
regular operations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. These include:
• Placing social distancing signage around the clubhouse along with hand sanitisers
• Sanitise motorised carts, rental clubs, push buggy and sand bucket handles and air compressor handles before and after use on all occasions.
• Sanitise all greenkeeping machinery before and after use on all occasions
• Removal of rakes from bunkers
• Encourage golfers to wear their glove when removing the flag stick. Refer temporary modification of the rules section which gives clubs the choice to adopt policies around flagsticks and bunkers.
• Remove cash transactions and encourage ‘Pay-Wave’ transactions where no contact is required
• Remove small pins from practice putting greens
• No dollar bets
• No hand shaking
• One (1) person per golf cart, unless both people live in the same household (proof required)
• Multiple tee starts should only be considered by clubs that can ensure the prescribed gathering and social distancing guidelines are met.
Please note, especially with regards to sanitation of motorised carts and rental clubs, that if clubs/facilities are not confident in ensuring adherence to COVID-19 hygiene principles then consideration should be given to not offering these options to players.
Clubs and facilities are encouraged to view the Business health and safety resources for coronavirus (COVID-19) which are available at the Queensland Government website https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/whs/resources-covid-19
An announcement on the resumption of MyGolf (junior) and launch of Get Into Golf (adult) and club operated participation programs will be made as soon as practicable.
Management of people who present who are unwell, experiencing any cold, flu or fever type symptoms
As per health guidelines Golf Australia continues to recommend to clubs/facilities to advise their members and guests if they are experiencing any cold, flu or fever type symptoms they must not visit the golf facility. Additionally, we recommend that these persons should seek to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
Access and egress protocols
Players should arrive at your facility no more than 10 minutes prior to their tee time (unless practice facilities allow for prescribed gathering guidelines). Upon arrival, players should head directly to the Pro Shop or check-in area, whilst adhering to density protocols. Scorecards, if in use, should be collected and players should head directly to the tee.
At the conclusion of the round, players should immediately return to their car and depart the facility. Unless utilising a food and beverage service (following prescribed gathering guidelines), at no stage should players remain at the facility. Clubs/facilities should ensure that there are no mass gathering opportunities available to players in any area of your facility.
Many clubs and facilities have implemented split shifts across greenkeeping staff and this will continue to be encouraged by Golf Australia.
Requirements of non-sporting attendees such as parents
Per published Australian Institute of Sport Principles, community sport and recreation activities should limit those present to the minimum required to support the participants (e.g. one parent or carer per child if necessary), who are to keep away from all participants and observe social distancing guidelines of 1.5 metres per person.
Use of other club facilities
Management must ensure procedures and policies are in place to ensure the facility adheres to density requirements set by the state government in the Emergency Management Direction.
Clubs/facilities are able to seat up to 10 patrons at any time one time, with table service only. Most importantly, physical distancing principles must be adhered to at all times.
It is Golf Australia’s recommendation that, if clubs/facilities are unsure about their ability to manage physical distancing principles of one person per four square metres, that they should not operate their food and beverage facilities. These restrictions will be policed and in some cases, fines could be levied, so it is important that clubs/facilities minimise their exposure to risk.
For outback clubs/facilities, up to 20 patrons can be seated at any one time, with table service only. Proof of residence must be shown to ensure that patrons are local to the area.
Change rooms / Toilets
Indoor toilets can be used, with a maximum of 10 people only, with a limit of one person per four square metres.
Change, Locker & Shower rooms must be closed.
Golf Australia recommends that items such as shoe cleaners, sun creams, hairbrushes and combs, hair gel and hair dryers from locker rooms should be removed.
Where possible, leave doors ajar so the need to push doors open or turn door knobs is removed. Per above, it is important that clubs/facilities are comfortable in managing these restrictions.
Recommendation for players to remain in (or next to) their cars until close to their starting time eg 10 minutes prior. Some clubs (with available resources) across the country have gone to the extent of stationing a staff member (or volunteer) with a microphone/radio in the car park to manage these requirements.
Players should leave the facility immediately after completing their round unless they decide to utilise the food and beverage offering at the club/facility. No presentations can be held at the conclusion of play.
Clubs/facilities should continue to consider the use of split shifts for greenkeeping operations.
Readiness to advance to next level if restrictions ease
Clubs and Facility Boards and management are recommended to begin planning for Step 2 restrictions to be implemented from June 12, and Golf Australia will provide a list of further ‘return to play’ recommendations based on the most up to date information received from government.
Special circumstances that apply to your sport/recreation
Golf is a sport that lends itself naturally to social distancing, with players rarely within 1.5 metres of each other, and low density over a larger playing surface than most other sports. The sport is uniquely positioned to be played during times of social distancing and is set up well to cater for all government requirements through the COVID-19 period, as demonstrated by the behaviour of Queensland golf clubs and facilities over the past weeks. It is important that this behaviour continues to ensure our sport can continue to be played during the COVID-19 recovery period.
TEMPORARY MODIFICATIONS TO THE RULES OF GOLF
On 19/3/2020, the R&A (who are the ruling authority of golf throughout the world except in north America) announced a series of temporary measures to combat the hygiene implications associated with some of the requirements of the Rules of Golf. These temporary measures allow the Rules of Golf, and Model Local Rules, to be modified as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
This information can be accessed at https://www.golf.org.au/club-guidance-managing-play-in-the-covid-19-environment and it is recommended that clubs/facilities familiarise themselves with these modifications.
When considering these new options, clubs should be mindful of the following:
• In order to take advantage of these new Local Rule options, your club will need to announce which options it is bringing into effect for play at your facility – these options do not automatically come into effect at your facility as a result of the R&A announcement.
• Scores returned from competitions with any of the new Local Rules in effect must be processed through GOLF Link unless your club has been instructed otherwise by Golf Australia or your State Association.
• These Local Rule options are temporary and are related to COVID-19 concerns. They will be available to clubs until Golf Australia advises otherwise.
Robert Armour Andrew Newbold
Interim CEO Chair
Golf Australia Golf Australia