We thought we would put together a newsletter of what the Essex County Organisers have been doing whilst we have been in lockdown.
County Captain Karen Charles: Dear Members I hope that you have all stayed safe and well during this very difficult time and have managed to get out and enjoy the amazing spring weather.
I am sure like many of you we have spent a great deal of time in the garden and now it is looking rather good. My husband is the gardener, I am just his assistant but I have really enjoyed seeing it all come together.
We have also been on some long walks as we are very lucky that we can quickly get into the countryside and have seen some wonderful bluebell woods.
I played my first game of golf on Friday and it was great to walk the fairways and see friends albeit from some distance. We have some interesting additions to the flagsticks, (photos below), so that there was no need to touch anything other than our own balls and clubs.
Now to some golf news, all East Region Competitions have been cancelled for 2020 but the good news is that we will still be hosting the East Region County Days next year 2021 at Stoke by Nayland Golf Club.
Also England Golf are still hoping that the English Girls’ U14 and U16 Championships will be held on 28th -30th July at Thorndon Park Golf Club. So if restrictions have been lifted by then I hope that some of you will come and watch some very talented Juniors.
Finally enjoy the sunshine and your golf but at all times stay safe and hopefully it won’t be too long before we can all meet and socialise once more.
President and Regional Handicap Adviser Janice Hazledine: Last year at this time we were in “full swing” with some County Events already completed, Interclub Matches playing every week and the lead up to the County Championship and Senior County Championship. My first year as your President was busy and exciting and I hope that by the Autumn we may be able to enjoy some competitive golf again.
Wearing my other hat as the Regional Handicap Adviser. We had all the hype of the Presentations in February of the World Handicap System and the plans to take Members ‘Presentations to Clubs - then suddenly nothing! Not that the Handicap Queries stopped – it became clear that life without golf to some was unimaginable.
The World Handicap System (WHS) is still on track to be launched on 2nd November. I have had an online meeting with England Golf and the preparation continues in the background.
I look forward to seeing you all at the first opportunity.
Silver Shield/Trophy Organiser Elaine Davidson: To all my lovely Silver Captains, I hope you are all safe and well and truly relaxed after spending so much time at home. If you are like me, your cupboards will be perfect, the garden pristine, and cooking skills honed. Thank heavens we can get back on the golf course!
I am fortunate to live very close to my course and have walked around the fairways several times a week, watching winter and all the flooding disappear into a glorious spring, with lush fairways and tempting greens, achieved by a skeleton staff of dedicated Green-keepers. I’m really looking forward to some roll on the ball and just hope I can remember how to swing a club.
Oddly, in the midst of this lockdown, I have managed to sell my house, so am now also busy packing boxes although arranging a moving date is impossible just now. I will keep you posted as to my new address and contact details ready for the 2021 season.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the industrious ladies of Stoke by Nayland, who have rallied together to raise funds to purchase reams of material for making sets of scrubs. We are currently well into our second hundred of sets, as well as over 600 face shields made by one lady member and over 200 facemasks by two other ladies.
Stay safe everyone, enjoy being back on the golf course, staying two metres apart of course, and I hope to catch up with you all in the not too distant future.
Bronze Shield Organiser Glennis Copleston: After a very wet start to the year and then 2 months of Covid lockdown, I managed to book a T Time and play 9 holes on the first day that golf clubs reopened. The course looked lovely and the deer had increased in numbers!
Volunteers acting as marshals were looking out for us and ensuring the rules were adhered to. As I played on my own, it was good to see others on the course and speak from a safe distance. It was really the people I had missed, and maybe taken for granted). My thanks to the golf pros, club staff who have had a very difficult time and to the volunteers who have stepped in to help. I hope we will all take the safety rules seriously, not just today, but in the long term to allow us to continue playing safely.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy golf season. Glennis
Harris Bowl Organiser Josie Williams: GOLF IS BACK County Delegates like me I am guessing that you and all your golfing chums are glad to be back playing the game we love so much. Its just a quick message to say that I was really sad that I was not able to be part of the 2020 Harris Bowl as I was very much looking forward to witnessing the results and finals. However I am very excited and looking forward to 2021 and hope that everybody stays safe and well and I look forward to seeing some of you out on the course soon. Happy Golfing Josie
England Voting Member Report – Nicola Thomas: ENGLAND GOLF
PLAY SAFE – STAY SAFE
Since the national lockdown England Golf has been hosting fortnightly online meetings for County representatives and regular updates are sent via email. Now that courses and facilities have reopened it is important to emphasise the onus of responsibility lies strictly with the clubs and individual players in that they must at all times continue to adhere to governmental guidelines. If you are living in a household with a possible COVID-19 infection of if you are classified as extremely vulnerable on health grounds, the guidance is that you should remain at home.
Before re-opening all clubs and facilities should have undertaken comprehensive risk assessments and applied current government advice. It is important that should an audit be undertaken evidence can be given that the club or facility applied all necessary measures. Clubs and facilities must adhere to the law and enforce restrictions. We are currently in Phase 1 of the easing of lockdown, it is in some people’s nature to want more but clubs must be given time to get to grips with the new procedures and for members to come to terms with the realities. It is worth noting that England Golf has no jurisdiction over non affiliated facilities and therefore if any individual has a concern relating to the flaunting of restrictions at such a facility they should be notified to the police and local enforcement agencies e.g. environmental health. On a more positive note since reopening many clubs have had an increase in membership enquiries and golf club membership remains a high priority for England Golf.
Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund, backed by the National Lottery, has extended funding levels for a further 12 months. This is aimed to help community sport and physical activity organisations who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. It was confirmed that out of 105 applications from golf clubs nationwide 46 have been successful in achieving an award from this fund.
The R&A have launched a £7m Covid-19 Support Fund with a main focus on assisting clubs and facilities (affiliated clubs only). £4m of this fund will go to the home countries with £1.9m being allocated to England Golf. All of this £1.9m will be awarded to affiliated clubs and facilities within England. There is some flexibility in what the criteria will be for applications - more information will be released at the beginning of June.
England hope to begin running tournaments again from July however this is continually under review as there are concerns regarding the ancillary arrangements of catering, accommodation etc.
The England Golf website https://www.englandgolf.org has the latest information and guidelines, including the Play Safe Stay Safe guidelines and links to the government regulations for clubs, players and coaches. A high volume of queries have been received, some of the most asked questions are answered below:
Q – What is the permitted format for groupings on golf’s return from 13 May?
A – According to latest government regulations, the following golf groupings are permissible: Individual golfers; Two balls with players from different households; Two balls with players from same household; Three or four balls with players from the same household (only at the club’s discretion).
Q – Can others join players on the course? (i.e. caddies/helpers)
A – A solo golfer may be accompanied by either a household member or a person from outside their household. In the case of the latter, social distancing rules must be observed. Existing groups of two, three, or four golfers cannot be joined on course by anyone else.
Q- Can outdoor practice areas, nets, and putting greens remain open?
A – It is recommended practice areas, including practice nets, are closed unless safe sanitising practices can be guaranteed. Clubs/facilities should consider procedures for the putting green to make it easy for social distancing rules to be followed (e.g. giving priority of use to the player/s in the next group due to tee off).
Q – Can Pro Shops open?
A – Under recent guidance from the government relating to small retailers, pro shops cannot open to operate any “over the counter” transactions. It is permissible for their premises to be open in order for tee time booking systems to successfully operate. Strict social distancing guidelines must be followed. Pro Shops can offer online click and collect services.
Q – Can Driving Ranges re-open?
A – The variable nature of driving range construction and outdoor and indoor elements of their use means there cannot be a blanket response to this question. It is recognised that driving ranges contain a number of hard surfaces and therefore remain a high risk area for the spread of COVID-19.
Q – Can PGA professionals and clubs provide tuition/coaching ?
A – The government has confirmed that only one-to-one coaching is permissible under strict infection control measures, observing social distancing and must take place outside.
Q – Is Insurance cover provided by England Golf to members of affiliated clubs valid?
A – As long as golf courses are legally open for play then current insurance cover remains valid for all affiliated members.
Q – Can clubs run competitions?
A – It is recommended that non-competition play is applied during the initial period of golf being played.