Golf Australia – Club communication regarding COVID-19

Written by:

UPDATE – MONDAY, MARCH 23

Member, Guest and Staff health advice

Golf clubs and facilities are often heavily trafficked, and there is a chance that a member, guest or member of your staff will be exposed to, or test positive to, COVID-19.

It is vitally important that if a member, guest or staff member tests positive to COVID-19, they must inform the club/facility as soon as possible. If this has occurred, anyone testing positive will be contacted by the State/Territory Department of Health in relation to contact tracing. You should then take advice on ongoing facility operations from your State/Territory Department of Health.

Clubhouse & Golf Operations:

On Sunday, March 22 the Australian Government announced a closure – from midday, Monday, March 23 – of all pubs, licensed clubs, bars, restaurants and cafes (dining in), cinemas, casinos, places of worship gyms and indoor sporting venues.

It is Golf Australia’s advice that all clubhouses should be immediately closed for normal business, with alternative food and beverage arrangements put in place for golfers. However, at this time Golf Australia believes that golf can continue to be played, whilst observing all social distancing protocols at this time.

Playing Golf:

It should be noted that the vast majority of golfers can and should continue to visit your clubs and facilities as per normal. Of course, golfers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments. By its nature, golf promotes a level of social distancing and while it is important that this is adhered to, golf is a lower risk sport than many others.

You should continue to review your clubhouse operational plans. Practical examples of this include:

  • Removing ‘Shotgun’ and ‘Two-Tee’ Starts to reduce peak service loads across the course

  • Creating larger gaps in between groups on the tee sheet

  • Reducing or cancelling club competitions with a heightened focus on social play

  • Use of ‘Halfway Huts’ and ‘Catering Carts’ for takeaway food and beverage options to minimise service impacts from the closure of Clubhouses. Clubs and facilities should not offer seated areas encouraging members and guests to congregate in violation of social distancing restrictions and restrictions placed on bars, cafes and restaurants. It is important that golf clubs and facilities adhere to these restrictions to ensure golf can continue to be played and is not seen as flouting the restrictions in place for other businesses.

It will continue to be important for club Boards and management to review contingencies to plan stages ahead for club operations should public information change.

Practices across your facility should display a heightened regard for the sanitation of surfaces, of which your cleaning chemical provider will be able to provide guidance on.

Staff and volunteers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments.

Golf Australia has collated a range of proactive actions that Clubs have implemented across the country. This list can be found on Golf Australia’s website, on the dedicated COVID-19 page, golf.org.au/covid-19 and will be updated from time to time. If Clubs would like to share what they are doing in their facility, they can send these stories to clubsupport@golf.org.au.

Industrial Relations advice: For specific Industrial Relations advice, please contact the licenced venue peak body or business advisory organisation in your state (Community Clubs Victoria, Clubs SA, ClubsNSW, Clubs WA, Clubs QLD, Clubs NT, Tasmanian Hospitality Association). If your Golf Club or Facility is not a member and requires advice, please contact Golf Australia Club Support on clubsupport@golf.org.au

Download Club Best Practices here

As you are aware, COVID-19 or the Coronavirus as it is more commonly known has created global health concerns regarding the disease and its infection rates.

Golf Australia is writing to provide further assistance and guidance to our clubs and facilities on this important topic.

It is Golf Australia’s recommendation to clubs and facilities that advice from the Australian Government’s Department of Health should be monitored closely over the coming days and weeks, as well as the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website. Advice may change from day to day.

Please note, Golf Australia remains fully operational for all of your clubs and facilities support, rules and handicapping and competition management requirements. For contact details of each departmental area, please visit www.golf.org.au/contactus.

Member, Guest and Staff travel advice

If your members or guests have recently returned from overseas, they are now required by law to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return, as of midnight on Sunday, March 15. During this period, they should not visit your facility for any reason.

If – in the 14 days prior to Sunday, March 15 – your members or guests have recently returned from or transited through China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mongolia or South Korea, we recommend that they do not visit your facility for any reason – including use of the golf course only – until the 14 day period has elapsed.

We further recommend that if – in the 14 days prior to Sunday March 15 – members or guests recently returned from or who have transited through Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand or from a cruise holiday and who are experiencing flu-like symptoms do not visit your facility, including use of the golf course only, for 14 days.

For simple, easy to understand advice for your members and guests including important health tips, you can also refer to the World Health Organisation’s advice for the public website.

Course Maintenance Operations:

Clubs and facilities should consider reviewing their course maintenance operations ensuring procedures are in place that minimise close person-to-person contact. Practices within the course maintenance team should display a heightened regard for the sanitation of surfaces, including machinery controls, of which your cleaning chemical provider will be able to provide guidance on. Staff and volunteers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments.

Clubs should also consider separating course maintenance staff in to separate shifts to help ensure continuity should self-isolation among your course maintenance staff be required.

Examples of easy to implement changes to regular operations:

Some examples of changes for clubs and facilities that will help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 include:

  • Place signage around clubhouse along with hand sanitisers

  • Remove cash transactions and encourage ‘Pay-Wave’ transactions where no contact is required

  • Remove use of member cards in place of providing member number at point of sale

  • Remove shared items such as complimentary cheese and crackers

  • Remove table items such as salt and pepper shakers and water stations on bars

  • Where possible, leaving doors ajar removing the need to push doors open or turn door knobs

  • No hand shaking

  • No dollar bets

  • Use drink trays for rounds of drinks

  • Remove items such as pens, shoe cleaners, sun creams, hair brushes and combs, hair gel and hair dryers from locker rooms

  • Sanitise motorised carts, push buggy and sand bucket handles, air compressor handles, before and after use

  • Encourage golfers to wear their putting glove when removing the flag stick and when raking bunkers

  • Remove small pins from practice putting greens

  • With practice balls, review your club’s methods of ball dispensing and cleaning.

Golf club competition advice

Golf Australia is not currently advocating for regular club competitions to cease and we are encouraging that these continue. However, it will be important to continue to monitor Federal and State Government announcements over the coming days that may impact on golf operations. This advice must also be viewed through the prism of the mass gathering ban put in place on Wednesday, March 18.

Golf Australia – staff update:

All Golf Australia staff will work from home starting Wednesday, March 18, however we remain fully operational as a business.

We will still be contactable via regular means such as phone and e-mail, and our reception phone will be diverted to ensure all incoming calls are answered.

As previously noted, the virus and potential implications are changing constantly and we will continue to monitor accordingly, and provide updates to clubs and facilities as regularly as required, or alternatively when additional Federal Government updates are announced.

For further information from the Federal Government on COVID-19, the Coronavirus Health Information Line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 020 080.

If you require additional information or have questions please do not hesitate to contact Golf Australia on (03) 9626 5000 or clubsupport@golf.org.au.

Kind regards,

Golf Australia

Comments