Coronavirus: Golfing under level 3 - What you need to know

Courses will be open from Tuesday April 28.
Courses will be open from Tuesday April 28. Photo credit: Getty

NZ Golf has outlined the specific rule and measures that will be adopted at courses nationwide when the COVID alert level drops to 3 on Tuesday.

On Thursday, sport and recreation minister Grant Robertson confirmed that golf will be able to be played under level 3, provided it only involves those in your bubble and excludes travel outside your region.

The sport's national governing body has followed that announcement by stipulating exactly what will be required of courses that choose to open next week.

Among some of the requirements are 10-minute intervals between groups off tees, no flags on the greens and no bunker rakes, while cups must be slightly raised or upside down.

All facilities, including toilets, will be closed, and players must be registered for contract tracing.

Read below for the full list of guidelines from NZ Golf:

1. A COVID-19 safety plan must be in place, including risk controls for any staff that may be on site (see note below).

2. Players must adhere to regional travel restrictions. Players can only travel within their region, and across a regional boundary if it is in their local area.

3. All players must be registered to enable contract tracing if required (see New Zealand Golf’s earlier guidance on contract tracing templates and our mobile app technology to support).

4. Golf courses must be able to control access to the facility and advanced tee booking procedures must be in place (online, phone, text etc). This is to ensure there is no opportunity for players to congregate.

5. Golfers must arrive ready to play and leave the facility immediately after play.

6. Play is only possible for those playing alone or playing with others from within their bubble. Do not arrange to meet anyone else to play.

7. At risk players (such as those over 70) may need to take extra measures to protect themselves. The Ministry of Health are developing further guidelines for at risk groups.

8. All clubhouse, pro shop, changing room, toilets and any other facility at the golf course must be closed to players and visitors (only available to be accessed and used by essential staff on site).

9. If retail, merchandise or takeaway food and beverages are to be provided, purchase and delivery must be completely contactless and observe 2 metre distancing. Players cannot enter premises.

10. Scorecards cannot be physically issued prior to play nor returned after play. No scores will be accepted by the NZG handicapping system at Alert Level 3.

11. An appropriate interval between tee times must be observed to ensure distancing between groups is maintained. A 6 minute interval between solo players is recommended. An interval of 10 minutes between groups that have two of more players is recommended. Golf courses might like to consider specific times of each day for groups of different sizes.

12. Players must maintain a minimum distance of at least two metres between themselves and other players on course who are not in their bubble.

13. Shotgun or multiple tee starts should be avoided in order to stop the congregation of players.

14. Driving ranges and other practice or warm up facilities must be set up to ensure minimum 2 metre distancing between players. If driving ranges are used, appropriate ball and surface sterilising must take place.

No flag pins will be used on greens.
No flag pins will be used on greens. Photo credit: Getty

15. Equipment cannot be shared. If golf carts are to be used, they can only be used by people inside the same bubble. Golf carts and trundlers must be completely cleaned and sterilised after each use.

16. All pins must be removed from practice putting greens.

17. All pins / flagsticks are to be removed from the course and we suggest the hole is cut in the centre of the green. The cup should be slightly raised or placed upside down.

18. All bunker rakes must be removed from the course.

19. All drinking fountains, ball washers, shared sunscreen stations and on course toilets must be closed.

20. Any staff who are on site should be provided with any appropriate personal protection equipment to ensure they can remain healthy and safe. No physical interaction between any essential staff and players can occur.