Statement from Golf Australia

Dear Victorian Golf Clubs & Facilities,

I would like to make you aware that Golf Australia has actively taken up the case of regional Victorian clubs and facilities with the Victorian Government over what we consider to be unfair playing restrictions applied this week.
On Thursday, the Government announced that Victorian regional clubs and facilities could reopen, but with a limit of 50 people on the property at one time. This includes people in the clubhouse.
Through numerous channels, including direct engagement with ministers and their offices, Golf Australia has made it clear that we believe these restrictions to be absurd – disproportionate to the health and safety risks, and unfairly impacting on our sport.
I have been in direct contact with the offices of the Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence MP and the Minister for Sport, Martin Pakula MP – and have spoken directly to the latter – to press this case and to express our great disappointment with these restrictions.
Whilst it is appropriate to note that we have received sympathetic hearings from both Ministers, Victorian health authorities have not yet shown any inclination to be flexible.
Our representations to government will continue in the hope that a better set of rules can be found for our sport in anticipation of further easing of restrictions across the state – in both the city and regional areas.
A 50-person limit on a 40-hectare property such as a golf course does not logically compare to a single football field or other outdoor sporting facility. This limit is even more absurd when you consider the same 50-person cap applies to hotels and restaurants! 
As we all know, Golf is an abundantly safe activity – even in a pandemic. For well over 12 months, Victorian golf clubs and facilities have worked tirelessly to implement guidelines to provide appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures to support safety whilst playing the game.  
I’m sure we all agree that Golf needs to continue to play its part in fighting the pandemic by supporting COVID-safe practices and keeping people healthy and active during these difficult times.
We have made these and other submissions as part of our case to government.
As to restrictions around sporting facilities, Golf should not wish to distance itself from other sports or appear to be entitled, but there are fundamental differences to the way our sport is played with natural social distancing over vast outdoor land areas.  
We understand that in a health crisis like this one, certain rules need to be applied and enforced, but in this instance, our strong view is that these restrictions have been applied unfairly to our industry.

Yours in Golf.
James Sutherland Chief Executive Officer

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