Golf Australia and the GMA have released the following advice regarding golf clubs and Covid-19:

Important updated information regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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

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.

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.

Playing Golf:

It should be noted that the vast majority of golfers can and should continue to visit your clubs or facility as per normal. Of course, golfers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments.

Clubhouse & Golf Operations:

Clubs should consider reviewing their clubhouse and golf operations ensuring procedures are in place that minimise close person-to-person contact where possible. It is up to club and facility management to consider whether policies on clubhouse opening hours, course opening hours and visitor access require review at this time.

It is important for club boards and management to review contingencies to plan stages ahead for club operations should public information change.

Practices within clubhouses 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.

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 use of member cards in place of providing member number at point of sale purchases
  • Remove shared items such as complimentary cheese and crackers
  • 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 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 cash transactions and encourage ‘Pay-Wave’ transactions where no contact is required
  • Remove small pins from practice putting greens

Golf club event advice

Today, Golf Australia has taken the decision to cancel all GA-run events through May 16, 2020.

These include:

  • Australian Girls’ Amateur Championship
  • Australian Boys’ Amateur Championship
  • Australian Girls’ Interstate Teams Matches
  • Australian Boys’ Interstate Teams Matches
  • Women and Men’s Interstate Teams Matches

Additionally, the South Australian Amateur Classic & Rene Erichsen has been postponed. We will endeavour to find a suitable date for this later in 2020 however we also accept that this may not be possible hence the event may not be played in 2020.

This decision was taken due to the significant amount of interstate travel that would have been required for participants, coaches, managers, spectators and staff to undertake in order to attend the events.

Until May 16, 2020, GA staff will provide remote support for any club-run event that we currently support and a club/facility elects to operate during this time. However, no GA staff member will attend the event in a working capacity.

There are many other events across the country that we have a significant involvement with, such as State Pennant competitions and various Order of Merit events. We will liaise with the relevant clubs to decide on the future of these events in the coming days.

Throughout this period of uncertainty, we wish to re-iterate that anyone who has entered an event that may still proceed is not compelled to play. Additionally, if participants are unwell, we ask that they do not compete in any events.

To be clear, Golf Australia is not advocating for regular club competitions to cease and we are encouraging that these continue. Rather, we have sought to act on events where we believe the significant travel requirements involved posed a greater risk than the regular act of competition golf.

Golf Australia – staff update

All Golf Australia staff will work from home starting Wednesday, March 18 until Tuesday, March 31. If there is any change in these dates, we will advise all clubs and facilities closer to that date.

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

About Richard Fellner

A four-time winner of the Australian Golf Media Awards, including Best Photojournalism, Best Opinion, Best Column and Best Photographic Presentation, Inside Golf Group Editor Richard Fellner is the quintessential Golf Tragic, having played the game for over 50 years (but has never gotten any better!) He has played and reviewed courses all over the world, and has interviewed many of the great players of the game (including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Greg Norman). Richard is a member of both the Australian Golf Media Association and the Golf Society of Australia, and has been a featured guest on many Australian "sports talk" radio shows and networks, including ABC Grandstand, SEN 1116, Melbourne Talk Radio 1377, 2GB and others. Follow Richard Fellner on Quora


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