Golf Australia and the GMA have today announced the following advice regarding Covid-19:

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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.

On Wednesday, March 18 the Australian Government announced that all non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 or more would be banned. Further information and advice on this topic is located in the Member, Guest and Staff health advice section of this communication.

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 https://www.golf.org.au/contactus/

From this point forward, all GA advice to clubs and facilities will also be posted on the GA website.

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 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.

Clubhouse & Golf Operations:

On Wednesday, March 18 the Australian Government announced that all non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 or more would be banned. However, it is important to note that of the time of writing, State and Territory governments across Australia are still working through how this ban will practically be applied. More information is expected over the coming days and we will communicate this to clubs as soon as practicable.

This will have a significant impact on clubhouse operations for many golf clubs and facilities. Golf Australia recommends that clubs and facilities who – during the course of regular clubhouse operations – often have 100 or more people within their clubhouse at any given time now put in place alternative operational plans.

Those operational plans may include;

  • Extending Clubhouse services to outdoor areas
  • Removing ‘Shotgun’ and ‘Two-Tee’ Starts to reduce peak service loads in Clubhouses and Pro-Shops
  • Limiting the patrons who may enter the building at any one time
  • Limiting bookings for dining services, accordingly, taking into account staff numbers that will be present in the building.
  • Increasing use of ‘Halfway Huts’ and ‘Catering Carts’ to minimise the requirement for Clubhouse use
  • Reviewing the requirements for Clubhouse operations.

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 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 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
  • One person per golf cart
  • 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.
  • Review table and chair placings to take account of 1.5 metre social distancing recommendations.

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 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 clubsupport@golf.org.au.


GMA Resource Library

GMA’s Environmental Heath & Safety partner, epar, has provided a number of resources on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) for GMA members to download.

Click here to go to the GMA Resource Library >

About Richard Fellner

Winner of multiple Australian Golf Media Awards, including Best Photojournalism and Best Column, 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 Writers Association and the Golf Society of Australia, and he is a regular 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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