Golf clubs to potentially re-open

By Daniel Hughes

After previously being announced that all NSW golf courses have been closed, just hours later NSW Department of Sport has announced the contrary.

In an interview with radio network 2GB, NSW Sports Minister Geoff Lee told Alan Jones the NSW Golf and department had its communication mixed.

"I think there was a bit of confusion, golf courses are allowed to be open," Mr Lee said in the interview.

“We want to encourage people to play sports… as long as they follow the social distancing rule.”

Golf NSW made the decision based on advice from NSW State Government and the NSW Office of Sport that all golf courses in NSW close at midnight on March 30, 2020, until further notice.

This effectively saw Finley, Jerilderie, Tocumwal and Berrigan golf clubs all close their doors to enthusiasts following the original announcement.

Finley Golf Club's president Ian Armer said everyone was understanding with the decision by the board but the news to reopen still has to be discussed.

“It was the safest option for our members, we had a unanimous decision from the board to essentially put the club in hibernation,” Mr Armer said.

“Financially it was hard to keep running the golf course without the support of the bar.

“It's good news but the board needs to sit down and discuss the details, at this stage we don't see competition golf starting but the board is open to discussions on social play."

Clubs are advised that golf course maintenance may continue as long as staff adhere strictly to social distancing requirements.

Mr Armer said the plan with the Finley grounds is to do as minimal work as possible throughout this period until further financial options are found.

“We are hoping to keep the course in the condition that it isn't too much work to get it playable once we get the green light to get started again.

“The board is looking in to government grant options to help fund the maintenance of the course during its possible closure.”

In the same interview with 2GB's Ray Hadley, Golf NSW CEO Stuart Fraser said the process will be to contact clubs to clear the confusion.

“Golf is a game that has multiple physical, but probably, in this insistence, mental benefits," Mr Fraser said.

“People are spending so much time at home now, to be able to get out on a course, and mentally try and detach what’s going on around us, is really important.”

The Southern Riverina News were unable to reach Jerilderie, Berrigan and Tocumwal Golf Clubs for comment.