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Coronavirus: All golf courses in Northern Ireland ordered to close immediately

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Golf courses throughout Northern Ireland have been ordered to close with immediate effect.

Golf courses throughout Northern Ireland have been ordered to close with immediate effect.

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Golf courses throughout Northern Ireland have been ordered to close with immediate effect.

All golf courses in Northern Ireland have been ordered to close immediately by the Golfing Union of Ireland.

The sport's governing body has maintained throughout the early stages of the outbreak that it is following advice from government and healthcare officials and so, in line with the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday evening, clubs have been ordered to shut all facilities.

The same order to close has also been issued by the Golfing Unions in England, Scotland and Wales.

Many clubs across the country, from Ardglass to Omagh, had already taken matters into their own hands and closed courses in the immediate aftermath of the UK Government's 'stay at home' announcement.

The GUI statement, released on Tuesday morning at 11am, added that it is consulting with industry partners over any support available for clubs.

As with businesses across many sectors, clubs will suffer a huge financial hit due to the loss of green fees, bar takings and other incomes during the course of the pause in play.

"We know that these decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the UK Government guidelines," read the GUI statement.

"In doing so, this will ensure that we get the opportunity to play the game that we all love as soon as it is safe to do so.

"While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message is clear. People must stay at home to help to contain the spread of COVID-19."

The GUI confirmed that greenstaff may continue to work as long as social distancing practices are rigidly adhered to and advised that clubs split staff into two separate teams.

Courses across the border remain open in line with the Republic of Ireland government measures although the GUI will issue an update in response to any further restrictions.

Belfast Telegraph