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Golf courses across NI given green light to reopen on Wednesday by Stormont Executive

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Golfers in England returned to courses last week and Northern Ireland's clubs will open to members on Wednesday.

Golfers in England returned to courses last week and Northern Ireland's clubs will open to members on Wednesday.

PA

Golfers in England returned to courses last week and Northern Ireland's clubs will open to members on Wednesday.

Golfers in England returned to courses last week and Northern Ireland's clubs will open to members on Wednesday.

PA

Golfers in England returned to courses last week and Northern Ireland's clubs will open to members on Wednesday.

Golf courses across Northern Ireland can reopen to members on Wednesday, the Stormont Executive has confirmed.

Last week, the five step plan to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic lockdown had indicated non-contact sports such as golf and tennis would be among the first sports to return as part of phase one.

The Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) said it envisages regulations will be amended allowing for clubs to reopen from Wednesday, at the earliest.

Over the weekend, the GUI released its protocol for a return to action in Northern Ireland, with First Minister Arlene Foster urging all players to stick to those guidelines.

Included were stipulations that no club competitions take place and only members are allowed onto the course. There is no travel restriction in place.

Golfers should play in groups of no more than three players, although individual clubs can further limit those numbers, and can play with people from outside their own households providing social distancing is observed.

Players should, however, not travel to courses in the same vehicles as people from outside their own households, not arrive at clubs more than 15 minutes before their tee-time and leave the club immediately after their round is finished.

On course measures should be put in place such as the removal of rakes from bunkers and altered cups so that flagsticks do not need to be touched.

Signage should also be erected to remind players to observe social distancing practices at all times.

The GUI has also strongly recommended that juniors should only be permitted to play if accompanied by an adult.

In step two of the NI Executive plan, fourballs will be permitted, featuring members as well as their guests, while closed club competitions can also resume.

Team sports can return to training in small groups as part of step two, with larger training permitted in step three and competitive team sports returning in step four, albeit with limited supporters.

'Close physical contact sports' can only return in step five.

Belfast Telegraph