The captain and treasurer of Ladybank Golf Club says he is being “stonewalled” by the Scottish Government as the club tries to find out when crucial finance generating Open competitions might be allowed to resume.
James Hair, who is managing director and founder of long-established Cupar and St Andrews-based chartered accountancy firm James Hair & Co, says he has spent weeks trying to get a scientific explanation from the Scottish Government as to why golf clubs are still barred from running Open competitions as lockdown eases.
While club competitions have already restarted with various safety measures in place, the wait goes on for Open events to be given the thumbs up.
Sportscotland says amateur competitive sport will be addressed in phase 4 of lockdown exit, which is being led by the Scottish Government.
But Mr Hair said that in July alone, Ladybank Golf Club has had to cancel events costing the club over £9000 in direct revenue.
Describing this as “critical income to sustaining the club’s future and avoiding end of season redundancies”, Mr Hair says having spoken to “numerous other” golf club committee members in recent weeks, Ladybank’s position is mirrored across the country.
“We are particularly frustrated with what are clearly significantly higher risk activities now being permitted eg the hospitality industry is open for business!” he told The Courier.
“We are confident we can run Open competitions with no material increase in risk of spreading infection than currently exists with member competitions.
“Open competitions also represent additional useful economic activity – something Scotland clearly needs and would benefit from.
“Presently I am being stonewalled wherever I turn. Scotland – the home of golf – should be leading the world out of golf lockdown not dithering along behind!”
A spokesperson for Scottish Golf – the St Andrews-based national governing body for golf in Scotland – said the organisation was not in a position to provide scientific explanations on current government restrictions.
The spokesperson said: “Golf, as with all sports activities in Scotland, is currently being viewed as an extension to exercise and not a return to sport.
“While we do not have any set date for Open competitions, we continue to be in dialogue with government and will inform our members of any changes to guidelines once we have them.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “While people in Scotland are now allowed to play golf – with appropriate physical distancing and other measures to stop the spread of the virus – we know many amateur golfers want to resume Open competition.
“We are actively considering this and will work closely with sportscotland and other partners to allow this to happen as soon as it is safe to do so.”
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