Golf: PH government releases standard health, safety guidelines for clubs

Local golf clubs should see a smoother flow of its daily operations with the Philippine Sports Commission's recent release of the implementing rules and regulations for the sport concerning health and safety protocols. 

In the PSC’s Framework Tool for Reintroducing Sport in a COVID-19 Environment, which covers most of the sports allowed to restart so far, the general guidelines for golf is listed and thoroughly discussed, depending on the quarantine conditions.

The National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP), the sport’s national governing body, formulated the initial IRR based on recommendations they outlined in April. 

In turn, the PSC reviewed and made revisions to the document before submitting it to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. 

With the IRR in place, these guidelines must now be strictly followed, and violations will be dealt with by the IATF.

Mentioned in the guidelines are: 

The need to designate a single entry point to better monitor temperature and passage through a disinfecting foot bath; 
The need to educate club staff about COVID-19 and equip them with the knowledge they need to recognize its symptoms and proceed safely:
The need to brief all staff and caddies on heightened hygiene, sanitation and, in the food and beverage department, food handling standards to minimize the risk of contamination; 
The need to eliminate sit-down F&B services until such time the IATF releases a separate IRR on restaurant operations;
There must be emphasis on the need for physical distancing. To support that, there must clear and appropriate signage in and around the club premises, especially at entrances and the carts barn, to clarify distancing guidelines in place;
All staff and caddies must use gloves, and a face mask or shield;
Clubs should encourage golfers to book or reserve tee times and carts in advance either by phone or electronic mail (e-mail); 
Clubs must not hold indoor activities more than what the IATF prescribes under general and modified general quarantines.
For practice facilities, golf clubs must follow these guidelines:

Both the driving range and short game areas may operate only on 50 percent of capacity with physical distancing protocols in place; 
There must be no assistance from tee boys and girls; 
Practice balls must be disinfected before release to the players; 
The use of own golf equipment (clubs, balls, etc.) is a must; 
Clubs must provide clear and professional signage informing all members of the operational changes and safety precautions; 
Equipment and apparel shops may operate, but only three persons, including customers, must be inside the shop at any given time.
On the golf course, the following rules are nonnegotiable: 

Participants must wear face masks at all times; 
Caddies and forecaddies must not touch the players’ equipment; 
Clubs must allow only a maximum of three players per flight; 
Only one player per golf cart is permitted, although sharing would be allowed between spouses and family members; 
Clubs must increase tee time intervals between flights to a minimum of 15 minutes apart; 
Pins must not be touched. The cup must be raised by one inch so that any ball that hits the raised cup shall be deemed holed or similar modifications must be made to make retrieving the ball more contact-less;
Golfers must leave the course as soon as possible or once play is done to eliminate congestion; 
No tournaments should be held until further notice.
Hygiene protocols were also mentioned specifically on the IRR. 

Clubs are required to clean and disinfect their premises more frequently, and stations for alcohol and hand sanitizers must be place in strategic locations throughout the club. 

Golf carts must be sanitized at all times, too. 

All shared materials, such as sand containers, coolers and other cart items. All locker rooms must also remain closed.

Date: June 21, 2020 | Newspaper: ABS CBN | Source: