A return to golf in England from Wednesday presents a great and hugely welcome opportunity but it does come with responsibilities

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GM Says – Appreciate the opportunity of a return to golf

From tomorrow, golf courses in England will reopen for the first time in over six weeks with courses in Wales looking likely to open next Monday (we hope golfers in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be able to follow suit in due course) and our sport will resume, albeit with various restrictions.

Related: 25 Things You Can and Can’t Do When Playing Golf After Lockdown

For golfers, this is a hugely welcome step and one that will provide us the chance to return to an activity we love: To get back onto our brilliant courses and to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits that golf offers.

In this we can and should, count ourselves fortunate.

For many other sport lovers, a resumption of their chosen activity may not be possible for some time.

For the wider world this is still of a time of immense suffering. Lives are being lost and livelihoods, hopes and dreams are being shattered.

With the opportunity to return to golf, there comes an obligation.

We golfers must display that we fully understand our individual responsibilities; to comply carefully and diligently with the guidelines laid out by government and golf’s governing bodies, ensuring golf restarts safely and smoothly.

We’re urging all golfers in England to do everything by the book and to do nothing to threaten this chance we have in returning to our game.

Please do make sure you follow the guidance and play only with a member (or members) of your own household, or one other person from another household.

Be sure to maintain social distancing at all times and carefully follow the guidelines laid out by The R&A and individual clubs on best practice for achieving this.

Related: Golf Industry Confirms Guidelines For Golfers

Please don’t be tempted to stretch the rules. Golfers are known for their integrity and we are sure this will come to the fore during this first period of eased restrictions.

It might be tempting to make a party of a first game back – to take a beer or two and enjoy a post-round car park drink for example… But let’s not be seen to do anything that could bring the decision to allow golf’s return to come under scrutiny.

Golf allows players of all ages to exercise and enjoy some sport.

Older players who may not have been getting out running or cycling over the past weeks, will now have the opportunity to participate in sport again – think of how important that is for them.

There is, of course, going to be a rush to book times and get back out there. Try to be fair and not abuse booking systems – Take your turn, enjoy your game and allow as many others as possible to do the same.

Over the last weeks and months, many in the industry, and from our governing bodies, have been lobbying hard to suggest golf is a sport that can take place outdoors with effective, managed social distancing.

As we say thanks to them for their efforts, let’s make sure over the next couple of weeks that we prove they are absolutely right.