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  • Alistair Tait

Perspective needed as golf returns to English fairways

Let’s bring some perspective to that round of golf those of us living in England are going to play tomorrow for the first time in nearly eight weeks.

It’s not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

We’ll all enjoy getting back on the fairways, being out in the fresh air and exercising but let’s not gloat. There are still many people far worse off than us, including many friends who won’t be able to take to the fairways tomorrow.

As PGA Advanced Professional Thomas Devine put it so aptly on Twitter:

“Lots of impatient golfers out there. Amongst a no. of logistics to sort, many golf clubs have furloughed staff so no surprise phones/enquiries aren’t being answered immediately. People are dying, your Wednesday tee time isn’t that important.”

Spot on. While we’re getting back to hitting shots out of bounds, fat shots, thin shots and three putting, there are people in intensive care literally fighting for their lives, many of whom won’t survive the battle. Elderly and vulnerable people are still dying in care homes, tended by care home workers who still don’t have adequate PPE because of our government’s shocking, shambolic response to this pandemic. Nurses and doctors are still on the front line putting themselves in danger to protect us.

Throw in other key workers like school teachers, bus, train and tube drivers, postmen and women, delivery drivers, rubbish collectors and many others still out there risking their lives to keep our society functioning.

How all of the above must wish they had the luxury of a spare four hours for a game of golf.

Spare a thought too for our Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish cousins who are being asked to wait patiently before they can return to the game they love. There will be a lot of frustration, perhaps anger, that members of English golf clubs can get out for a game while they’re being asked to wait patiently at home.

Giving one country the green light to play while other countries have to wait wasn’t what our game needed. Far better to have allowed us all to return to the fairways en masse. Yet another shambolic move by our government in a series of shambolic responses to this pandemic. No wonder a lot of Scottish people want independence.

Spare a thought too for so many in our industry who have been hard hit by this pandemic. Club house staff, greenkeepers, assistant professionals will still be on furlough while we’re tramping up the fairways. Many might not have jobs to return to. Some club professionals are facing financial hardship because of this pandemic. Some golf clubs might not survive.

Oh, and you might just want to take a few seconds to say thanks to those golf club staff members, especially greenkeepers, who worked through this pandemic to ensure as seamless a return as possible. I'll say it now: Thank you. Your efforts are most appreciated.

I’ll enjoy my round of golf tomorrow, but I won’t be gloating. None of us should. Let’s keep our return to the fairways in perspective.

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