Golf to re-start on Wednesday 20 May 2020 in Northern Ireland


Please Note:  Allen Park Centre and Golf Course is still closed until Council issues fee invoices to members.  Hopefully this will be in the very near future.  It is important that all golfers abide by the Protocol agreed by the GUI and the Executive for the restarting of golf in N.Ireland.


Ladies & Gents

This is just to confirm that following discussion with the Dept of Health Press Office, the regulations will NOT be amended today and therefore, the legal basis for Clubs to open tomorrow, will not be established. It is envisaged that this will be completed tomorrow at some stage and accordingly Clubs should plan to open no earlier than Wednesday 20 May.

It is essential that club’s and club members follow the Northern Ireland Protocol for the “Safe Return of Golf”, Q&A and Member’s Video, that was issued on Saturday last. They are all available at We would ask that you circulate this video if you have not done so already, to your membership database – the direct link is;

Clubs should follow the link in the email that was issued by Alan Kelly to indicate their agreement to abide by the Protocol or go to the following;

As far as the NI Protocol is concerned. The answer to questions about whether or not our sport can be played using Social Distancing Guidelines has never been in doubt. The question of whether it would be played, upon re-start, in a manner commensurate with the requirements of Public Health Policy is a whole different issue.

In order, therefore, to embed the Protocol Guidelines and the need for Social Distancing, in particular, at all times in the sport, we have agreed that Step 1 will be for Members only, casual golf, played in a maximum of 3-balls using a 14 minute tee time interval.

The eyes not only of the sporting fraternity but those in wider society will be upon the sport as we re-start our game. We need to show, as one of the first sports to return from lockdown that we are capable of being, not only socially responsible but supportive of everything that is being done to combat COVID-19.

While the Northern Ireland Step by Step approach to the return from lockdown states, in Step 1, that between 4 & 6 people can meet, providing social distancing is in place, this is not the same as playing golf. The number of members who will potentially be around the clubhouse & car park as players leave the course, just as others start their round, is another issue to take into account. It is for this reason that the 3-ball rule must be followed in the first step. It is envisaged that this will change to 4-balls as we move into the second step, once social distancing has been embedded and the responsibilities of all golfers are more widely known. We hope that we will have your full support in this matter.

We should all remember that the change announced today could be reversed just as quickly, should the need arise, so let’s do nothing that could result in this outcome.

If you have any questions about the Protocol or any other matter, then please do not hesitate to contact me at or 07886 103713.

Kind Regards

Kevin Stevens
Executive Officer
Golfing Union of Ireland (Ulster Branch)
Unit 5 Forestgrove Business Park
Newtownbreda Road
Belfast BT8 6AW

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