PGA in Scotland guidance for the safe return of golf

PGA in Scotland guidance for the safe return of golf

On the May 21 the Scottish Government published its framework document outlining a route map through the Covid-19 crisis.

We would like to remind all members in Scotland that you must abide by this guidance published by the Scottish Government only.

In conjunction with The PGA and other industry partners, Scottish Golf also published their document – ‘Guidelines for the return to Golf in Scotland’ together with a relevant Q&A document.

The PGA has been seeking advice from Scottish Government in relation to the interpretation of the guidance specifically regarding PGA professional services including coaching, club fitting, retailing and driving ranges. Based on this work, The PGA have developed the following advice in relation to Phase 1 of the route map and will provide further information as we progress through the phases.

Further Clarification for PGA members in Scotland
All activity should be consistent with Scottish Government guidance regarding health, travel, social distancing and hygiene at all times. Further links to this advice is available in the Scottish Golf ‘guidance for golf clubs and golfers’.

IMPORTANT: Do not leave your home to play golf if Scottish Government advice means you should stay at home because you or someone you live with has or has had symptoms of COVID-19, or you are in the most vulnerable category and have been advised to shield from the coronavirus.

Guidance has been constructed in line with Health Protection Scotland.

Coaching and Club Fitting
Government guidelines in regard to coaching/club fitting can be found here.

The relevant excerpt is;
One on one personal training or coaching is permitted if it is outdoors, physical distancing can be maintained, and is with members of your household and/or members of 1 other household. A coach or personal trainer should not deliver training to more than 1 household at any one time or provide training to more than 1 household per day. When participating in training or coaching, where possible, avoid touching surfaces and sharing equipment and touching your mouth and face.

If you are considering coaching or club fitting under these restrictions it should be delivered outside and within the specified guidance in relation to social distancing and infection control. PGA Professionals considering any coaching/club fitting should complete a comprehensive risk assessment and refer to the coaching/club fitting guidelines on the PGA Covid-19 Resource Hub to ensure maximum compliance.

Below we have provided 15 things you should consider that will help you to provide a place for people to exercise and participate whilst minimising risk.

The Environment

  1. Deliver coaching and play outdoors to reduce the risk to you and your clients - no coaching indoors.
  2. Think about coaching on the course, again this encourages people to play whilst providing plenty of room to implement social distancing measures.
  3. Much like coaching safety zones, create a 2-meter exclusion zone around the lesson that no one enters.
  4. If you must move a player, use an alignment stick, which is easily sterilised after each lesson.
  5. If you can get hold of a facemask, wear it, the advice to date states that this helps in preventing us from spreading the germs to another person, or have tissues at hand to catch the cough or sneeze. Remember that they are only effective for a limited period of time, usually less than an hour. Hygiene: Resources are available from NHS Scotland for general guidance 
    - Guidance for non-healthcare settings
    - Hand hygiene
  6. Washing hands with soap and water before and after the session. The soap loosens the bonds that hold a virus together making it easier to kill and wash away with water.
  7. Provide hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol) for you and your clients.
  8. Offer short game coaching sessions that allow the client to use their golf balls, that way they are not sharing equipment that other people have touched.
  9. Take flags out of the holes, again this is a shared surface environment.
  10. Think about drawing circles on the ground that people putt and chip towards rather than a cup that offers a hard surface for a virus to live on.

On the Range

  1. Make sure the ball washer has soap in the machine.
  2. Provide hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol) for people to push the buttons on a ball machine, or demonstrate the multifunctional role of a tee peg in pushing buttons
  3. Clean the ball dispenser surfaces frequently
  4. Coach on the side of the range that fewest people can walk past
  5. Ensure pupils use their own equipment.

Retail
In reference to the Route map, Pro Shops can open for check-in purposes. Club members are advised not to enter the shop. Interpretation of phase one of the Route map suggests that retail outlets that can offer an essential only ‘click and collect’ service are acceptable subject to adhering to the social distancing, infection control and employee safeguarding measures.

Driving Ranges
If the driving range is indoor, or a combination of indoor and outdoor then the facility is not permitted to reopen in phase 1. If the driving range is fully outdoors and if access to the bays can be controlled with physical distancing and all appropriate hygiene measures in place, then these could reopen.

Risk assessments would need to be completed to ensure all areas are safe i.e. surfaces cleaned between use, ball vending machines restricted, sanitisation measures active. Facilities should also check with their own insurers that they are covered to restart operations.

Communication
Ensure that you tell your customers about the measures that you are taking to provide a safer environment. This will generate confidence not just in the present but also benefit the future when guidance changes.

Scottish Government guidelines may change into the future, however regardless of whether you are able to continue delivering a service to your golfing cohort it is essential that you maintain communication. Regular communication with your customers, who may themselves be experiencing extremes of isolation will assist in developing a community spirit that will serve you and the golf club well in the months to follow.

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