England’s locked-out golfers face the prospect of being sandwiched between two countries where the sport is allowed to continue during the pandemic. This scenario could come as soon as the weekend if the Welsh Government decide to lift its lockdown restrictions on courses being closed. Golf clubs in Wales have been shut for more than two weeks after First Minister Mark Drakeford decided to shut down the nation before Christmas. But Wales Golf revealed on Tuesday that the ban could be reversed in a review on Friday, bringing the country into line with Scotland where courses are still permitted to open for two-balls. “The sport’s minister [former Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Elis-Thomas] has intimated that restrictions affecting golf will be considered alongside other relevant activities in the first formal review of the level four restrictions on Friday,” Wales Golf said in a statement. “In the meantime, Wales Golf will continue to promote the benefits of golf as an activity with established Covid-19 secure practices and a sport that can be played safely by thousands of people under lockdown restrictions across the country.” Hopes are high in the governing body following the publication on an open letter to the First Minister from Wales Golf chief executive, Richard Dixon. “The health benefits from playing golf have been well researched and are widely accepted by leaders in public health and public policy around the world,” Dixon said. “As an outdoor sport with detailed safety protocols in place it offers an ideal opportunity for participants to exercise safely. These benefits and the measures introduced by the industry in response to the pandemic are explored in more detail in the enclosed report produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf. “In light of the clear benefits that golf offers to approximately 100,000 players across Wales, and the damage to golf clubs across the country that will be caused by a further period of closure, it appears counter-productive to require that golf courses close under the recently introduced Welsh Government level four restrictions.” England Golf will be interested to see how the Welsh bid fares. On Monday, the Prime Minister indefinitely pulled down the shutters on the near 1,900 courses in the country for a third time. Lee Westwood, the former world No 1, on Tuesday added his name to an online petition to reopen the fairways as soon as possible. It gained more than 25,000 signatures in the first 10 hours and Westwood vented his frustrations on Twitter. “This is about people’s physical and mental health. That’s the point,” Westwood said. “Especially in the older age groups. The group they say they’re trying to protect.”


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