By Kent Gray
Sunday promises to be a good day for golfers across Saudi Arabia.
After more than two months of controlled movement and closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Saudi Government has set out a specific timetable to lift current restrictions in three phases, the first of which will see courses begin reopening from May 31.
The Saudi Golf Federation (SGF) has confirmed that all of the kingdom’s courses will reopen this week but with strict health and safety guidelines and precautionary measures in place. The key measures include the need for players to pre-book their round and wear masks upon arrival. Temperature checks will also be conducted on arrival for all members.
Additionally, only one player will be permitted in each cart while concierge services will be closed, meaning players will need to carry their bags to and from their own vehicles. To prevent overcrowding on all courses, tee times have been extended to 14-minute intervals, with a maximum of three players per slot.
“It is great news that we are now in a position to reintroduce the game we all love across the Kingdom, in line with the latest government regulations,” said Saudi Golf Federation CEO Majed Al Sorour.
“As one of the sports which can be played safely during this period, we urge everyone to be respectful of the phased approach taken by the Saudi Golf Federation.”
Restrictions now commonplace around the world to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be in force at Saudi clubs. Players are required tp smooth the sand using their club or their feet in rake-less bunkers while players are “forbidden” from handling the flagstick. Only one golfer should be on the tee at any given time to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
“We will continuously monitor the situation both in the Kingdom, and across the world and we have not ruled out the reintroduction of further restrictions if the guidelines are not followed correctly,” said Al Sorour.
“It is therefore imperative that both golf clubs and members take the necessary steps and adhere to guidelines, if facilities are to remain open in the weeks ahead.”