Golf starts to reopen in Ireland, with many COVID-19 restrictions still in place

Jason Lusk
·2 min read

Club members in Ireland were able to play golf again Monday as the Republic began to ease COVID-19 restrictions that have shuttered courses for more than 200 days in the past year.

This follows in the wake of Ireland’s neighbors reopening golf in recent weeks. England reopened the sport March 29, and Northern Ireland resumed golf April 1. The sport is also open in Scotland and Wales.

But the game isn’t open to everyone in Ireland, home to many of the best links golf courses in the world. In this first phase of reopening, players must be registered members of the club at which they are playing. General daily-fee tee times are not yet available, and golf tourism is still shut down.

Belmullet Golf Club at Carne Golf Links in western Ireland. (Photo: Jason Lusk/Golfweek)

For players who are members of clubs, they would need to live fairly close. Golfers are allowed to travel only within their home county or 20 kilometers from home to play, as travel restrictions will remain in place for an undetermined time.

The Irish reopening is part of Golf Ireland’s Return to Golf Protocol, and that group’s CEO, Mark Kennelly, urged players to join clubs if they haven’t already.

“We’ve already seen an increase in membership cards being produced since it was announced that golf would be one of the first sports to return,” Kennelly said in a media release announcing the resumption of golf. “The Golf Ireland Club Support and Development Team are on hand to support clubs in running recruitment and retention programmes such as the Get into Golf and Junior Framework initiatives.”

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International travelers will have to wait to play with the current restrictions. Travel from the United States to Ireland necessitates COVID testing and a 14-day quarantine period with the Irish government urging only essential travel. The U.S. State Department has advised against any travel to Ireland.

Meanwhile, there’s an abundance of time for Americans to dream about links golf. Check out this story from 2019, as Golfweek’s Jason Lusk sampled some of the top links layouts stretched across the north Ireland and into Northern Ireland.

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Golfweek's Best 2020: Top Classic courses in Great Britain and Ireland