Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA) has been given permission to hold competitions, use caddies and open club restaurants following representations it made to the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).
ZGA applied for resumption of competitions and the return of caddies to make the game more exciting. Most players found it difficult to finish their games without the help of caddies to carry their bags.
Government lifted restrictions on golf in May but barred the opening of club restaurants and use of caddies as part of strict Covid-19 safety precautions.
In a letter to provincial presidents and golf clubs titled “Introduction of caddies, opening of club restaurants and hosting of competitions,” ZGA said Covid-19 health protocols should be observed at all times.
“The approval shall in addition to other legislation and policy directives relating to the containment and prevention of Covid-19 be subject to the following additional conditions:
“Adhere to the operating timelines for club restaraunts (6.30am -6.30pm). Adhere to the limit of not more than 50 spectators. Caddies adhere to the caddie safety protocol as published by ZGA. Before any competitions can be held, prior notification should be given,” reads part of the letter.
Resumption of golf competitions and opening of club restaurants comes as a huge relief to various clubs, as they had gone for more than five months without any revenue despite the high costs associated with maintaining a golf course in addition to wages.
In lobbying for opening of clubs, ZGA sought permission for clubs to sell alcohol on a take away basis to enable them to sustain their operations.
As part of social distancing, caddies shall maintain a two-metre gap with the golfer at all times.
Cleaning of golf balls and golf clubs shall remain the sole responsibility of the golfer as a way of reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
The caddie is required to place the bag at the tee-off marker and immediately step two metres away from the golfers.
Around the greens, golfers are expected to carefully repair ball marks where appropriate without getting “too close” to fellow players and caddies.
“Safety of everyone on and off the course remains of paramount importance hence it is important for everyone involved with golf to strictly adhere to protocol for the benefit of all,” said ZGA. [email protected]