AS the local golf industry continues to battle the ravages of the pandemic, just like the rest of society, some quarters welcomed the idea that the sport might yet receive some respite from the lockdown.
In a statement last weekend, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said sports and social activities were among privileges being considered for those folk fully inoculated (i.e. two Covid-19 vaccinations).
He said: “I hope these (relaxations) can give the people a bit of room or breathing space to live a slightly better life.”
Understandably, this was met with much enthusiasm by many in the industry, hoping for change of fortunes and a relaxation of the lockdown that has seen even maintenance operations suspended in some areas.
But that interest and emotion was also tempered with caution and perhaps none better than by the Golf Club Managers Association of Malaysia president Dr. Ronnie Yeo Ngo Tee
Yeo said they would welcome the reopening of golf clubs and their related business concerns, but stressed that a move such as this would have to engage the strict enforcement of the standard operations procedures (SOPs) put in place by the health authorities.
“It would be incumbent upon the clubs themselves to ensure that the SOPs are followed to the letter and that there be no deviation at all.”
Yeo added that several other measures could also be considered to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
“For instances, the enforced closure of the changing rooms would eliminate part of the threat,” he said.
“The mingling of members after a round of golf is not necessary in times such as these.
“We would suggest that the golfers proceed directly to the buggy stations from the car park when they arrive and then on to the course. Note that the tee-time bookings would have been done online.
“Once the round is complete, the players could then proceed to their vehicles and head home.”
So what about the confirmation of a player having received two vaccinations?
“This could be done two-fold,” said Yeo. “This can be checked at the entrance gate of the property and then again at the buggy station, before the players head off to the tee box.
“Making it compulsory to wear a face mask on the tee box is something that could also be introduced to help the situation. This was not done previously and might well be useful if things were opened up, even partially,” said Yeo.
Prior to the complete lockdown, the use of a single buggy by one player was enforced, as were several other SOPs, including the suspension of jumbo flights, MySejahtera check-ins and golfers to register 20 minutes prior to tee-off times.
“This was all well and good,” said a veteran administrator, who spoke to TeeUp on condition of anonymity.
“But the golf terraces should also remain closed.
“This is where the golfers tend to congregate and as we know mingling is not a good thing for Covid-19.
“We might also suggest that the clubs ensure that all their staff have received both jabs before they are allowed to interact with the members.”
Efforts to get a comment from the Malaysia Golf Association (MGA) on these developments proved unsuccessful.