Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 30: Saudi Arabia’s best-known golf course, the Royal Green Golf and Country Club and more than dozen other courses will be open for play from Sunday, May 31. This comes after government guidance said the Saudi Golf Federation (SGF), which has confirmed that all of the country’s domestic golf courses will reopen this week starting Sunday.
The Royal Green Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) has hoisted the Saudi International in 2019 and 2020 and was due to host the inaugural Saudi Ladies International before Covid-19 forced a postponement. The Ladies event is likely to be held later in 2020.
After more than two months of controlled movement and closures, the Saudi government this week set out a specific timetable to lift current restrictions in three phases.
All golf clubs were included in the first phase of the government’s plans and have been given official permission to allow their members to return. However, there are strict health and safety guidelines and precautionary measures that golf clubs must adhere to, if continued play is to be permitted.
Golfers must pre-book their round in advance, and wear masks upon arrival. Temperature checks will also be conducted on arrival for all members and anyone showing signs of illness will be asked to leave the course.
Commenting on the measures put in place to ensure golf’s safe return in Saudi Arabia, Majed Al Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation, said: “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. 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.”
Al Sorour continued: “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. 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.”
Physical distancing means members must keep at least two meters apart from each other at all times. Only one golfer per Golf carts will be permitted and concierge services will also be closed. That means 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. This gap will not be altered for one or two balls. Restaurants and cafeterias will remain closed for seating, with takeaway orders possible via the on-course cart or telephone order.
For payments, only contactless or card payments will be accepted. Shower and locker facilities will also remain closed.
Following the play of a hole, players should not enter the next teeing area until all members of the group in front have played their tee shots and left the tee box. Only one golfer should be on the tee at any given time.