When I did this write up last week, I really thought that it would be my last “positive” attempt to relay to you as members what we are going through in the golfing industry. But nothing has happened except for two golfing entities seeking legal opinion and challenging the government as to firstly, the legality of the golf ban. Secondly, that in the regulations there are no details prohibiting golf from being practiced on a golf course under the exercise clause.
Then both Dainfern and Kayalami Golf Clubs were raided by police during the weekend and we as golfing industry were tapped on the fingers by the Director General of Sports, Arts and Culture, Mr. Mkhize, through a letter already dated on the Friday prior to the raids stating: “It has, however been brought to the attention of the Department that some of the Golf estates have resumed play despite the fact that there has been clear communication about due processes regarding the return to play”.
Sorry I again lost the way and in order to deter me from doing that again I thought it appropriate to leave you with a piece from the columnist John Cockayne entitled “Fawlty logic is keeping golf courses closed”.
“I have been following the increasingly bizarre story of the continued lockdown of golf. Judging by the four telephone calls I had on Wednesday morning, I am not alone. The consensus from these calls and others is that what is going on with golf and the decisions being made about it are not only nonsensical, but also make dear old Fawlty Towers look like a well-oiled machine.
Rarely do common sense and a legal opinion align. However, in terms of playing golf this rarity has occurred, not once but on several occasions, in which senior legal opinion has been that not only should we be playing golf, but that the legal right to do so is covered by any rational interpretation within the current regulations. This means that no special permission or edicts should be required. However, the government has, not for the first time and not only in relation to golf, flipped-flopped within versions and qualifications of its own statements and wording, sowing even more confusion, both for the golf community and itself.
A central player in this mix has been GolfRSA (GRSA), which was formed six years ago to be the overarching body for amateur golf in SA. This is the first real test that this body has faced, and when asked the consensus is that it has failed to make an effective case with government for golf to be reopened. Other strands to this disappointment are emerging.
A key challenge for a number of golf club managers is that they are being pressured by GRSA members who see the body as an irrelevance. The bottom line for members is that they have paid their subs and dues and are being prevented from using their private facility as members. They contend that this refusal is based on some arcane and constantly changing interpretation of its own resolutions by a government which seems increasingly to be losing touch with the reality of the situation and the facts on the ground. It is also felt that GRSA is being “too polite” and even “pandering” to the government over this issue and that the federation needs to push back. This push back is being seen as especially important in areas such as the government’s apparent misunderstanding over the use of the term “public” in “public places” and people congregating together, when they are being so clearly misapplied to the circumstances around golf.
We need to find balance in this mess, and it should not be forgotten that the original discussions and document presented to the NCCC, was tabled by various golf bodies including GRSA. What also gets lost in the mist of feeling is that all noncontact sports have been equally affected by the continued closure. The scenario is not unlike the rules of “house arrest”, under level 4, where the government was forced by the serious discrepancies in social, economic and housing issues, across SA’s population, to adopt a one-size-fits-all solution. This was reprised with sport, which meant that no sport could be played, irrespective of the individual and structural circumstances surrounding that particular code. With such a protracted process, all that this writer is seeing at this point is a requiem being prepared for those parts of the golf sector and jobs, which will be laid to rest forever, if the status does not change immediately. In all these maneuverings and deliberations by departments and official bodies, the human tragedy that is unfolding is in danger of being lost from view.
If we stop for a moment to look past the wrangling over the golfers wanting to play and the closed courses, we can see those who have been out of work for weeks and whose livelihoods are threatened by permanent extinction.
I had a very open and frank telephone discussion with GRSA CEO Grant Hepburn who confirmed that the original solutions, the proposed reopening, had been accepted and were still in place. However, he said unforeseen issues with the wording of the government’s draft regulations and court challenges to the validity of the level 3 and 4 lockdowns has caused a delay in the confirmation processes. He wants to assure SA’s amateur golfers, that no stone has been left unturned to ensure the reopening of the golf courses and he believes that with just a little more forbearance, there will be a positive outcome in the very near future.
We have previously seen the government make 180-degree turns on its own public statements, so we hope this doesn’t prove to be the case with golf. In a time of social distancing, perhaps any dancing analogy is not the best fit, but be that as it may GRSA cannot dance alone. It takes two to tango, so let’s hope the government does its bit and the golf courses are reopened without any further delay.”
I just couldn’t say it any better. In the meantime, stay positive but more importantly stay healthy.
Thank you very much to all those members that helped with payments into the Covid-19 Disaster fund. We appreciate every cent that is donated.
A small amount was paid into the Covid-19 Disaster Fund leaving us with a balance in the fund of just over R17 000 to allow us to pay each caddie R1 000 on the 15th of June 2020. Should we not open we will then still have one “payment” available to the 17 caddies on the 15th of June 2020.
Should any member wish to further contribute to this fund please feel free to use the following bank account with the reference Covid-19 and your name. We will ensure that full transparency allows anybody insight into the eventual distribution of these funds.
Thank you to the Poise Cup
A word of thanks must also go out to the Poise Cup group under the energetic leadership of Solly Rajah who donated food parcels to our 17 caddies. These food parcels will be handed over to the caddies on Friday 12th of June.
PGC launched its first Mobile communication App last week, and we have been astounded by the positive response. We have already downloaded and connected more than 130 members and growing daily.
To give you an idea of what the Application looks like on your smart phone or tablet, below are a few screenshots to whet your appetite:
How do you join the rest?
The App needs to be loaded on to your smart phone or tablet. All you need to do is follow the instructions below:
1. Please click here or search for Spotlight Social in your App Store
And that’s it – you are good to go!
We would like to test the waters through a questionnaire with the idea behind it to determine what you as member of Paarl Golf would like to “see” when we open again. Just maybe we will be able to surprise each and every one of you if we know in advance what your thoughts are on golf in general as well. Thank you to everyone that will spend some time on the few questions.
It will make Paarl Gold Club a better place to be.
Please find herewith some guiding details of playing golf under Covid-19 restrictions and what we as a club would expect from you when we open the golf course. Please spend some time in going through in order to arrive at the club with the knowledge and making our task easier to control the situation to the benefit of all our members.
Before the round
• Clubs to organise a system of booking and allocation of tee times that ensures the safety of staff and golfers.
Arrival and waiting to play
• The clubhouse and locker room facilities will be closed. Limited essential access (for example to use the toilets) may be allowed by the club.
1. All rakes and ball retrievers to be removed.
Hole and flagstick
1. Flagsticks can be retained, but it is strongly recommended that a sign is put on the flagstick stating that it is not to be touched. There are various options in order to do this . We have opted to cut a pool noodle to the right height and wrap it around the bottom of the flagstick.
1. Practice areas, including practice nets, to be closed unless safe sanitizing practices can be guaranteed.
During the round
Guidance and reminders should be provided by clubs/facilities to golfers is to ensure that they keep at least five metres apart during the round.
• Inform golfers that they should only make their way to the tee once the group in front is leaving the teeing area.
• Remind golfers to stay more than two metres apart when walking, searching for a ball or playing shots.
• With no rakes allowed on the course, remind golfers to make their very best efforts to smooth the sand using their club and/or their feet.
• Remind golfers to keep two metres apart on the putting greens and not to touch the flagstick, not to share pitch mark repairers and always only handle their own equipment such as clubs and balls.
After the round
Score entry by the golfer using their HNA App and not done at the club. Remind golfers that social distancing is as important after a round as it is during the round, so when the round is completed they must leave the course and the club/facility immediately so that there are no gatherings around the clubhouse area.
Rules of golf related matters
Until further notice, the following provisions are considered acceptable on a temporary basis:
1. It is recommended that non-competition play is used during the initial period of golf being played, and that stroke play competitions involving players in different groups are avoided.
• Players may enter their own hole scores on the scorecard (it is not necessary for a marker to do it).
• Should clubs not assign an individual to rake bunkers, they can declare bunkers “waste areas” that are raked each morning during standard maintenance procedures and encourage members to smooth with their foot/club upon exiting.
• Golfers are always required to leave the flagstick in the hole and not to touch it. It is a matter for the committee to decide whether it establishes this policy by way of a Code of Conduct or Local Rule, and whether it provides a penalty under the Code of Conduct or for a breach of the Local Rule.
Hole and ‘holed’
• The hole liner (sometimes referred to as the hole ‘cup’) is to be set in a way that means that all of the ball cannot be below the surface of the putting green, so the ball is considered holed if any part of it is below the surface of the putting green.
Please note that modifications to the Rules of Golf during Covid-19 are for handicapping purposes only and should not be used for formal competitions, of which we expect very little of at the present time
Thanks to Franz Lohbauer who identified the gentleman on the right to be Werner Mayer.
I did not receive any help on the three gentlemen below. I will therefore give it another week for our members to come through and help me out. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you recognise the gentlemen in the photo.
Cape Whiteye (Glasogie)
This species is about 12 cm long with rounded wings, strong legs, and a conspicuous ring of white feathers round the eyes. The upperparts are green, and the throat and vent are bright yellow.
They are very vocal, and constantly keep in touch with soft trilled pee, pree or pirreee callnotes. The song consists of repeated long jerky phrases of sweet reedy notes, varying in pitch, volume and temp, usually starting off with teee teee or pirrup pirrup notes, then becoming a fast rambled jumble of notes, which may incorporate mimicked phrases of other birdcalls.
Behaviour, feeding and breeding
This is a sociable species forming large flocks outside the breeding season. It builds a cup nest in a tree and lays 2-3 unspotted pale blue eggs. The eggs hatch in 11–12 days, and fledging occurs in another 12–13 days. The peak breeding season is September to December.
The Cape white-eye feeds mainly on insects, but also soft fleshy flowers, nectar, fruit and small grains. It readily comes to bird feeders.