Answered: Why are medals off the menu at Carluke Golf Club until at least May 1?
Coronavirus restrictions have led to official competitions at Carluke Golf Club being suspended until Saturday, May 1.
That is despite today (Tuesday’s) announcement that Level 4 lockdown rules are to be eased from Friday, meaning that people can now travel across Scotland and meet in groups of up to six adults outdoors.
The Carluke GC committee – which originally reached the decision to curb medals due to travel restrictions meaning only groups of up to four people from a maximum of two households were allowed to meet outdoors – is sticking to its guns by postponing medals for the next two weekends.
Club secretary Gavin White confirmed to the Carluke and Lanark Gazette that, as from this Friday, members from anywhere in Scotland can all play in fourballs.
However, this isn’t the case until then, with any members based outside South Lanarkshire only being able to meet up for a ‘bounce game’ as part of a four if they live in a maximum of two households.
Gavin added: “Guidance came out which mentioned that if you were travelling into another local authority it could only be for informal exercise rather than formal which is what a competition would be.
"The whole thing was quite vague. What you’ll find if you contact other golf clubs is that some are continuing with medals, some have stopped medals, some never started medals. The whole thing just became a wee bit problematic for us.
"We decided, rather than risk any breach of Covid regulations, we would just halt.
"Until we receive confirmation from Scottish Golf that medal play is permitted, we are still not going to hold any medal competitions.”
The decision to stop competitions at Carluke was reached after the season opening April Medal on April 3.
Gavin said that the anomaly of local authority travel rules has meant that Carluke members living in the outer reaches of South Lanarkshire (for example Leadhills is 33 miles away) could play legitimately whereas players from Wishaw and Motherwell (just three and five miles away respectively) fell foul as they were both in North Lanarkshire.
"We think it is slightly flawed but we’ve gone on the basis of safety,” Gavin said.
“We want to be categorically sure that we are staying within the Covid regulatons.
"We have around 40 to 50 members from North Lanarkshire.
Gavin said that the decision to scrap medals for the next two weekends had provoked a considerable response from Carluke GC members.
He added: “Obviously, depending on where they stay, we have had all sorts of comments made.
"Some supporting it, some saying: ‘Why shouldn’t we play medals? It doesn’t seem fair, it’s a silly rule’.
"You could write a book on it to be honest but as a committee we decided we were not going to risk being accused of breaching any of the Covid regulations.
“There is no guarantee that the May Medal will be played either because all the restrictions are subject to confirmation.
"What we are saying is that we hope that will go ahead. We will be optimistic but not categorical.”
The Gazette also contacted Lanark Golf Club for confirmation of our understanding that similar curbs on competition play have been implemented there.
A statement read: “We follow all government guidelines and guidelines from the SGU.”
Encouragingly for golf clubs and the rest of the general population, coronavirus cases in Scotland are continuing to fall significantly.
The latest figures released on Tuesday showed that there had been 221 new cases recorded in the previous 24 hours, with three new reported deaths.
A total of 133 Covid patients were in hospital, including 20 in intensive care.