With the arrival of spring, the mild temperatures and the impending opening of several golf courses in the south of Quebec, the fans saw the perfect opportunity to put the nose outside and tickle the little white ball. It will be impossible.
But golf courses and training centres are to be targeted by the restrictive measures announced by the prime minister of quebec, François Legault. They are added to the list of closures of public places of leisure and sports to stop the evolution of the pandemic.
And this, even if it is an outdoor sport where are met the measures of social distancing. As in all sectors of the society, the losses will be huge.
For several days, both in North America and elsewhere in the world, there is a lively debate about the practice of golf. Acceptable or not ? The arguments are many in support of and against.
It plays with our neighbors
In the United States, although land close secondarily their doors, the practice of golf is encouraged in respect of health measures.
Thus, the recommended cuts raised in order to avoid putting the hand to retrieve his ball. The flags should remain in place, the rakes are removed in the pits and pavilions are closed to prevent gatherings, such as areas of training.
Would it be wise to follow the example of this country where we see explode in the case of infections ? Asking the question is answer it.
In Europe, now the epicenter of the pandemic, nearly half of the courses are closed according to a count of the English magazine Bunkered. The practice of sport is banned in at least nine countries of the Old Continent.
Not surprising that in Québec, the government measures health now affect the golf industry.
As the snow covers the ground in the majority of regions, were not thought to include it in the closed places. But in the south of the province, several courses were ready to welcome the golfers.
Before this event, the ministry of Education, governing recreation and sports, so has the attention of the industry by issuing its guidelines for public health on Thursday morning. No imbroglio.
Proactive in these times of uncertainty, the Association des clubs de golf du Québec (ACGQ) has communicated the decision to its members.
“It was believed that golf would be an outlet for fans. But it is not necessary that our industry is treated separately in this pandemic. It is necessary to be responsible, vigilant and adapt to the situation, ” said president Martin Ducharme, from his office at the Golf Château-Bromont.
“Any business must comply with the rules, regardless of the sector,” recalled the executive director of Golf Québec, Jean-Pierre Beaulieu. It is necessary to act in society. With the great role played by the government Legault currently, we don’t have to play it to the police as an agency of the provincial government. It is necessary to use the social conscience. “
Throughout the week, the major players in the field have multiplied to the conference calls. In seeking to unite in these difficult times, and more uncertain at the dawn of the new season, it was not a question of bande à part. Each of the sectors, looks at solutions to be ready when it will be possible to hit the ball.
The ACGQ has sent a letter to all its members, recalling the main lines, while providing valuable advice operation.
In the fog of the COVID-19, the clubs may not turn down the arm. The course must be maintained and ready when the revival of the sport. It is in may, June or even in July, the slogan “get Out, Golfing” of the provincial body cannot be more just at this time.
Of course, like ski resorts, this seasonal industry receives a hard blow. The unexpected cancellation of the three shows ExpoGolf will leave deep scars in the balance sheets of the summer of 2020.
These represent the cash cow of the clubs as they allow them to pocket the money needed for the operating budget to start the season.
In total, these rooms generate revenues of approximately $ 3 million, reported the director of ExpoGolf, Mark Fraser, who has quickly created a website an intermediary between customers and the clubs to replace its trade fairs.