Club captain questions ‘logic’ of ban on golf Open competitions

Scott Knowles, the Stephen Gallacher Foundation manager, has had to cancel events next weekScott Knowles, the Stephen Gallacher Foundation manager, has had to cancel events next week
Scott Knowles, the Stephen Gallacher Foundation manager, has had to cancel events next week
Stephen Gallacher Foundation forced to cancel an event

The captain of one of Edinburgh’s biggest golf clubs has admitted he is puzzled why open competitions are not yet being allowed to restart.

Golf’s phased return in Scotland since courses re-opened at the end of May has included club competitions starting up but not open events.

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They normally bring in valuable additional income for clubs, not just through entry fees but also in the pro shop and clubhouse.

In England, clubs were effectively given the green light to start running open competitions as soon as fourballs were allowed from the start of June.

But, north of the border, there is still no return in sight for golfers to play competitively other than at their home club.

In updated guidelines issued last week, Scottish Golf told clubs there was “no change in the stance on open competitions”.

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Karin Sharp, the governing body’s chief operating officer, said the reason for that was that golf is currently being viewed by the Scottish Government as “an extension to exercise” as opposed to a return to sport.

Duddingston captain Keith MacLeod used his latest newsletter to members to say he believes that more information is needed on the matter.

“For reasons not fully explained, the guidance from Scottish Golf continues to say that Open competitions are not permitted,” he wrote. “Club medals are ok, but Opens are not! The logic behind this is lost on me. This is a pity since Open competitions, especially those targeted at the mid-week senior player, are very popular.

“They bring in much-needed extra revenue to all concerned, the club, caterers and the professional.”

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The wait for open events to be given the green light has already forced the Stephen Gallacher Foundation to cancel one of its rescheduled tournaments.

Castle Park, near Gifford, had been due to stage the foundation’s under-10s and under-12s championships next week but new dates are now being looked at.

“Scottish Golf will not allow us to hold the event next week as they believe the event is an Open competition,” said Scott Knowles, the foundation’s manager. “We had tried to dispute this with them as we believe all the kids are members of Caste Park, as per our website.

“But, seemingly not enough players have Castle Park GC as there home club so Scottish Golf have demanded we postpone the event.”

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Two other events, including a new National Matchplay Championship, are also scheduled to take place at Castle Park over the next few weeks.

“We will be making decisions about them on Friday, “ added Knowles. “We are hoping that the Scottish Government may make an announcement on Thursday re more changes, fingers crossed.”

In an email sent to clubs yesterday, Scottish Golf warned it is ready to action if an open event before getting the official thums up. “If necessary, we will be applying sanctions to any organisation found to be in breach of the ruling on running open competitions,” said Sharp.