Golf courses reopen after short-lived ban
IN A remarkable turn of events, the NSW Government's Office of Sport has reconsidered the decision to ban golf, with play now allowed to resume in adherence with Public Health Orders.
From now on, golf courses across the Northern Rivers can open if they choose, according to a Golf NSW statement.
It caps a whirlwind 24 hours, which at one point saw clubs facing a bleak financial outlook.
Ballina Golf Club president Jenny Ellenbroek said Ballina's decision to reopen from Friday had been popular with club members.
"I've had very many calls from members congratulating the industry on making this decision," Mrs Ellenbroek said.
"At this point in time, we're only opening the course to members because we can communicate the message about social distancing with them very effectively."
Nationals MLC Ben Franklin, who was a proponent of reopening golf courses, said it was important the public could access these community assets during this time.
"This decision was important because as many different forms of exercise as possible should be available to the community during the pandemic," he said.
"We all need to take the appropriate precautions to avoid exposure to COVID-19, but it is vital that we maintain our physical and mental wellbeing at the same time."
In a statement, the Office of Sport said it was important to ensure some active outlets for people to maintain their physical and mental health.
"Maintaining the public's physical and mental wellbeing is now as important as ever. Where possible, it is important sporting clubs and organisations continue to allow people to exercise," the statement read.
While there will have to be some tweaks to ensure play meets the Public Health Orders, Mrs Ellenbroek said Ballina was willing to do it for their members.
"There's a lot of work behind the scenes in terms of managing in terms of the timesheets and trying to separate the people congregating near the pro shop or hitting off at the same time," she said.
"It's that like-minded companionship … there's still a sense of belonging which is really important in these difficult times."