Thu | Jul 2, 2020

Local golf to return in July

Published:Monday | June 29, 2020 | 12:23 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
The Tryall Golf Course in Hanover.
The Tryall Golf Course in Hanover.

Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) President Peter Chin says tournaments will tee off in July as the country eases restrictions on public gatherings and sporting activity after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sports, and golf in particular, have been on hold since March with the amateur junior golf trials being the last tournament to be held before COVID-19 put a halt on play.

While some local course remained open during the pandemic, resort courses and local tournaments were affected by the shutdown. But Chin says the sport is ready to get back on track.

“We will be kicking off the return of golf with our Junior Cup in early July, and then our first charity golf tournament will be the Jamaica Heart Foundation event on the 11th of July at Constant Spring [Golf Club],” he said.

Chin said that the National Amateur Championship will also take place in July at the Half Moon Golf Course in Montego Bay.

“We are hoping to get competitive sports back on the road, so to speak,” he said.

“In the US, pro golf was the first major sporting event to restart, with already three PGA events held, and we would like to get golf up and running, so we have big plans in store.”

NEW PROTOCOLS

Chin said that the restart of the sport will bring with it new protocols which every golfer and golf course will have to adhere to.

“We have adopted the protocols that the US Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club have established, and what we have done is to look at those protocols and adapted them to local conditions,” he said. “We have presented those protocols to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, who have given us their blessings and we are ready to go.”

Some of the new protocols to be implemented are one player per golf cart, as opposed to the usual two, as well as one or two caddies per group, as opposed to a caddie per player in the past.

All other social-distancing protocols will be maintained and golfers will be required to wear a mask and sanitise once they are at the clubhouse.

The JGA is hopeful that the 2020 edition of the Jamaica Open will still be a reality after what it considers a successful staging at the Tryall Golf Course in Hanover last November.

“We are still hoping to host that event as Tryall is still willing and able to host it,” Chin said. “We also surveyed with all the players who played last year and most of them said they will be willing to come back to Jamaica to play.”

Patrick Cover of the USA won the 52nd Alacran Jamaica Open last year.