Published: 10:58, 11 January 2021
| Updated: 10:16, 12 January 2021
Golf is not allowed during the third national lockdown.
But that's not stopped England Golf's chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson from putting forward their case that the sport can provide a healthy - and safe - form of outdoor exercise.
Golf clubs, golf facilities - both indoor and outdoor - and driving ranges are closed during the latest lockdown. It was also one of the first sports to be permitted to resume - under strict guidelines - towards the end of the first lockdown.
But with the new variant of Covid-19 pushing infection rates up across the country, the government has decided that golf is not permitted at the moment.
Mr Tomlinson argued: "The public health crisis is uppermost in all our minds right now and I would ask government to consider golf to be seen as part of the solution as opposed to part of the problem itself.
"I would very much class golf alongside other pursuits such as walking, running and cycling which are already part of the country’s daily exercise routine.
“It’s often said ‘golf is a good walk spoiled’ – of course, I don’t agree with the sentiment of the phrase, but when you boil it down golf really is a sporting version of a walk in the countryside.
“It’s in the open air, you naturally socially distance, you don’t touch anybody else’s equipment, you get a mental and physical boost from taking part. It’s enjoyable and relaxing.
“If golf courses were open for limited play in line with government regulations on outdoor meetings, then it would also help ease the strain being placed on other open spaces and public parks which are currently able to operate in an unregulated fashion.
“If you reopened golf courses to allow the community of two million golfers in England to have that as a safe option for exercise, then I think that could be a huge positive in the fight against the physical and mental health issues posed by lockdown.
“We hope to be able to convince the government of that and at the very least to bring golf back sooner, rather than later.”
The government has allowed done a U-turn on angling, after initially ruling out fishing during the third national lockdown that sport is now allowed to continue on a local basis.