Golf Club and Facility Guidance (COVID-19)

Last update: 28 May 2020

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This advisory contains:
  • Guidance for Golf at Alert Level 2
  • COVID-19 Related Guidance on the Rules of Golf
  • General Guidance for Golf Clubs and Facilities
  • Support Resources for Golf Clubs and Facilities

Alert Level 2 for Golf
At Alert Level Two, playing of golf can be undertaken however there are firm measures in place to ensure the health and safety of all in the golf sector and the community. It will take some time before sporting life in Aotearoa returns to normal and it’s important we all play by the rules to prevent another wave of COVID-19 cases. The Government guidelines for sport at Alert Level 2 can be viewed at 

Exercise and recreation is an important part of maintaining our health and wellbeing however we must continue to be aware the playing of golf presents a risk of transmission.

There will be a natural desire to get back to normal business quickly, however we strongly encourage all clubs and facilities to thoroughly understand the guidelines. This information should support your planning however your club or facility will need to make your own decisions and take responsibility for understanding any restrictions and requirements. We are happy to provide advice however we cannot confirm or endorse operational plans.

The most important principle is to ‘play it safe’ and remain physically distant from others. The health, safety and wellbeing of your staff, members, golf participants and the wider community is of paramount importance.

If your club opens its facility for play at Alert Level 2, it must do so under the following guidelines:

General Guidance

1. The golf course, clubhouse, pro shop, changing room and any other facility at the golf club can open at Alert Level 2.

2. All staff, players, visitors must adhere to general government advice; particularly all recommended hygiene measures. Click here for further hygiene and sanitisation information.

3. For golf clubs, strict hygiene and sanitisation practices must be maintained throughout the facility including all common touch points and surfaces. Facilities must have a written plan for safe operation in place - guidance on this topic can be viewed at

4. A system to record and retain the contact details of all staff, players and visitors must be in place to enable contact tracing should it be required. Click here for information and guidance on contact tracing.

5. Physical distancing (2 metres encouraged) between all staff, players and visitors should be maintained. Distancing should be maintained on the golf course and throughout all club facilities.

6. All indoor facilities at a club need to restrict entry to a maximum of 100 people. Operations across any indoor facilities must follow government guidelines as published at

7. All groups should be seated, have separation from other groups, and be served by a single server if possible. When customers are entering/exiting the clubhouse or paying, clubs should manage these processes in line with the distancing and serving guidelines.

8. Any staff who are on site should be provided with any appropriate personal protection equipment to ensure they can remain healthy and safe.

General Golf Operations Guidance:

9. All players should wash and dry their hands before and after play.

10. Shotgun or multiple tee starts should can be held if they can be managed in a manner that does not see groups of golfers congregating. 

11. Groups of golfers should maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres between themselves and other groups on the course.

12. Club events and competitions can be held so long as there is strict adherence to hygiene, distancing and gatherings regulations.

13. While the national handicap system will be operational, physical scorecards should be avoided if possible. If scorecards are used, exchanging of cards should not occur.

14. All pins should be removed from practice putting greens.

15. Pins / flagsticks can be on the course however they should be left in the hole and should not be touched or removed by any player.

16. Bunker rakes can be on the course however a local rule will be provided by New Zealand Golf for bunker play should clubs not want to have bunker rakes on the course.

17. All drinking fountains, ball washers, and shared sunscreen stations should be closed.

18. Any shared club equipment must be cleaned after each use.

19. Coaching can be undertaken on a contactless basis and with strict 2 metre distancing being observed.

COVID-19 Related Guidance on the Rules of Golf
New Zealand Golf has received a large number of enquiries from our golf clubs regarding the Rules of Golf and the continued playing of golf during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we move into Alert Level 2, thankfully the playing of golf starts to return to some form of normality.

The key difference between Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 is that under Alert Level 2 the New Zealand Golf Handicapping System is live again and golf can be played outside your bubble.

New Zealand Golf has developed COVID-19 related guidance on the rules of golf that specific covers matters such as Scoring in Stroke Play, Flagsticks and Holing Out and Bunkers.


If you have any questions please on this Rules of Golf guidance, please contact Dave Mangan on

General Guidance

New Zealand Golf Operations
Essential New Zealand Golf services will remain in place over the next four weeks however our office is now closed. All events have been cancelled or postponed through until at least August 2020. Click Here to view more details.

Social Connection for Club Members
Many golfers rely on the social connection at their golf club as a normal and essential part of everyday life. Clubs might consider offering a telephone service where members, particularly elder members, can check in and connect. 

COVID–19 Support Resources
New Zealand Golf are committed to supporting the grass roots of golf through COVID-19.

As the alert levels begin to alter, we are making a concerted, practical and action oriented effort to support clubs and facilities back to full operation.

Click here to view our support resources on:

  • Contact tracing
  • Agronomy support
  • Financial considerations
  • Staff and volunteer support
  • Membership retention and communications
  • Business continuity
  • Leadership insights


As a final thought, please look after yourselves and your families – life will return to normal but for now it’s home time. As a golf sector its important to be positive and all stay connected as much as we can. Golf will be important to so many New Zealanders once we emerge from this current crisis.

Please be in touch with New Zealand Golf if you have any queries.



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