Al Zorah Golf Club in Ajman is the latest club in the UAE to reopen its doors during the coronavirus pandemic. The first UAE clubs to reopen, under strict precautionary measures, where the three Troon clubs in Abu Dhabi and now the stunning Ajman club, also managed by Troon, has followed suit.
Both members and guests can tee it up from 8:30am until 1:30pm on the Nicklaus design course, which opened in 2015, but there will be restrictions and strict guidelines advised by the club’s ownership, Troon and local authorities for health and safety measures and social distancing advice that must be followed. Included in the long list of rules are: one golfer per buggy, maximum of three golfers playing together, all golf holes have been adjusted so that the cup presents the ball in a manner that allows the golfer to pick up their ball without touching the flag, players must bring their own food and soft drinks, no cash payments and all individual temperatures will be checked upon entry.
But is golf safe to play during the coronavirus pandemic? Jill Weatherhead, an assistant professor of infectious disease at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said on USA Today: “Golf is very unique in that aspect in which of course you can be in a bit more wide-open space, you’re using theoretically your own equipment. And in those circumstances it’s probably going to be safe, although because we don’t know much about this virus, our understanding is constantly evolving.”
Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, also believes golf is a rare athletic escape from the coronavirus. He told the Wall Street Journal: “I believe that adequate social distancing can be performed with golfing. If people can remain six feet apart and not touch common surfaces the game is likely safe.”
Let’s see if other golf clubs in the UAE follow suit but it may be a while longer for those based in Dubai with the emirate still in lockdown.