It’s time for golf clubs to open their gates | Letters

We are being urged to do what we can to help the NHS during the coronavirus crisis by exercising once a day, close to home, and respecting physical distancing. While there are many uplifting stories of communities coming together, as a golf club member I am not aware of many golf courses currently closed for golfing activities opening to the general public during the shutdown (Lockdown is nothing new. We’ve been kept off the land for centuries, 22 April). In many built-up areas they are the largest green spaces around, and could relieve the pressure on overcrowded parks and pavements.

Most golf clubs seem to have been happy to use taxpayers’ money in order to furlough most of their staff, while not reducing subscriptions for members. I am aware that golf clubs are seen by some as the preserve of the rich and privileged.

From the golfing community’s point of view, it would be great PR to be seen to be sharing their amenities at this time. Are they afraid that people would trample on the hallowed greens or that children might make sand castles in the bunkers? Is the risk really so great? A polite notice asking people not to walk on the greens should suffice.
Jane Gomm
Gresham, Norfolk

o It’s said golf is a good walk ruined but it may be time to rethink. Caversham Heath golf club should be applauded for not padlocking the course and instead welcoming responsible use by the public, but it’s time to think bigger (Private schools’ land targeted for families without gardens, 12 April).

Large green spaces owned by private educational institutions should surely be made available to offer more space to exercise for those living in in cramped homes with no garden. And while we are thinking about space, why are we struggling to keep our distance along narrow pavements when so many roads are now almost empty?

Some German cities are making new road markings for temporary cycle lanes for the duration of the lockdown, meaning more space for cyclists and walkers. In Philadelphia, almost five miles of Martin Luther King Jr Drive has been closed to traffic in the interest of facilitating physical distancing as nearby leisure trails became too crowded. Why can’t we take similar, sensible steps?
Guy Shrubsole
Trees campaigner, Friends of the Earth

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