Golf really is a great social distancing sport: al-Naimi
July 24 2020 02:14 AM
Education City Golf Club.
A view of the Qatar Foundation’s Education City Golf Club.

While Qatar has begun to ease lockdown restrictions, there are still plenty of safety precautions in place that make exercising and playing sport in a social environment difficult. However, golf – where natural social distancing can easily be achieved – is proving to be the ultimate sport this summer.
“Golf really is a great social distancing sport,” says Mohamed al-Naimi, Deputy General Manager, Education City (EC) Golf Club. “Because it is played outside where it is possible – and extremely easy – to keep a safe distance between players. And this, in turn, reduces the chances of transmission. 
“It is a great sport in general though as it is both a mental and physical game. And this is especially pertinent now, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, golf requires an incredible amount of concentration, helping to engage the mind, and being outdoors – in a green, open space – combined with physical activity, can play a role in helping to reduce stress and anxiety.” 
Safety is at the top of the EC Golf Club’s priorities, says al-Naimi. “Our team has created strict procedures to make sure that our guests and staff members are well protected – from the initial booking online, to arriving at the facility in the heart of Education City, to eventually leaving the grounds.” 
As soon as members arrive, temperatures and Ehteraz apps are checked – a green barcode is required to enter the facility – and all those on site need to wear facemasks. Strategically placed stickers on the floor are also used to remind guests about the importance of social distancing. 
Additionally, only four players are allowed per group, with one golf cart per person, and specifically timed slots ensure there is no overlap on the various courses. At the end of the sessions, individuals are directed to the staging area to minimize contact between players.
Many of the EC Golf Club facilities are now open, including the 18-hole, 9-hole, and 6-hole courses, as well as the driving range, which utilizes an automatic power tee, providing contactless ball delivery to the golfer; short game area; center of excellence; and pro shop. And with the introduction of Phase 2 of lifting lockdown rules announced by the government a few weeks ago, members can now rent equipment, which is rigorously cleaned and sanitized, before and after use, by the EC Golf Club’s staff. 
“We are also offering our members coaching at the moment, all following strict safety procedures. We have 1:1 and 1:4 classes, with four different studios and the option of outdoor activities,” says al-Naimi.
“And while the facility is only open to members at the moment, during Phase 2, the club has a number of summer membership packages available, which anyone is eligible for. From monthly packages ranging from one, two, or three months to a full year. And if all goes according to plan, and the lockdown continues to ease, Phase 3 will see us open to the whole community, member and non-members alike, while Phase 4 will see us open up even further.” 
“Since we opened a few weeks ago, we’ve had a lot of people come down to the facility. It is an activity that is safe to practice, and therefore ideal for people who love sport.”

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