Golf courses were among the first major sports and leisure attractions re-opening after Spain’s lockdown was lifted – and Murcia was at the forefront of the eagerly awaited return to the fairways.
With 22 superb courses in the region, all within 35 kilometres of each other and complemented by stunning natural scenery and average temperatures of 19 degrees, it is clear why Murcia is considered a golfers’ haven.
International golfers are also able to take advantage of the modern Corvera Airport Murcia (inaugurated in January 2019) and its excellent connections with the UK and other countries and key cities around Europe.
Offering diversity, quality and incomparable weather, the Costa Cálida’s popular destinations are not just offering a traditionally warm welcome to visiting golfers, however. The national and regional governments, and local town halls, are also ensuring that tourists are protected by the full gamut of Spain’s meticulous health and safety regulations and coronavirus protocols.
Hacienda del Alamo, El Valle, and La Torre were among the top courses opening first, followed by the Costa Cálida’s most renowned golf resort, La Manga Club, in July. “All,” noted tourism authorities, “offering thrilling golf and delightful sunshine for more than 300 days of the year.”
Tourists keen to book their golf trips for later in the year and in 2021 can take advantage of plans by leading airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet and Jet2 to resume their regular flight schedules, currently operating at reduced frequencies.
The region’s return to golf has been subject to strict safety measures and guidelines established by the Institute of Spanish Tourism Quality (ICTE) in collaboration with the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, regional golf federations, the Spanish Association of Golf Managers (AEGG) and the Spanish Greenkeepers’ Association.
“Ahead of reopening, each venue has undergone a thorough risk assessment to ensure the safety of all visitors and staff members. Each club identified the risks and then introduced a plan of action to mitigate them, while also taking into account the recommendations of the health authorities on personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing.
“Each golf club must be compliant with outlined hygiene and cleaning requirements for the prevention and control of COVID-19 and other possible infections, and they have all introduced enhanced and thorough cleaning regimes, as well as hand washing and sanitising facilities.”
All rounds of golf have to be pre-booked online or over the phone. Out on the course, players are required to observe a safe distance from players outside of their household and avoid physical contact such as handshakes. Rakes have been removed from the bunkers – so sand needs to be smoothed with a player’s club – and flags must stay in the hole at all times, with each hole featuring a stop that prevents the ball from descending all the way in.
Buggies are in use but, again, can only be shared by players of the same household and must be disinfected by club staff after each round.
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