So it seems that we are now over the worst of the Corona pandemic, (depending on where you are). It’s been a while since restrictions were placed on schools, workplaces, and of course… golf courses! In our previous article we provided you with information on golf course openings and rules throughout Europe. This time we’re going to focus on how you can get to these courses stress free.
Most European borders have been opened by now and courses are playable again. But how do you go about planning your golf travel post Corona? There are restrictions everywhere you look and the fear of getting something wrong, missing a tee time or even losing your clubs may not be worth the effort. So we’ve done the research for you! From travel restrictions to booking your tee time … we’ve got you covered!
With the European tourism sector coming to a complete standstill in the past few months, it may be no surprise to find that countries are yearning to get borders reopened as soon as possible. This extraordinary situation has left a significant impact on the tourism economy, which may even see a 60-80% decline by the end of 2020 (OECD). The precautions taken were of course, very necessary and we are extremely thankful to be on our way out of the storm. However, we are also thankful for the possibility of a potential golfing getaway!
Where can I travel for golf?
First things first, where is it even possible to go? Well if you haven’t read our European Golf Updates blog, go check it out now. But to give you an overview, most European countries have opened their borders for tourism on the 15th of June. A few days before that the European Commission recommended to all member states to extend the entry ban on third-country nationals, which was set to expire on June 15, for another 15 days, until June 30.
Below you can see a list of popular golf destinations and their protocols to help you plan your golf travel post Corona:
- Spain 🇪🇸 – Spain will open borders as of 21st June, without quarantine requirements for citizens arriving from EU Member States (except Portugal) and Schengen area countries, assuming reprocity. Only road borders with Portugal remain closed and will be opened on 1st July.
- Portugal 🇵🇹 – Only allowed for: nationals of EU27, Schengen Area countries (Liechsteinsten, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland) and their family members, passengers on flights from UK, Brazil and CPLP, USA, Canada, Venezuela and South-Africa. Suspension of visa processing for the remaining countries.
- France 🇫🇷 – No compulsory quarantine for travellers from the EU, associated Schengen countries or the UK, except if the country of origin requires travellers from France to quarantine (reciprocity principle). Voluntary quarantine for travellers coming from Spain by plane and travellers coming from the United Kingdom. Quarantine is mandatory when travelling to French overseas territories.
- Italy 🇮🇹 – Travelling to and from the following countries is allowed: Member States of the European Union, countries that are parties to the Schengen Agreement, the United Kingdom, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City State and Republic of San Marino.
- Greece 🇬🇷 – All visitors originating from EU/EEA Member States that are in the EASA affected area list or from Italy, Spain, Netherlands or Sweden are subject to tests upon arrival into the Athens airport until June 30th.
- Germany 🇩🇪 – open borders to 31 European countries, including the UK, replacing controls with individual travel warnings for each country.
- Ireland 🇮🇪 – All non-essential overseas travel to and from Ireland should be avoided. Before starting your journey, please check visa requirements at www.inis.gov.ie. Passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are legally required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form. Passengers arriving from overseas are expected to self-isolate for 14 days.
- United Kingdom 🇬🇧 – Passengers arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train – including UK nationals – will be asked to provide an address where they will self-isolate for 14 days. Travellers can be fined £100 for failing to fill in a form with these details.
- Austria 🇦🇹 – On June, 16 Austria’s borders opened to EU, EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and EEA (European Economic Area) countries, with the exception of Sweden, United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal.
- Switzerland 🇨🇭 – Switzerland is also lifting its entry restrictions for persons from the Schengen Area. However, it reserves the right to conduct health-related measures on arrival for persons travelling from countries with high numbers of new infections in relation to population size.
- Netherlands 🇳🇱 – Tourists from EU or Schengen countries can enter the Netherlands. However, tourists from Sweden and the United Kingdom should go into quarantine for 14 days.
- Belgium 🇧🇪 – Borders are open for travel to and from the European Union, including the United Kingdom and the four other Schengen countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway).
- Denmark 🇩🇰 – Borders are closed for non-Danish citizens who do not reside in Denmark or do not have a valid reason to enter Denmark. If you are resident in Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland or Iceland, you can enter Denmark in case you are going to stay in your own summerhouse in Denmark. Borders still closed to other countries until at least August 31st.
- Sweden 🇸🇪 – People without symptoms can travel in Sweden. It is important for everyone to maintain distance from other people, both while travelling and at the destination. Before your journey, check with the municipality (”kommunen”) that you intend to visit if there are any local restrictions.
For more information per country please visit the newly launched platform Re-Open EU, a web platform to support a safe relaunch of travelling and tourism across Europe.
Golf travel post Corona by plane
Countries around Europe that have ‘handled’ the outbreak well have seen a positive upturn in flight searches recently according to the latest figures from Exchange Wire. Greece has seen the largest increase in flight searches after announcing the opening of their tourism sector while Portugal is also proving popular among potential tourists. Statistics from Eurocontrol show almost a 10% increase in flights since the beginning of June. This is expected to rise continually.
While it is still not encouraged to plan an international trip, we understand that some of you may have already booked or are looking at booking international flights. Below we’ve given you some practical tips for your air golf travel post Corona:
- Wear a mask! 😷
- Choose a window seat, if possible
- Remain seated as much as possible
- Follow instructions and guidance from crew
- Use contactless payment
- Be aware there is likely to be a reduced food and drink service. You can pre order meals when booking.
- Choose, a seat not next to the restroom, as it is a spot visited by many passengers.
- Use alcohol-based sanitizing wipes to clean surfaces and areas around your seat.
- Keep overhead air vent open in your direction.
- Limit your inboard movement.
- Avoid putting your hands on your face.
- Do not use the airplane’s magazines located in your seat holder.
- Immediately after landing, do not rush up on the aisle for your exit.
- For more info. see TravelDailyNews.com
As for luggage (golf clubs)….some airlines have advised against bringing hand luggage. It is likely that the fees to bring your golf clubs on a plane will rise because of the Corona crisis. Always check with the airline what the current fees are.
As an alternative you can – usually – rent golf clubs at the courses your playing. Another option is to rent clubs for a longer period with a service like clubshire.com who offer full sets starting at €40,- per week.
Booking tee times
Just showing up at a golf course when you want to play a round of golf without having any reservations, seems like a tale from yesteryear. The “new normal” is that every tee time has to be booked online in almost every country. This way golf courses can manage the number of golfers visiting their course much better.
At Leadingcourses we welcome this new rule, as it is the most convenient way to reserve your tee time. No more hassle of calling or emailing with a (foreign) golf course, waiting for a reply or getting lost in translation, but simply going online, finding the date and time you want to play and making your payment.
At the moment well over 350 golf clubs are directly bookable online (again) on Leadingcourses.com. As restrictions loosen up, more an more clubs will be added to this list.
As you book your tee time, we recommend that you opt for our “cancellation fee”. We understand that plans may change or that Corona related issues force you to change your mind. Therefore we’ve added a cancellation option to all paid tee time bookings. If the €5 cancellation option is chosen while making the booking, then the tee time can be cancelled at no charge within the indicated cancellation period.
If you purchased the cancellation option during the time of booking and you cancel within the indicated time period, you will receive a 100% refund, including the cancellation fee.
All that’s left to do for you is pack your bags and play golf!