MEMBERS of most golf clubs across the Isle of Wight will be allowed to play against someone other than from their own household this Wednesday.

This afternoon (Monday), prime minister Boris Johnson set out in PM's Question Time session his clarification of a slight relaxation of restrictions for playing one-to-one sports following his statement last night.

The PM had originally stated golf courses in England would reopen on Wednesday, but only for solo play or for two from the same household, which had disappointed many clubs.

But today, following lobbying by England Golf, the sport's governing body, Mr Johnson delighted clubs by allowing two people to play each other not of the same household, as long as social distancing regulations were observed.

Currently, Cowes Golf Club and Shanklin and Sandown have put in place on-line tee-off time booking systems to start at 8am on Wednesday, with Ventnor and other clubs set to follow suit.

Osborne Golf Club will remain closed as access to it can only be made through the Osborne House entrance, which has been shut while Covid-19 lockdown rules remain in place.

On Wednesday, golf clubs will allow one and two-ball play, with strict protocols in place for safe play, but clubhouses will remain closed under existing lockdown rules.

There will be no competitive golf action at any Island club for the forseeable future.

Shanklin and Sandown club pro, Peter Hammond, said: "It makes sense. It is a step forward on the road to recovery.

"We are fortunate to be able to play a sport which allows safe, social distancing.

"It is good news. It will give everyone a bit of a pick-me-up."  

The government guidance document, entitled Staying Alert and Safe (Social Distancing), reads: "From Wednesday, May 13, the government will also allow outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, golf courses and bowling greens, to open. Clubhouses will remain closed.

"But you should only use these alone, with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while keeping two metres apart at all times."

Bowls clubs on the Island look set to take a little more time over how they plan to reintroduce play, while tennis clubs are looking to return to the courts as soon as possible.

While Ventnor Tennis Club plans to introduce one-to-one play on Wednesday, subject to its committee's ratification, Ryde Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club will wait on the Lawn Tennis Association to give the green light on reintroducing play for tennis and croquet, no earlier than next Monday, May 18, to allow strict safeguards and protocols to be put in place, according to its chairman, Richard Hutchins.

Mr Hutchins said: "At last we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel."