WALES Golf has called for a different approach throughout the country to recognise the new government advice around coronavirus social distancing.

The governing body announced the measures following the decision to delay qualification for team championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The changes in social golf include players not shaking hands, maintaining a distance of at least two metres between them, leaving the flagstick in and unattended while putting and picking their own ball out of the hole.

Richard Dixon, chief executive of Wales Golf, said: “Golf in the open air should be a safe environment for players, as long as they take suitable precautions in line with the latest health advice.

“Clubs will be instituting policies concerning their facilities, such as bars, pro shops, restaurants and changing rooms, and of course the use of hand washing and hand sanitisers, before, during and after golf is key.

“Changes to the approach for social golf should ensure it is still a safe and healthy activity, bringing a wide range of mental and physical benefits.

“In line with the R&A, PGA, golf club managers (GCMA) and greenkeepers (BIGGA) associations, Wales Golf would ask anyone with any symptoms of COVID-19 not to play.”

At the higher competitive level, there will be changes in qualifying for the men's and ladies' team championships, the Victory Shield and the Ping Mixed Foursomes.

Matchplay qualifying events were due to get underway at neutral venues starting in April.

David Wilson, Wales Golf championship manager, added: “In recent days it has become increasingly clear that the current qualifying format for our four team events will not be possible amid the Coronavirus measures being introduced.

“This is obviously a very uncertain situation, but the intention is to find ways of staging these events in 2020 if possible. We will release further details as soon as possible.”