It had been seen as a rare athletic escape in the age of the coronavirus.

Because it is played in wide open fields, does not require people to share equipment or come into close contact, it had been considered by some as a way of exercising as gyms and leisure centres shut.

But now golfers across Scotland have been told to stop playing in the wake of strict lockdown measures announced by Boris Johnson -  who stepped away from ordering the closure of parks.

Many golf courses had remained open, with adults and youngsters taking the chance to get exercise during social distancing measures.

But now Scottish Golf  the national governing body for the sport in a move that is expected to lead to clubs shutting courses, appealed directly to the public, and the players to players, rather than the clubs, which have already shut clubhouses and restaurants.

"While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message to all of us is clear, we must stay home and play our part in containing the spread of Covid-19," the body said.

"With this in mind, Scottish Golf asks that all golfers in Scotland refrain from golfing until further notice. 

"We understand that this advice will have a significant impact on golf clubs across the country and we will continue to consult with industry partners to provide clubs with all information and support possible during this time of deep uncertainty. 

"We know that these decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the Government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we get the opportunity to play the game that we all love as soon as it is safe to do so."  

Some clubs have began announcing that their courses were out of bounds.

Lenzie Golf Club announced it was "with heavy hearts that we have taken the decision to close the golf course. This is effective immediately.

In an announcement it said: "We are monitoring things on a day to day basis. It will remain closed until restrictions are lifted.

"We would ask that all members respect the closure and take advice from the government and stay at home. This is for everyone's health and safety."

England Golf announced all golf clubs and courses  must now close

All championship and performance events scheduled to take place up until and including June 7 have been postponed.