‘Record numbers’ at one club before second lockdown

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 21, 2020 07:06

A report on golf before the second lockdown in England suggests that record numbers played on the eve of course closures in early November.

It concludes that ‘only the Masters will provide some solace for those golfers lucky enough to be able to watch it’.

Dustin Johnson reacts on the 18th green after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on November 15, 2020 in Augusta, Georgia. Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

The blog post, published by The Guardian, details a member of Okehampton Golf Club near Dartmoor, on the day before the course was forced to close.

It comes as new figures for participation at UK golf clubs in October reveal record growth compared with October 2019.

‘The roll-up had attracted record numbers,’ it stated. ‘It was chilly but the sun was shining and this was going to be the last possible outing for four weeks. Everyone strained hard to be cheerful despite the looming lockdown.

‘The club pro, as ever, was in a positive mood even though he was in the process of shutting down his shop for the next month so there would be no income for him from that vital source.

‘The greenkeepers were not going to be placed on furlough so the course should be in brilliant condition whenever golf resumes, which was also the case back on May 13 when the club reopened after the first lockdown.

‘Several of the golfers were grumpy at the impending ban, asking what was the difference between walking around the course with a friend and a golf bag and striding out with one companion half a mile away up on the moor, which is permitted. I’m not an expert and generally take the unfashionable view of giving credence to what the experts say but as I surveyed several octogenarians briskly climbing up to the 15th green I could not help thinking that this seemed to be doing them no harm whatsoever. In fact it was doing us all good. Despite the odd triple bogey we all finished our rounds feeling healthier and happier.’

The writer then turned his attention to Augusta.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

‘So it’s back to sedentary sport on the TV. For golfers there is the allure of Augusta on our screens and golf seems to work remarkably well on television without any crowds.

‘So the Masters, with or without the azaleas, will provide some solace for those golfers lucky enough to be able to watch it. But sitting in front of yet another screen is a poor substitute for being outside and playing the game and it involves no exercise assuming the remote control has not disappeared somewhere inside the sofa.

‘With the pandemic and parliament denying us this luxury we have another striking reminder of how getting out and participating in some sort of sport – it does not matter which one – enhances our lives and wellbeing far more than we ever realised, no matter how good or bad, how young or old we are.’


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 21, 2020 07:06
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1 Comment

  1. Gurr November 22, 14:31

    Is it good news that schools can still use golf clubs as it’s part or their education?
    Where as no one else can.

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