Companionable golf for the fortunate few

Sunday 24th January 2021 7:00 am
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Nigel and Steph Gregg are among the fortunate few privileged to play

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Normally, members are used to playing millionaires’ golf at Castletown, accustomed to simply rolling-up for a casual game with mates or choosing when to play. The only dilemma is trying to dodge the inclement weather.

Even with the current Covid-19 restrictions, golfers across the Isle of Man are extremely lucky compared to their counterparts in the UK and participants of other sports who have been forced to cease their activities.

Such is the demand for singleton tee times during lockdown that Castletown Golf Club members were canvassed on various options that would allow more play in a safe, controlled and monitored manner.

One obvious solution was to shorten the tee-time interval from the standard eight minutes down to six minutes. Unfortunately, the software vendor Intelligent Golf was unable to accommodate this request, so other ideas had to be considered.

A total of 138 members completed a survey and, with nearly 85 per cent stating that they would be content to play only nine holes or did not mind about not playing 18 holes, it was then a case of deciding on how best to achieve this.

Taking car parking issues into consideration, the majority agreed that it was preferable to have two loops starting from the clubhouse rather than just playing the front nine or the back nine loop.

Hence, from last Saturday, members must now pre-book up to seven days in advance to play either holes 1-3 and 13-18 or the second loop starting from the Road Hole and thus playing holes 5-12 then finishing with the 4th.

During quieter times, members are welcome to continue by also playing the other loop, but only if they do not cut in or disrupt the progress of those already playing that loop. To ensure that all members are afforded ample opportunity to play, online booking is restricted to a maximum of three rounds per week.

However, if there are spare tee slots available for the following day, members can email or telephone Andi Howland on 822211 to secure such slots.

It is hoped that these restrictions will soon be relaxed to allow responsible, socially-distanced groups to play together. Until then only the fortunate few are in the privileged position of being able to play companionable golf with someone from the same household.

As happened during the last lockdown, the Bay Green Restaurant is running an excellent pre-ordered takeaway service on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Orders can be texted to Caroline and Jane on 413139 and must be placed by midday on the day before collection, which will be available from 2pm on the day required.

MALCOLM LAMBERT

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