More changes on the way as clubs adapt

Allison Mulder, of Dunedin, plays a shot at Chisholm Links earlier this week. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Allison Mulder, of Dunedin, plays a shot at Chisholm Links earlier this week. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Tee times are in almost as much demand as toilet paper was a month ago and the enforced changes to the game are likely to stay.

Golf is one of a small handful of sports that have been able to operate under Alert Level 3.

But a drop to Level 2 may mean more changes. New Zealand Golf chief executive Dean Murphy told a golf industry council meeting this week flags were going to come back and preferred lies in bunkers would be introduced, but rakes were unlikely to return any time soon.

All balls within 30cm of the hole would be deemed to be holed.

Clubs would have to register all players and although clubhouses would be open, the rules around gatherings would apply.

St Clair Golf Course professional Patrick Moore said the tee times were largely booked out from 8.30am-4pm each day, except rainy days.

While green fees were up, sales at the pro shop were restricted to online or contactless payment and that had affected revenue.

The retail side was pretty quiet and he was hoping for an increase in a move to Level 2.

Scores do not count because under Level 3 the cup is raised out of the hole and players only need to clip it for the putt to be recorded as being made. Cards are not handed in for handicaps.

Otago Golf Club director Shelley Duncan said that had helped speed up the game and lower scores.

"I’m sure there is a lot of people who would probably prefer it if the cup stayed raised," she joked.

Duncan expressed some similar sentiments to Moore around the economics of the game, but was also optimistic.

"It is definitely worthwhile having the doors open. The cash flow has started again and the great thing is we’re signing up members.

"We would have signed up 20 new members and I think people are seeing the value of being a member of a golf club."

Additional reporting by Neville Idour

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