Play to return but in very limited way

Otago Golf Club director Shelley Duncan prepares for the sport’s return. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Otago Golf Club director Shelley Duncan prepares for the sport’s return. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Desperate golfers are clamouring to book tee times on Tuesday but the game is likely to be very different when it returns.

The country will move from Alert Level 4 to Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday.

The tight restrictions on New Zealanders will loosen up just a tad and golf can resume albeit in a very different form.

Otago Golf Club director Shelley Duncan said the Government was yet to provide detailed guidelines on how the sport could continue safely under Level 3.

She expects that information today and is anticipating some temporary but fundamental changes to the sport.

You might not be able to putt the ball into the hole for example. That has long been a problem for many weekend warriors, but for the more proficient player it is a key part of the game.

"We still don’t have the guidelines from the Government as to what we can and can’t do," Duncan said.

"They will be able to play but it will be very limited, I think.

"They’re talking about only being able to play in your bubble. Potentially there will be no flag, no tee markers and no holes on the green.

"No clubhouse open, no golf shop open; it will just be a walk in the park hitting a ball around, basically."

There will also need to be some solid procedures in place to allow for thorough contact tracing. Despite the restrictions there has been plenty of interest.

"I’ve probably had 20 people wanting to book tee times and more people will turn up.

"We’ve got to work through how we are going to manage people.

"There is a lot of work to do in a hurry and that is why it would be good to know a little bit more. But the Government has so many things to work through and golf is probably down the bottom of the pile.

"Hopefully, when we get to Level 2, things will get back to kind of where we were. The flags will be able to go back in and we’ll put those PVC pipes in the bottom of the holes like we did before we went into lockdown so people don’t have to touch the flag.

"It will be more normal and probably competition golf will be able to resume. But, again, those guidelines might change. We just don’t know yet."

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