Here at Bunker Mentality, we're very excited that golf courses are back open in England.
It seems like forever since we were actually out there strolling down the fairways (or through the rough!). We got our very own Bunker Tom to diary his return to golf:
Tuesday 12th May
It’s basically Christmas Eve. Everyone in England I’m sure is feeling the same. The anticipation. The excitement. GOLF IS BACK!
Granted, it’s not going to be golf as we know it, but to be able to walk the fairways once again is just what we all need. It’s been a long 7 weeks, made even longer by the generally perfect golfing weather that we’ve been having. Sneaking a look at the local course and it looks absolutely perfect, but that has just added to the torture of not being able to get out there. However, when Boris told us on Sunday that extended exercise was to be allowed from now on, we still didn’t know if golf would be included in these new guidelines. Fast forward less than 48 hours later and, thanks to all the hard work of those at England Golf, the R&A and other associated governing bodies, we have been given the green light.
Now what? The stress begins! My club has around 600+ members, all itching to get a tee time, so how on earth was I going to get one!? Times available for booking went live at 7pm…and of course the booking system crashed due to the demand. What a nightmare. This was always bound to happen in some capacity, but why me? Do I refresh, do I wait…..then suddenly, it happens. Tee Time booked!!
And so the clock watching begins – 5:30pm on Wednesday cannot come soon enough.
Wednesday 13th May
I think this is actually better than Christmas! The only problem is the jealousy of seeing those already able to play while I have to wait until after work. But having waited over 50 days, another 9 hours won’t hurt.
Of course, this then gives me chance to plan my first game day outfit of the summer. Checking the weather forecast, I don’t think that is going to be too much of a problem….weeks of temperatures up around 20 degrees have been replaced by a high of 9 degrees and light breezes. Looks like its going to be all about layers and maybe even a bobble hat. The bobble hat is maybe more to hide the lack of a haircut rather than purely for warmth!
In line with the guidelines issued by England Golf, there are no practice facilities open at my club, and there is no opportunity for a little warm up before later. This first tee shot could be very interesting. One perk of working for a golf brand – there’s always golf clubs around the office. A few loosening swings during my lunchbreak soon make me realise that I probably shouldn’t expect too much from today. Amazing how a golf swing uses muscles and movements that just aren’t in our everyday lives. Definitely jealous of all those people that have been able to practice fully in their back gardens.
Thursday 14th May
HOW GOOD IS GOLF!?
Isn’t it amazing how having so long away from the game makes you appreciate it so much more. So what if you don’t quite hit the ball how you’d like to, and so what if you miss that straight five-footer for par. Golf is back, and I think every golfer in England is very appreciative of that fact.
Surprisingly, standards weren’t too bad either. Saying that, expectations weren’t exactly high! Greeted on the first tee by a starter to read out all the enforced rules definitely threw me….I wasn’t expecting an audience. Luckily, I just about nudged the ball forwards (I’ve hit worse opening tee shots having spent half an hour warming up and having played for the past 7 days…) and we were off. Nine holes, five bogeys and one birdie later (all in just over an hour I might add) and the return to golf was complete. I think that’s the most I’ve actually enjoyed playing golf in a long time.
It’s very surreal to have to concentrate so much on not touching anything other than your own equipment, and even more bizarre to go into a bunker and not have to rake it afterwards. Strange though, I don’t remember seeing a rule about not having to repair pitchmarks? After 50 days of no one being out on the course, they could have only been made by people playing earlier that day, and there was definitely plenty to repair. Still, what’s a game of golf if there isn’t something to moan about afterwards?