Golfers back on course as covid restrictions loosen
Lanhydrock’s head professional, Alister Tawse
31st March 2021
By Tom Howe
Golfers got back into the swing of things against the beautiful backdrop of Lanhydrock as coronavirus-induced restrictions were eased on Monday.
With much of the country blessed by mild weather and sunshine, Lanhydrock were one of England Golf’s 1,800 affiliated clubs and facilities reopening for play after an enforced 12-week closure in line with Government lockdown guidelines.
With fourballs permitted and England Golf’s ‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ protocols updated and in place, players who utilised the club’s online booking system were permitted to return to Lanhydrock when doors opened at 7.00 am on Monday morning.
Club professional Alister Tawse told the Voice his lessons were fully booked throughout the entire week, with a busy schedule lined up for a long time to come as courses come alive once again.
“We are full today,” he beamed. “We’re packed, obviously with coronavirus regulations and everything but it is good. We are lucky. We have kept the whole greenkeeping staff on over lockdown so the course is actually looking fantastic. The response at the moment is very good. Everyone wants to be out playing golf and I think everyone is desperate to play golf.
“We run online and are fully booked for members and visitors for the whole week really. There are a few tee times available but we are trying to keep some buffer zones in there to keep it sensible really.
“We opened at seven o’clock for the first lot out but opened the shop at six o’clock just to get everything ready. I have been in all weekend getting everything sorted. Golf is the first sport really to be allowed back. It is probably the safest sport to play at the moment. Hopefully we will lead the way.
“We are a resort so we will probably be opening in phases. There is limited clubhouse access and you need to check-in at the reception. We are allowing people to use the toilets but through a separate entrance. There are sanitise stations too.”
Lanhydrock will open their retail section and outside catering in line with the Government on April 12. From May 16, their hotel can open and that is when the club will return to something like full operational status.
“It is our third time [reopening] so we actually know what we are doing. We have got a good handle on it but hopefully it will be the last time. We have got a seniors competition on Wednesday and a club competition on Saturday. People are coming up but not going into the clubhouse, they are checking in and going straight out to play so there is no social drinking or anything like that afterwards.
“I think the key is that people are getting back out, walking and interacting again. It is good for your physical and mental health. We have got a full car park. People are desperate to get out there. Members are pretty understanding of the situation and most of them wear their masks coming in and everything. I think everyone is tuned up to it really.
“I start my lessons today [Monday] and have a full schedule all week. It has the same feeling as last year really when we opened up and had a mad six months. I think it will be the same again. We have actually got between 50-60 staff and are down to a bare minimum of 20 at the moment. We have got a lot on furlough that will slowly come back.
“As a business we thankfully had a very busy summer and the furlough scheme has helped a lot. We wouldn’t want to go through it again but we are looking fairly healthy. The forward bookings are excellent. We have got a few things coming up. We have the G7 summit and God knows what that is going to be like. It looks like Cornwall is going to be very busy this summer and that benefits us.”
Jeremy Tomlinson, chief executive of England Golf, said: “It was fantastic to see the ‘course closed’ signs being removed and a steady flow of golfers back onto first tees all over the country.
“The game means so much to so many people. That buzz of meeting friends, hitting shots, holing putts and enjoying a sport that provides benefits for both body and mind is something we have all missed terribly.
“I’d like to offer my thanks to everyone involved in making sure courses were ready for play and booking systems were up and running for the safe return of golf.
“For most of the country, the sun shone for the game’s return and it is our sincere wish that golfers continue to enjoy the sport, have a fabulous 2021 season and that golf clubs remain the beating heart of communities all over England.”
Tawse concluded: “If you fancy having a game at Lanhydrock then have a look at our website. There is an online booking system there that you can use which is very simple.”
For further information on the course and its facilities, as well as to book your tee time, visit https://www.lanhydrockhotel.com/golf/