England Golf chief praises clubs and courses as players flock back to the fairways after coronavirus lockdown
PUBLISHED: 11:55 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:55 14 May 2020
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The chief executive officer of England Golf has declared it “fantastic” to see golfers return to the fairways across England.
Boris Johnson’s speech to the nation, aired on Sunday night, gave golf clubs the green light to re-open following the coronavirus lockdown, originally for solo rounds only or ones with members of the same household.
But that didn’t stop thousands of golfers picking up the clubs and heading into the great outdoors.
Speaking on Wednesday, the day the restrictions were eased, Jeremy Tomlinson said: “It was great feeling to wake up this morning knowing that the majority of our golf clubs were ready to take down that dreaded course closed sign.
“My phone has been buzzing with texts from pals thankful that their daily exercise can now involve picking up their sticks again and getting out on the fairways while staying true to the play safe, stay safe’ message.
“The jokes have started, the sledging won’t be far behind.
“It might be the weekend before I can get back on my course at Marlborough but I know from speaking to my chairman that there is a buzz about golf being back.
“Whether it’s going out with a member of your household or meeting up with a pal again, being able to play social golf will undoubtedly lift the mood of our golfing community.
“The hours since lockdown easing was announced - allowing golf to be one of the first sports to return - have been truly hectic.
“I’d like to acknowledge the amazing work that has been going on in the background to prepare for golf’s comeback.
“In challenging times, greenkeepers deserve a medal for the work they have put in to tend our courses and make sure that with just 48 hours’ notice they were ready for play.
“General managers, pros, committee members and all other golf club staff and volunteers have been through the mill and their Herculean efforts in trying to keep clubs afloat and communicating with members cannot be overlooked.
“To all of you I say - great job and thank you.
“The reality now, of course, is that there is more hard work on the horizon.
“The financial issues raised by temporary business closure during the pandemic also means that there are tough times ahead for all clubs.
“We are not out of the woods on this one. Rest assured England Golf will do all we can to support our clubs in the weeks and months ahead.
“The media interest in golf’s return has been huge. As such, we all have an opportunity to shine a light on our game and let others see what a wonderful sport it is, and one we will never take for granted.
“There are many challenges ahead, but today is a day to be celebrated and enjoyed.
“Today, more than any other, it really is the taking part that counts.”
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