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Ready, Steady, Golf!

By: | Tue 19 May 2020 | Comments

Golf courses are back throughout much of the UK & Ireland, but due to social distancing restrictions, the game isn't quite what we knew, two-balls are mandatory, clubhouses are closed, and those post-round drinks are a thing of memory. However, Golfshake's Derek Clements has taken a fantastical gaze ahead, looking forward to a day when full normality returns, when we can once again do the things that once seemed mundane. 

I grew up in Glasgow and first started playing golf at the city’s municipal courses. I also played on a council-owned course in Leicester. They all had one thing in common. Such was the demand to play them, you couldn’t just amble up and head to the first tee.

In Glasgow you would have to arrive, put a golf ball in a shute and then go and amuse yourself for three or four hours before your ball reached the end of the shute. And you had to make sure you didn’t leave a good ball because, if you did, the chances are that somebody would take a fancy to it and remove it. You also had to trust that some plonker wouldn’t keep moving your ball back.

Part of the routine always involved a bacon sandwich smothered in brown sauce, washed down with a cup of piping hot tea served in a mug. It was something we always looked forward to. We really didn’t mind that we had to wait ages before we could start because we knew that we would get out there at some point. And probably get drenched. It was Glasgow, after all. 

In Leicester, to get a Sunday tee-time, you had to be on the phone at 8am on Friday. Back then there were no call queues. If the line was engaged you had to pick up the phone and try again. And again. And again. When you did eventually get through and request a 9am starting time, the reply would usually be something along the following lines: “9am? You must be joking mate. You need to be calling us first thing for a time like that. I can offer you 1.28pm….”

Why am I telling you this? Simple really. I have this vision that when we are given the all-clear to start playing again - without restrictions - there will be a stampede. A huge, glorious stampede. We won’t mind having to wait to get back out there because we will have waited so long as the world has dealt with Covid-19.

Online booking systems will be simply overwhelmed and will crash. You will try to call the pro’s shop and it will be a bit like trying to book a doctor’s appointment on a Monday morning. “You want to see the doctor today? I can give you a week on Friday at 5.20pm.”

We will be on hold forever. Waiting. Waiting. Listening to some awful piped music. But we won’t really care. We may want to play at 9am but so what if the pro tells us we can’t get on the course until 2pm.

Golf courses will be packed. The clubhouse will be heaving. We will meet up with friends we haven’t been able to see for the first time in months. Attitudes will have changed. There will be smiles and there will be laughter as old friends are reunited. 

So when we get the all-clear for golf to fully return, which one of your four ball will be given the task of sorting out the tee-time? Maybe all four of you will try to do it. Maybe it will be like the first day of Wimbledon. Maybe one of the group will be sent to the course the night before with a blanket and tent, instructed to pitch it outside the shop, waiting for the pro to arrive.

Maybe we will be nice to our greenkeepers. Maybe we truly won’t care about the condition of our course.

It will be a time for us to pull together, to reflect on what we have all been through and to move forward together. When we are able to play again, it will be a time to rejoice and reflect.

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