While many golf courses in Wales re-opened on Monday May 19 – with other changes, such as arriving dressed for golf and putting on golf shoes in the car park – Wales’ best known club remains closed.
The Celtic Manor Resort near Newport – host to the Ryder Cup in 2010 and with around 1,000 golf club members spread far and wide – does not plan to re-open its courses until June 1 when they hope that the restrictions may have been lifted further.
Celtic Manor spokesman Paul Williams says: “Due to the restrictions on only being able to play with members of the same household, and those on staying local, we don’t plan to re-open at present.
“But we are working hard on putting in additional safety measures and amending our playing procedures so that we are ready to start golf again as soon as possible. And the staff we have working are making sure the courses will be ready to play.”
Just a couple of par fives away from the Celtic Manor, at Llanwern Golf Club, though, it’s a different story.
It’s a different kind of club with a much more locally-based membership and it has embraced the opportunity to open its fairways – albeit with strict following of the new rules.
Llanwern has only around the half the membership of the Celtic Manor and few live any significant distance away.
The club has already been busy posting clips on their Twitter account of members teeing off – including one of young member Taylor Pardue landing a beauty straight onto the green with the opening drive of the day.
Ian Harrison, the club’s strategy and policy director, says it was important the club fulfilled its community role of providing physical and social benefits to all its members.
“We are pretty happy that the protocols we have put in place provide a safe working environment for our staff as well as a secure one for the members to come and play,” he says.
“We have adapted our booking system and people are mostly playing single ball golf on their own, or, a few of the fortunate ones are able to play with members of their own family.
“It’s wonderful to have golf back, however strange it seems with the restrictions. Although much of the emphasis has been placed on physical exercise, we really value the aspect of mental health.
“We have some members who are over 65 and living on their own, and golf provides them with some crucial social interaction. That’s essential.
“At present, we have one set of rules for golfers this side of the Severn Bridge and another set just a few miles over the other side, but hopefully, in time, that will change.”
Members should contact their local club to ensure they understand the processes that have been put in place as they may differ from club to club. Contact should be made before attending your club’s course.