AFTER a lockdown of almost eight weeks, golf made a welcome return to Enmore Park last Wednesday, writes Richard Walsh.

The sun shone and the chance to get out into the open air, drive the fairways and putt the greens was really appreciated by everyone.

One of the first to tee off was former club captain Mike Rossiter, who said: “I have been a member at Enmore for 46 years but I can tell you that I was really excited to be out playing again.

“It made me realise just what a wonderful place it is and how fortunate I was to have the opportunity to be out there again.

“We are very lucky to be able to play golf in such a wonderful place as Enmore Park.

“I have played courses all over the world but if I had to choose one to play every day it would be Enmore.”

Ruth MacLennan was another who played on the first day, and she said: “It was just lovely to be able to get back out there.

“Gary Cook and the rest of the greenkeepers have done a wonderful job and the course was looking fabulous.

“It has been so impressive what the club has been able to do, like the lockdown lessons, to keep us in the loop in the last eight weeks - we have really felt involved.

“There is such a lovely atmosphere and I will never take what we have got at Enmore for granted again.”

Former club chairman Paul Waplington was a member of the working party set up by Enmore to plan for the return of golf.

“It has all gone well and I think that the members have all been very appreciative of the course reopening,” he said.

“We expected to have a couple of weeks to open the course, but it came about in two days!

“The staff have done a brilliant job to get the course ready for play, and their effort is really appreciated by everyone.

“The club decided that the loyal members who had paid their subscriptions but not been able to play any golf should have priority at the start of this.

“To make sure that everyone gets a fair chance to play we started with nine holes and playing off two tees.

“Hopefully we will be moving on from that, but we are waiting for the golfing authorities to make that decision.”

Barry Forster, the club professional, said: “It has all gone really well, especially when you take into consideration it was all a bit of a mad rush in the end.

“After all of the lockdown lessons and that sort of stuff people are being really complimentary about the course.

“Everyone is just happy to be out on the course playing golf and it has been good to catch up.

“The course itself looks fantastic, although the greens are probably a couple of weeks away from being spot on, which is because head greenkeeper Gary has only been allowed to do maintenance work and the grass has been growing like mad.

“We could probably do with a bit of rain but the course is pretty close to being in tip-top condition.”

There has been a plus side to the lockdown, as Waplington explained: “There has been quite a flurry of people who have signed up to become new members at Enmore, which is all good news.”