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Golfers ‘very excited’ to resume playing

Golfers are ready to hit the fairways again, the president of the PGA of Bermuda said yesterday.

Scott Roy said he had been inundated with telephone calls since it was announced that the island's six courses would reopen today after the Government announced shelter-in-place regulations would be relaxed in phases.

He added: “Golf courses, members and players are very excited.

“This is good news.”

The announcement that golf courses would welcome players is part of the “phased reopening of Bermuda” outlined by the Government on Wednesday.

Mr Roy said the reopening of courses would help to provide a return to routine for some.

He explained that the “majority” of people who enjoyed the sport played two or three times a week.

Mr Roy added: “They'll be able to get out and get some normalcy back.

“You can still meet up with friends, at a distance, and talk, and still be safe.”

He said that golf was different from other sports because of the large size of courses.

Mr Roy explained: “We have acres of golf course to be spread out on.

“It's not like football or basketball where you're one-on-one and close up.”

He added that tee boxes, fairways and greens all provided enough space for players to continue social-distancing while they enjoyed the game.

Mr Roy said that the reopening of courses also provided a health benefit because of a ban on electric carts.

He explained: “Courses, at least in the first phase, will not be using motorised golf carts.

“So we'll all be walking.”

Mr Roy said the decision had been made to transition back to full operation in stages.

He added: “Operating is going to be very different.

“We didn't want to say ‘here you go, here's everything' and then something goes wrong and we have to take stuff back.”

Mr Roy said that courses would also operate with limited staff.

He added: “If you were to start from the clubhouse, tee times will all be booked online and by phone.

“Pre-payments will be online, where available, and by phone.”

Mr Roy added that equipment would be handed out without personal contact, similar to the kerbside pick-up service for food used by restaurants.

Mr Roy said that the lockdown had been “tough” on the island's clubs.

He added that member clubs, such as Mid Ocean Club and Tucker's Point Golf Club, had fared “a little better” than public courses.

Mr Roy, the director of golf at the Fairmont Southampton Turtle Hill Golf Club, said: “We have members — but we rely heavily on the outside play to come in, which we haven't had.”

He added that clubs had been preparing for a busy season before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

But Mr Roy warned: “I don't think we're going to have it now.

“Port Royal and Turtle Hill rely heavily on cruise ships and hotel guests.”

He said that the Bermuda golf business would have to be “a little more creative” in the future.

Mr Roy added: “What that looks like, is yet to be seen.”

He appealed to golfers to be patient with staff as courses reopened.

Mr Roy said: “It's something new for everybody and we're all learning at the same time.

“We are very fortunate to be in phase one and we don't want to mess it up and be back on lockdown in two days.”

Game on: Turtle Hill Golf Club at the Fairmont Southampton is reopening today

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Published May 02, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated May 02, 2020 at 9:10 am)

Golfers ‘very excited’ to resume playing

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