Golf clubs back on course after restrictions relaxed

Clubs in Yorkshire are experiencing an upturn in membership since the return from the coronavirus lockdown, with the county’s union hoping the trend can become a permanent one.

By Andy Bloomfield
Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 8:25 am
Bridlington Golf Club
Bridlington Golf Club

Recreational golf was one of the first sports that people could play once lockdown restrictions eased, with clubs re-opening to members on May 13.

And the Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs have reported encouraging figures from the large majority of their 183 member clubs courses across the county, including those in the Bridlington area.

Bridlington Golf Club head of facilities and golf Anthony Howarth said: “I am not sure that more people are starting to play but it seems that those who have played casually seem to be taking the next step into membership.

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“We have taken on over 20 new members in the last couple of weeks and this seems to be happening across the region.”

Jonathan Plaxton, secretary of the Yorkshire Union, said: “Golf is flourishing after a period of time when the courses were closed and nobody could play.

“Initially it looked like a large number of members would use the pandemic to decide whether they would continue as members, whether that be concerns over their jobs, their mortgages or whether they were older players just taking it as a chance to hang up their clubs.

“But what we’re seeing by being one of the first sports back is a large number of people from other sports, like cricketers, footballers and rugby players, taking up golf.

“And because golf clubs have generally been looking after their members by prioritising their play, these new players are taking up memberships to ensure they get a tee time.

“They have been taking advantage of the many offers that clubs have been running as well.

“At first we thought this influx of members would replace the amount we lost in the period of inactivity, but it’s looking now like we might turn that into a nett win.”

So much so that some clubs are reporting an uptake of 30 to 50 members, while one club in York revealed it has attracted 120 new players on top of a previous membership of 170.

“The true picture will emerge at the end of the year after those clubs that have a financial year ending in April report their half-year uptake in October, and those that run for the calendar year report at the end of December,” continued Plaxton. “We are very pleased at the way it is going at the moment and long may that continue.

“The challenge now is to retain those members into next year.”

Bridlington Links EGGS (Elderly Gentlemen Golfers) are continuing their return to action.

Last Tuesday an 18-hole 1, 2, 3 competition took place.

The winning team of Peter Rudlinton, Kev Spark and Ian Sawyer took the honours with 80 points followed home by Kev Lockwood, Jamie Carter and Jon Garthwaite on 77.

One two was recorded, Jon Garthwaite on the 14th.

A nine-hole 1, 2, 3 competition was also played on the day with the team of Micky McNamara, Mal Beaumont and John Paterson coming out on top with 39 points with Martin Bainbridge, John Booth and Eric Giles runners-up.

The Thursday nine-hole competitions were reinstated after the lockdown with a best three from four played.

The winning team of Gavin Giles, Brian Smyth, Steve King and Charlie NcNulty were the winners with 59 points closely followed by Pete McBride, Ron Broadhead, Dave Spencer and Dave Moorhouse on 58.

Brid Links results

Mary Giles Trophy (2nd leg) Nine Hole stableford. Tuesday 23rd June

Winner: Chris Crossland

2nd. Anne Hunter

3rd. Wendy Higham

10th Anniversary Wood Trophy (18 Hole stableford) Thursday 25th June

Winner: Gill Hirst

2nd. Anne Hunter

3rd. Chris Crossland

Sheila Wheatley Trophy (third round)

Winner: Wendy Higham

2nd. Carol Howard

3rd. Mary Giles.