Golf club back on course as covid-19 rules start to ease
Current St Blazey AFC manager Phil Lafferty - pictured here before covid-19 restrictions were introduced - in action at St Austell Golf Club. Players and members returned to Tregongeeves Lane on Monday after three months in lockdown
31st March 2021
By Gareth Davies
Members of St Austell Golf Club were finally back on the Tregongeeves Lane course on Monday after covid-19 restrictions begin to ease.
Although arguably a socially distanced sport anyway, golf, like the rest of the sporting fraternity across the country, was forced into a winter hibernation due to the third national lockdown earlier this year.
However, the period of shutdown has been put to good use by St Austell members with club manager James Levick explaining to the Voice how they have helped improve the course over the past three months.
Levick praised the volunteer assistance during lockdown and, understandably, revealed members were ‘happy’ now they can finally play again.
“It has been such a long time and a tough test for a lot of our members,” Levick said. “They have been fantastic and very supportive of the club. That is the great thing about this golf club because the members will do anything to support it and do anything they can for it.
“We are very fortunate that we have had a lot of volunteers that have done lots of things around the club during the lockdown.
“They have been key to getting the golf course in good condition and continuing with improvements and now we are back, the members are happy to be back.
“We have improved things since they have been away, and they will be very proud to see what we have done – hopefully they appreciate all the work that has gone in.
“The community have put in a lot of hard work over the years to get the club where it is now. We are in a position where we can go forward, and we are in a very positive place. I can only see the golf course going up and getting better. We can see that by the members caring so much by coming and helping us out. All those things point to the club doing well. If the members care and want us to do well then moving forwards, we are going to be in a good place.
“Covid has been tough financially, like it has been on every business in the months we have closed, but when we are open previously, we were busier. We are investing to try and come out of lockdown, by boosting our membership, despite initially operating under restrictions.”
With Levick confident that the club is in good shape, he added that players able to compete at St Austell again will do members ‘the world of good’.
“A lot of people who are own their own have found the last three months really tough,” he remarked. “They see the golf club as their own hub for social activity and the golf club is what they have for a social life, where they catch up with people.
“Golf is brilliant because you can play at any age, any ability and from any background. The great thing is that it will do people the world of good to get back out on the course playing again and to see people – even if it is from a distance.”
As with all sports that have been forced to shut down three times in the past 12 months, some fear that participants could be lost to sport altogether, or chose disciplines that weren’t forced to stop, such as running or cycling, over golf.
Levick was keen to stress that his and the club’s glass was very much half-full, rather than half-empty when looking to the future.
“After the last two previous lockdowns, we had a huge increase in interest for golf,” he added. “The sport is here to stay and once you have the bug for golf, you never lose it unless that’s for injury or any other reason. There are a lot of people that are new to the game, while there are a lot of people that have been playing the game for a very long time
“There will be some people that will stop playing, but the influence of new people joining, along with members that will keep carrying on, means we are in a very strong position.
“Golf will come back stronger again – we just have to make the most of that. This is why we have spent a lot of time on investment on the course and the driving range and all this is to bring people into the game.
“If we have great facilities down at the driving range, we are hoping that they then come up to the course, have a lesson, play a round and then, slowly but surely, whilst they are learning, they may join the club.
“This will feed people into the club, by developing our facilities.”