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Back out there .. Hamish and Lachie Coutts were among the first golfers to play at Lower Waitaki Golf Club when New Zealand moved to Alert Level 3. PHOTO: SARAH NICOL

Lower Waitaki Golf Club secretary Ian Moore’s phone rang “red hot” when New Zealand moved to Alert Level 3.

Golf was one of the first sports to start up again when the country eased to Level 3 on April 28, and members of the Hilderthorpe club were champing at the bit to get back out on the greens and fairways, Moore said.

“[The course was] very busy the first few days. I think members and visitors have got it out of their system [after being] isolated at home.

“[Players] were absolutely rapt to be back out there, swinging the golf club.”

However, several restrictions were in place at Level 3 and most would remain applicable at Level 2.

“There are no pins – all the holes are in the middle of the greens to make it easy to know where to hit.

“We have a small PVC pipe in each hole so the ball won’t fall in, it just bounces off and you pick your ball up.”

The club was already looking to get back into competition play under the guidelines from tomorrow, but the clubhouse would not reopen in Level 2.

“With opening the clubhouse, everyone must be dining, which means they must purchase food closed.”

Waitoa Park Golf Club also reopened for members at Level 3 and about 40 turned out to play in their bubbles on the first day, secretary Maggie Manson said.

“Everyone was excited to be out there again in the fresh air and getting their exercise once more,” Manson said.

“We have a lot of new members this year so far, which is great as a lot of the clubs around the country are struggling.”

Golfers were enjoying some normality while still adhering to the restrictions, and guidelines for clubs and regular communication was coming from New Zealand Golf, Manson said.

New Zealand Golf guidelines include washing and drying hands before and after play; avoiding physical scorecards if possible; and closure of drinking fountains, ball washers and shared sunscreen stations.