By Romy Stephens
Yarra Valley golf clubs are making the most of being able to keep their gates open during the latest lockdown period.
From 8 July, community sport was cancelled as metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire returned to Stage 3 restrictions for six weeks.
However, golf was one of the few sports permitted to continue throughout this period of staying at home.
But like so many other activities permitted during this time of social distancing, the continued play of golf has come with plenty of restrictions.
For example, groups playing have been limited to two people and clubs must now have a booking system so people can’t simply roll up to play.
Healesville Social Golf Club (HSGC) captain Karl Hradsky said despite being limited to only playing in groups of two, the continued play of golf had been very important for members.
“A lot of the people I play with are retired and golf is the main form of exercise that most of them get,” he said.
“You’re getting exercise pushing your cart, walking uphill and downhill, arms, legs and body rotation, without it being stressful exercise.”
Karl said members can cover up to 10km of walking during a HSCG session.
He said that during the recent round of lockdowns, the club had seen more members out playing.
“We’re getting more people, we are not getting any more members but we’re getting more of the members turning up,” he said.
“Mainly for the exercise purposes and social interaction with other people, even though we can only play in twos.”
Warburton Golf Club’s Ron Hottes said having limits on numbers able to play together had impacted the social and competitive side of the game.
However, he added that for many, golf was now the only outlet they had – particularly for the older generation.
“After the easing of restrictions in May, then when the second wave hit, wiser heads realised that golf could be played without a negative impact on the wider community,” he said.
“Therefore, increased numbers have followed, as many golfers, both as members and green-fee visitors, have sought refuge in this rewarding game.
“Many of our recent visitors had not played in this region before, and commented how enjoyable both the course, and their golfing experience was.”
Under the Stage 3 restrictions, golf courses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can open, however, a person can only play golf with one other person or members of their own household.
Golf carts should only be used by a person who has a disability, is over the age of 65, or who can demonstrate that they require one due to having special needs. Course operators are required to thoroughly clean the carts in between each use.
People playing together must be able to keep 1.5 metres distance from each other, and maintain 100 meters from all other groups.
Shared facilities and driving ranges cannot open and equipment must not be shared or rented.
People can’t travel outside of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and should not travel further than needed to play golf.
To find out more about the Warburton Golf Club, visit www.warburtongolf.com.au.
To find out more about the Healesville Social Golf Club, contact email@example.com.