Leighton Buzzard golfers were amongst the first in Britain to resume playing after the government relaxed lockdown rules following talks with the sport’s governing bodies.
The town’s Plantation Road club gave the green-light to members to play in two-ball pairings after finalising strict guidelines to comply with social distancing and other measures necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of staff and club members as part of the ongoing campaign to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Club Captain Simon Rossiter and his Vice Captain Graham Freer got the ball rolling on Wednesday, teeing off on the first to complete nine holes, an initial limit imposed which will enable almost 200 members a day to exercise by playing the scenic heathland course in superb condition after a nine-week shutdown.
Club colleagues Nick Brown and Colin Fox were first to tee off from the 10th having booked their playing slots on line in accordance with government guidelines.
The clubhouse, pro shop and practice area facilities at Leighton currently remain closed, with the club management team monitoring the situation on a regular basis to determine if, what and when further action may be necessary.
Says Club President Brian Carter: “Golf seems to be in the vanguard of the easing of lockdown restrictions and we need to ensure we stick to the guidance provided. We are fortunate that golf can be played individually or in small groups and that distancing and self-regulation between players is an integral part of the game.”
Adds club Marketing Director Liz Bagshaw: “Whilst we normally welcome visitors and guests, this is not possible at this time because of the ongoing lockdown restrictions. The course is however, open to current members and to new members who wish to fill the limited vacancies we presently have available.”
Since the imposition of the lockdown programme on March 23, only essential maintenance work has been carried out by Leighton course manager Paul Harris and two other members of his greenstaff. While work on a new course irrigation system has been delayed during the lockdown, commissioning of the network is expected in the next few weeks.
The club has posted NHS flags on 8th and 18th greens as a tribute to medical staff and care teams working tirelessly to save lives. Proceeds will be donated to the NHS while Club Captain Simon is planning to raise further funds from events once the lockdown restrictions allow.
 Captain Simon Rossiter and his Vice Captain Graham Freer prepare to get golf underway at the Leighton club.
 Flying the flag for the NHS on Leighton’s 8th and 18th holes.