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Back on the green


Golfers enjoying perfect autumn golf
Keen golfers behaving


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Wairarapa golfers are relishing the opportunity to get back on their courses after the lifting of the covid-19 restrictions to Level 3.

Golf clubs around New Zealand opened to members on Tuesday, with severe restrictions in place.

They included no green flagsticks, with the hole cups turned upside down, and no bunker rakes.

Tee times must be booked in advance, and players must play in their bubbles.

Clubhouses, pro shops, and other course facilities also remain closed.

Andy Pottinger tees off for his first round since the Lansdowne course reopened.

Masterton Golf Club president Andy Pottinger said the golfers were loving being back on the club’s Lansdowne course.

“The first couple of days were pretty much fully booked and we’re almost fully booked for the weekend,” he said.

“Most people have been pretty good, but I’ve had to resend the guidelines to the members to remind them about the correct interpretations around their bubbles.

“People have to follow the rules; otherwise we’ll have to close the course.”

Pottinger said the course was in perfect condition after nearly five weeks without any play.

The Martinborough Golf Club has also been attracting a good turnout over the first few days.

“We’ve had about 70 or 80 a day,” club captain Andy Morison said.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but we’ve had good numbers of single people and groups of two and three playing.”

Tinks Pottinger lines up her first tee shot.

Morison said he had played on the course and it was a bit different than usual with the hole cups turned upside down.

“It’s not quite the same, with no holes to putt into.

“We’ve got fresh grass after some rain and the course is in tip top condition.”

The Carterton Golf Club is operating a registration system when members arrive at the course and president Grant Smith said it seemed to be working well.

“We had about 20 to 30 people out there [on Wednesday] and everybody was pleased to be back playing,” he said.

“We’re expecting a good turnout over the weekend, so we’ll just have to be vigilant that everybody is following the rules.”

Mahunga Golf Club president Layton Kawana said there has been a nice steady flow of golfers on the course.

“We’ve had about 20 to 30 a day and it’s looking pretty good. We have a few tee times booked for the weekend.”

Kawana reminded the club was for members only and there are no green fee players.

“I’ve been going every day to check that the regulations are being adhered to and that players are staying in their bubbles.”

Further north, it was a quiet first day on the Eketahuna golf course, according to club treasurer Hamish Anderson.

“There were a few out on the course on the second day [Wednesday] and everybody seemed to be abiding the rules. They were being disciplined and very good,” he said.

“It’s going to be a bit slower with a lot of our golfers living in the country and having to travel into town, and then having to play within their bubbles.

“It’s not quite the same when you can’t sit down and have a beer together at the end.”

Although there has been a steady flow of golfers on Wairarapa courses, it is nothing compared with reports from other regions.

Some clubs are purportedly limiting players to nine holes, because of the high demand of golfers wanting to play.

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