It’s great to be back out on the links. Our course has never had the footfall that we are experiencing at the minute. Everyone seems to be enjoying getting out and, for the most part, are following the guidelines set in place for safe golf. Thank you to all the staff who have worked hard in preparation and who continue to present the course in tip-top condition. Thanks also to members who have been complying with the protocol. It’s not too onerous. Feedback suggests that members are very happy with the booking system and the 14 minute tee-times, although I’m not sure how long we can keep this up. The booking system has definitely been a bonus. It has always been there but hasn’t been used other than for weekends. Perhaps this is a new trend that we will continue to avail of. There have been some issues with booking guests. The protocol insists that names are kept for 6 weeks for Track and Trace, so guest names must be recorded. I realise that this cannot be done on BRS so the names should be added in the shop. This brings me to another moan. Members bringing guests to the course are responsible for these guests. This is especially so with regard to paying their greenfee. (€25 Mon-Fri, €30 at weekends) If the shop is closed there is a box and envelopes for fees outside the locker rooms. Write the name on the envelope and include the appropriate fee. Alternatively guests can be paid for by phoning the shop whilst booking and registering their names. This is revenue that our club badly needs and playing without paying is unacceptable and unfair to our members. I am asking for members’ help on this matter as no-one wants to introduce restrictions on guests coming to North West.
Hopefully we will soon see a return to competitions. Our Competitions team have busy planning but as we are now aware, when man plans, God laughs! We have had to react to many changes imposed upon us over the last few weeks but hopefully it’ll all be behind us. Having waited so long to get back on the course, a week has passed and now it’s as if I’ve never been away! Procedures for safe play have been put in place so let’s get back out and support the competitions. We’ll see who has been practising the most during lockdown! (Like the pros, we considered putting mics on players but then we thought, John Spence!!!! Naw!) Unfortunately our “Majors” have been postponed but, with the help of God, we’ll be able to reschedule for later on in the year.
The GUI recently trawled their members asking about inter-club matches. Clubs voted in favour of a return to competition under limited circumstances. The ILGU survey resulted in clubs opposing a return to inter-club competitions. The competitions going ahead on a national level will be The Senior Cup, The Junior Cup, The Pearse Purcell and the Jimmy Bruen, whilst the Ulster Cup will go ahead in Ulster. The format will be matches played with some home and away players, e.g. the Ulster Cup will be split into 4 & 3, with one group away and the other at home. There will be shortly be a redraw for matches from those clubs which have opted to play, ourselves included. Please support team captains and answer the call if asked.
Unfortunately the clubhouse remains closed. We have been exploring ways to get up and running again but at this moment we have to remain closed as the regulations are unclear and too restrictive. Rest assured we will keep the situation under close scrutiny. There are other issues which we are pursuing which will hopefully benefit North West and begin to lead us onwards and upwards. More on that when I have more concrete details.
Finally could I extend a welcome to all our new members. Hopefully we’ll be able to have a welcome meeting as soon as regulations allow it. In the meantime, enjoy the course and feel free to contact me or other council members if there is anything we can do for you.
Enjoy and keep your putts low.