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Forres Golf Club membership on the up despite lockdown


By Jonathan Clark

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Member Dorothy Marshall in action at Forres Golf Club in the summer ..Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Member Dorothy Marshall in action at Forres Golf Club in the summer ..Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

THE coronavirus lockdown has provided uncertainty and difficulty for many local sports clubs – but for Forres Golf Club, things are looking reasonably rosy.

In the last six months, the club has seen more than 200 new members sign up, with a 40 per cent increase in tee time usage.

The club’s general manager Sean Blacklaw believes that a number of factors have led to the increase in membership and the number of people using the course.

He said: “It has certainly been a funny old six months to a year, but it has been almost like a mini revival for golf.

“In the last six months we have had more than 200 new members sign up. All of our members have been excellent, they have supported us throughout the pandemic, in full lockdown they were paying fees when the club was closed.

“I think there are lots of different things which have led to the increase in people playing golf.

“A number of people are on furlough with more time to play, people are venturing into other sports and a few boys are coming back to play with other sports put on hold. Also, this is a time where we are locked inside. It’s a good thing for everybody’s mental health to be out in the open air in a safe environment.

“The only problem we are having is with fitting everyone in, with last play at about 1pm due to the fading light.”

From left to right: Sean Blacklaw, general manager, David Torrance, specialist PGA coach and Hector Clarke, golf operations assistant.
From left to right: Sean Blacklaw, general manager, David Torrance, specialist PGA coach and Hector Clarke, golf operations assistant.

During the first lockdown, which began on March 23 last year, golf courses were forced to close.

However, that isn’t the case during this lockdown – with courses allowed to remain open for play at the moment, with an increased number of measures in place.

“We are really grateful that we are allowed to be open this time,” Sean added.

“We were closed last time and are delighted we are open this time, while realising the responsibility we have to maintaining standards.

“The members have been really good at following the guidelines. Some of the things we are asking them to do are bizarre by normal standards but they are doing them.

“That has been crucial to ensuring we can remain open.”

While the golf course itself can remain open, the clubhouse kitchen, bar and the shop are all closed at the moment.

The club has used the closure to refurbish, with Sean adding that he is looking forward to players getting back in for a look when possible.

While admitting the club is attempting to prepare for the worst, Sean is hopeful that 2021 can be a good year for Forres Golf Club too.

He added: “We are really excited for the year going forward.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccination programme rolling out so we have reason to be optimistic.

“The David Torrance Golf Academy started here just before lockdown last year and that is really helping our new members, whether they are newcomers to the sport or more experienced.

“David has a full diary for 2021, so we are hopeful that can go ahead.

“We have a few big competitions scheduled and our season is due to get under way with the MFR Cash for Kids Charity Texas Scramble Open on the last Sunday in March, as is traditional.”

For more information on Forres Golf Club, visit www.forresgolfclub.co.uk



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