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HOPEFUL: Rockhampton Golf Club president Peter Mehlhose hopes players and members will adhere to the club’s strict new rules.
HOPEFUL: Rockhampton Golf Club president Peter Mehlhose hopes players and members will adhere to the club’s strict new rules.

Strict new protocol to keep golf courses open

EXTREME measures are being taken to ensure lovers of golf can still enjoy the game following what was a short-lived national course closure earlier this week.

Australian golf clubs were this week thrown into disarray due to a COVID-19 technicality surrounding liquor licences.

While frustrated by conflicting messages from state and federal governments, Rockhampton Golf Club president Peter Melhose is relieved the course can still operate – though admits it is not exactly business as usual.

“It’s been a tough week, we’ve lost functions, weddings and other significant events all the way until November which is a good component of income for the club,” he said.

“We obviously can’t serve alcohol and have had to close the cub house. Nonetheless we’re very happy to still be operating in at least some way.”

Additionally, players and members must adhere to strict protocols under the Federal Government’s tough new restrictions.

“On the course we’ve limited people going out on the hire buggy. Only one person can go on a buggy, so we’ve reduced the hire price of them to make it affordable,” Mr Melhose said.

Another measure involves holding local competitions to allow the clubs an opportunity to stagger out player tee-off times and mitigate foot traffic.

“Instead of being seven minutes apart, people are now tee-ing off 10 minutes apart. Normally, people can hit off two different tees – the 1st and the 10th at the same time. What we’ve done is limited that down to one,” he said.

Rakes have also been removed from all bunkers and bases added to holes on the green to allow easier retrieval of a ball, as players are now prohibited from touching the flag pole.

“It seems to be working very well currently. We’re getting feedback from clubs all over Queensland and we’re all sharing around ideas to make sure we all get through this challenging time.”

It is a similar sentiment for North Rockhampton Golf Club as members were emailed a list of the strict new protocols.

Only eftpos will be accepted, equipment is not to be shared and while washers and drinking fountains will be non-operational.

Though it may seem strict, the club urged players to abide by the rules so as not to spoil the fun for everyone as the clubs could face immediate shutdown.

“People are really wanting the outlet for normalcy and some exercise during this time, so we’re really happy we can provide that,” Mr Melhose said.

Mr Mehlhose suggested those eager to have a hit should phone ahead to club’s Pro Shop on 4922 4098.



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