Thousands of Warwickshire golfers have returned to the sport since lockdown restrictions were lifted, with local courses experiencing as spike in membership
Social distancing rounds of golf were reintroduced over three weeks ago, and since then, membership numbers have grown rapidly, with courses fully booked weeks in advance.
Stratford Park Hotel and Golf Club, a supporting Member of South Warwickshire’s destination management organisation Shakespeare’s England, has welcomed more than 30 new members in the short time since reopening, and has been fully booked for all slots over the last month, with over 150 golfers visiting each day.
Jo Cameron, Golf Operations Manager at the course, said: “We have never seen such a large number of members joining in such a short period of time, and we have never seen the course as popular as it is at the moment.
“We are open from 6am every morning and are fully booked through to 6:30pm. We allow two golfers to start the course every ten minutes which allows everyone to stay at a safe distance, but each day the slots are completely fully booked!
“We have had a really positive response from everyone looking to get outside and be active despite lockdown, with many members saying that being back on the course has helped them to relax and sleep better.”
Julian Mellor, the Head Professional at Stratford Park said: “In my whole golfing career I have never seen a golf course so in demand. Not since the 80’s have I seen a completely full tee sheet all day every day!
“Both Jo and I have been working flat out since the course re-opened. We went from being off for 7 weeks to getting up at 04:30am to serve the golfers keen to play in the beautiful sunny weather.
“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing and that’s tantamount to the management team and the green keeping staff who have provided everyone with superb greens and a well-maintained course overall. It’s been a truly momentous time in golf!”
Other courses including the one at Welcombe Hallmark Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, another Shakespeare’s England Member, have welcomed an influx of new members and people looking to try a new sport.
Helen Peters, Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s England praised the courses for being so well-maintained during lockdown.
She added: “Since the lockdown restrictions were eased to allow courses to reopen, so many people have been looking to get out, enjoy the good weather and safely get back into a sport.
“Without the hard work of the groundskeepers during lockdown in maintaining these courses, people would not have been able to come and enjoy the sport again so quickly – we’ve been so impressed by how well the courses have reopened.
“We are now slowly heading towards the next stage for businesses and our priority as the DMO for the region is to encourage people to support their local businesses and attractions.
“We must not forget that both Stratford Park Hotel & Golf Course and the Hallmark Welcome are also important accommodation providers in the area as well as fabulous wedding and meeting venues, so they form an important part of the overall visitor offer that brings £777m to the region’s economy.”
For more information on golf courses across Warwickshire that have reopened, visit https://shakespeares-england.co.uk/