Aberdeen golfer Richie Ramsay admits golf is fortunate to be one of the first sports set to be permitted when lockdown restrictions are relaxed.
An exact date for resumption of play is yet to be confirmed, but golf will resume in Scotland in the first phase of the Scottish Government route map aimed at restarting society while suppressing the coronavirus.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday announced a four-phase path to easing the restrictions that have been in place since March 23 due to the pandemic.
The first phase is likely to begin on Thursday and outdoor activities such as golf, fishing, tennis and bowls could be allowed to take place the following day.
Scottish Golf confirmed last night that players would be allowed to play in groups of two and may be from two different households whilst maintaining social distancing. Groups of up to four players will also be permitted at the discretion of the golf club, providing only two households are represented in the group.
Ramsay said: “It is great to hear it won’t be too long before we will be back playing golf in a safe manner.
“It has been frustrating but we are in a fortunate position because for contact sports such as football and rugby, there is very little light at the end of the tunnel, especially at grassroots level.
“We are going to be one of the first sports back, along with tennis, bowls and angling.
“We aren’t back playing golf as quickly as golfers in other countries but if you are a rugby player you could be looking at the possibility of missing a whole season.
“We have had to wait but if it helps us get out of the situation quicker in the long term then I am all for it.”
Aberdeen golfer David Law, a winner on the European Tour last year, said: “I know there has been a big demand for tee times since golf returned in England. It will be great to get back out playing.
“Hopefully, when the lockdown restrictions are eased everyone does stick to the rules and we don’t regress.
“It has been a bit strange that we all went into the lockdown at the same time in Britain but we are all coming out of it at different stages with different rules.
“But making sure we are coming out of the lockdown safely is the most important thing.
“It will be good for people’s mental health to allow them to get out on the course and not be stuck inside.
“People will see a great benefit from getting out for a game of golf or tennis.”
Cruden Bay general manager Les Durno said his club is stepping up preparations to get the club ready for golf’s imminent return.
He said: “We have had a lot of bookings cancelled but the members have been fantastic and very supportive, which has given us great encouragement.
“We have been working within the guidelines to get the course prepared for when golf is permitted again.
“Like every club that relies on visitors, it will be tough this year but the most important thing is people’s health and safety.
“It will be nice to see golfers back on the course.
“Like every other golf course just now, we have a lot of people walking on it, including people with bikes and pushchairs,” he said.
“I am concerned there might be a bit of conflict at the start because so many non-golfers have been so used to walking the course.
“We will be putting up notices and explaining to people that the course will be open to play,” he said.
“I expect it to be very busy when we come back, especially when you hear how busy it has been in England, Northern Ireland and Wales,” he added.