Smiles on faces as local golfers get back on course

The county's golf courses reopened for the first time since January 4 this week

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 7:26 am
Northamptonshire first-team golfer Ashleigh Critchley was happy to be back out on the course

Smiles returned to the faces of hundreds of golfers across the county on Monday as they were allowed to play the sport again following a relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions by the government.

Although some social distancing rules and other safety measures remain in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Northamptonshire courses received an influx of golf bookings this week.

After not being able to play golf in this country since early January, Wellingborough Golf Club Captain David Hawkins echoed the views of many golfers by expressing his relief at having the opportunity to tee off again.

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David Wynn, Roger Seamark, David Rawson and Robert Lewis were in action on Monday

He said: “It’s just great to be back, and nice to see everyone with smiles on their faces again.

“We just hope we can continue playing, and do everything we couldn’t do last year.”

The 2021 NGL calendar is still in the process of being finalised as the Northamptonshire governing body assesses the options after the delayed return to golfing play due to the lockdown restrictions over the winter months.

With the postponement of the first round of group fixtures in the Hollingsworth Trophy, the County have granted the clubs an extension to July 11 for the scheduled matches to be played.

Paul Albery putts while Giovanni Gioia watches on during the first day back for local golfers

It’s a similar story for many other individual and team competitions at county and regional level as the season has been pushed back into a shorter time period for the second successive year.

NGL President Kathyrn Stronach explained: “Confirmation will be forthcoming very soon on all the alterations to fixtures this year – we will update the county website.

“The Ladies County Championship and Higgs Bowl, which are usually at the start of the season, have been moved to a later date, while the Ladies Fourball Betterball which was scheduled at Collingtree Park on June 9 has been switched to October 4 due to building works.

“At regional level, the Anglian League matches will not start until June, with the May fixture results being calculated at the Eastern County Foursomes competition, which will take place over the weekend of August 14-15.

“We are also delighted that the Ladies County Week will be held in our our county this year as Northampton Golf Club hosts the round of fixtures between June 21-23. Let’s hope we can make the most of home advantage.”

Top county professional Charley Hull starts her bid for a first major victory today (Thursday) as takes on a strong field of the world’s leading golfers in the 50th edition of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills in California.

The Wellingborough golfer, who turned 25 last week, has a good record in the competition having made the cut on her debut as an amateur in 2012, before finishing runner-up four years later.

Hull goes into the event in decent touch after recovering from an opening round of four-over-par 76 in the Kia Classic last week to finish 33rd with further scores of 70, 69 and 72.

Fellow Wellingborough pro Ryan Evans continued his preparations for the Challenge Tour season by taking part in the prestigious Seminole Pro-Member event in Florida.

In an event which featured many of the world’s best players, including Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, Evans used his contacts in the US to gain an invite.

He said: “It’s the most exclusive Pro-Member competition in the world and Seminole is probably the hardest golf course to even get a game, so it was great just to be involved in the day.”