Saturday, November 27

Kolkata: New norms in place as golfers swing into action

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Golf is back in the lives of Kolkatans. The Ecopark Golf Arena opened its gates on Saturday, with a number of safety measures in place. RCGC will follow suit from Tuesday and Tolly Club, too, plans to resume the activity soon. Golfers have been waiting to flock to the greens since over a week ago when the government announced courses could reopen as part of relaxing lockdown measures.

On Saturday, Salt Lake resident Arun Prasad Padmanaban was reacquainted with the putting grounds after 82 days. “The lockdown started on March 24, but the last time I came to Ecopark Golf Arena was March 10. I am happy to be back. The swooshing sound when I made contact with the ball and my hole-in-one — three months ago, these were things I had taken for granted,” said the electrical engineer who is a golf champion.

“We started making preparations to reopen when chief minister Mamata Banerjee made her announcements regarding golf and tennis. I can see players are quickly adapting to the government’s new guidelines. Everyone is happy to be outdoors,” Neel Law, managing partner, Ecopark Golf Arena, told TOI on Sunday.

Despite swinging back to action, physical distancing rules have prevailed. They begin at the entrance where everyone, wearing a mask, has to sanitize their hands. White lines or circles have been drawn for a queue of two to three persons at the starter area. Players need to keep a lot of things in mind, including the fact that flag sticks can’t be removed from the hole while putting and no more than three members are allowed for putting holes.

“It’s an unprecedented situation. Most of us are sensible and will be meticulously following rules. Many are working from home and are desperate to get back, knowing golf is low risk,” said Umang Puri, a member of RCGC. He added he was waiting eagerly to start playing from Tuesday.

The rules are mostly the same for all golf clubs. With no caddies around, golfers will have to wheel their own trolleys, carry water bottles and food packets. All players have been told to maintain a gap of one hole between each other. And the holes have been packed so the ball only drops an inch and can easily brought out.

However, there will be no walk-ins. “Golfers are being asked to book tee times in advance to avoid congestion. They pay the exact fee for a round or for practice to avoid exchange of currency,” Law said.


Source: Times of India

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