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Get ready to play golf and tennis again in the Bishop's Stortford area following Government's initial easing of lockdown restrictions

Golf and tennis clubs have reopened following the Government's initial easing of lockdown restrictions.

Getting back out on the course is permitted for golfers playing on their own, two-balls comprising individuals from different households and, at the discretion of clubs, members of the same household playing in two-, three- or four-balls.

Social distancing rules must be strictly adhered to at all times. England Golf says: "Further clarification is being sought from government relating to the opening of professional shops and driving ranges as well as the carrying out of club fitting and coaching sessions."

From left, Bishop's Stortford Golf Club's club captain Graham Ansbridge, director of golf Simon Sheppard and club manager Judy Barker. Picture: Vikki Lince
From left, Bishop's Stortford Golf Club's club captain Graham Ansbridge, director of golf Simon Sheppard and club manager Judy Barker. Picture: Vikki Lince

The course at Bishop's Stortford Golf Club is currently open to members only. Pre-booked times are available via the pro shop. Play is in the two-balls format and some new safety measures are in place.

Manager Judy Barker said on Wednesday (May 13): "After being closed for 51 days, we reopened at 7am this morning, so a very special day for Bishop's Stortford Golf Club.

"We have introduced a tee booking system for members to book their games and playing with a maximum of two balls as per Government rules.

Andy Hardie tees off on the first day of reopening for Bishop's Stortford Golf Club. Picture: Vikki Lince
Andy Hardie tees off on the first day of reopening for Bishop's Stortford Golf Club. Picture: Vikki Lince

"There are safety measures in place from the moment you drive into the car park: leaving a car-width space between parking, only arriving 10 minutes before your tee time, a one-way system on and off the course, a starter on the tee and marshals on the course.

"If buggies are being hired, they are sanitized before use and afterwards, and only one person in a buggy, unless you are from the same household and then you can have two people in the buggy. The clubhouse remains closed."

There are two days with reserved bookings for over-65s. Juniors and blue course members (beginners) can book within their usual permitted times, so all members are being looked after.

"We are fortunate to have had a member of the club who is a pandemic expert advising us from day one on the measures we need to take to keep our members and staff safe throughout the crisis," said Barker.

Euan Hardie, 12, tees off at Bishop's Stortford Golf Club. Picture: Vikki Lince
Euan Hardie, 12, tees off at Bishop's Stortford Golf Club. Picture: Vikki Lince

Go to www.bsgc.co.uk to find out more.

Golf World Stansted at Elsenham reopening at 7am on Wednesday (May 13) for golf, footgolf and adventure golf. These must be played on your own or with members of your household. No more than four people are allowed in the reception at any one time and they must follow the one-way system. Its driving range will be open from Monday May 18.

In an update on its website, Golf World Stansted said: "Please bear in mind that we will be running a skeleton staff in order to keep costs down and also to ensure that social distancing is maintained by our staff.

"We are currently modifying the driving range to enable better social distancing, together with a one-way system in reception.

"Our main reception has been altered to ensure our staff and customers are kept away from each other as much as possible. This includes clear screens on our counter with serving hatches, similar to what you see in post offices.

"The Government guidance has stated that the above sports can only be played on your own or with members of your direct household and we would appreciate your help in ensuring this happens. After all, we don't want to be closed down again for not obeying the new rules."

Its opening hours are 7am until dusk, seven days a week.

"Unfortunately, our bar and restaurant must remain closed, however our reception will be open to enable customers to pay and book tee times," said the club.

"You can also order food and drink to take away, which can be taken home or consumed outdoors on our patio areas. In fact, it would help us greatly if customers could purchase as much takeaway food as possible in order to keep our chef busy. So, all hot and cold food is available to take away and we will supply packaging if you wish to take any food home with you."

See www.golfworldstansted.co.uk for full details.

Social distancing measures at Great Hadham Country Club between Bishop's Stortford and Much Hadham include adapted tee times, pre-booked rounds only, special arrival at the club and registration procedures.

“We have adapted the course to remove touch points and have fitted special ball retriever devices to the flags to ensure play is as safe as possible and in line with England Golf’s ‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ message,” said a club spokesman.

“Staff have suitable PPE and members and visitors are following the club’s directions and have really enjoyed the return to golf.”

Go to www.greathadham.co.uk for full details.

At Ash Valley Golf Club in Much Hadham, booking is required and tee times are at 10-minute intervals for two-balls only.

The clubhouse is closed until further notice so players should use the service window on the veranda, with only one person allowed on the veranda at a time.

Other rules in place include only one person per buggy, unless you are from the same household, and players are asked to wait in their cars before checking in on the veranda if they arrive more than 10 minutes before the tee time. Payment is by card or exact cash.

See www.ashvalley.co.uk/rules-covid19 for full details.

At Manor of Groves Golf Club in High Wych, members can book tee times up to four days in advance and non-members up to three days, with this set to be extended when lockdown restrictions ease further.

At weekends, it is members only before 10.30am and guests are welcome from 10.40am.

Two-balls only can be played and all tee times must be booked prior to play, with no walk-ins available.

East Herts Golf Club at Puckeridge has reopened for members only due to the limited number of players allowed on the course while practice facilities remain closed.

All members must book a tee time for one- or two-balls, which can be made up of people from separate households.

You can book by calling 01920 821978 and selecting option two or three. See www.easthertsgolfclub.co.uk for full details, including the club's course reopening guidelines document.

The Lawn Tennis Association is finalising full guidance for players, coaches and venues as clubs prepare to reopen.

It said: "Tennis can take place from May 13 outdoors with singles play only, other than where players are all from the same household, in which case they can play doubles."

Bishop's Stortford Lawn Tennis Club reopened from Thursday (May 14), enabling members to play singles, or doubles if the all four players are from the same household.

"We have put up signage to enable social distancing and an email has been sent to all members explaining what measures we have taken, as well as what we would expect from them," said Natalie Dwyer, manager of the Cricketfield Lane club.

"For the next 10 days we are only offering the courts to members as we anticipate a huge rush to get back to playing. However, after that point the committee will evaluate court activity and we hope to offer pay-and-play to non-members, who will be able to book three days prior.

"We offer a number of different memberships, including three- and six-month, so perhaps interested players will join instead. Our website has been redesigned and is now full of information for potential and current members.

"Also, the LTA has redesigned their coaching programme, now called LTA Youth Programme, which we will be introducing once we're able to restart coaching. There are many exciting changes coming to the club and how we deliver tennis."

Go to www.bsltc.co.uk to find out more about the club.

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