Castlecliff Golf Club manager Rodney Donaldson was learning on the fly as a mutant form of the game opened to members only on day one of Covid-19 alert level 3 in Whanganui on Tuesday.
The Wanganui Golf Club plans to open its Belmont links on three days a week only – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Donaldson said 20 members were booked to test the waters under the strict national Covid-19 restrictions yesterday with the first brave sole teeing off at 7am.
"Because of contact tracing we are accepting bookings from members only and they must play alone or in their own (home) bubble, they can't create a golf bubble," Donaldson said.
"The clubhouse and pro shop are closed and I am on course to ensure things run smoothly and people are adhering to the rules. There must be 10 minutes between tee off times for single players and 15 minutes between two players, so there's no maximum number for a day yet – we are learning on the fly."
Donaldson said it was very much a learning curve under the stringent Covid-19 rules.
"Luckily we are not a large club like North Shore with 1500 members, although I still have to take people's word when they say a playing partner is from their own bubble. At least I know most of our members.
"But at the end of the day it's not really golf, rather a form of exercise only. "
There are no pins, rakes or scorecards, no ball washing and no toilet facilities. There are no water fountains in use - essentially players need to be completely self-sufficient on the course.
Players will not hole out. There is an irrigation pipe in each hole and players must just hit the pipe with their ball and to complete the hole.
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"Hopefully it's only for two weeks and we can return to the real game under Level 2," Donaldson said.
Meanwhile, Wanganui Golf Club president Lance Attrill said Belmont would be open to members only under the same strict national alert level 3 restrictions on just three days week to allow maintenance to be carried out unimpeded Monday to Thursday.
"Members must book online to play Friday, Saturday or Sunday with tee off between 8am and noon and we will see how that goes," Attrill said.
"When bookings opened on the last night of alert level 4 on Monday it only took three hours and we were 90 per cent full for the first three days. We will extend the tee off times if necessary."