note>lvn080520golf: Levin Golf Club's most senior women's player Jean Bainbridge. The 90-year-old was one of several members allowed back on course this week.lvn160516acgolf: Levin Golf Course.
Levin's most senior women's golfer was taking no chances when she stepped out onto the course this week.
Jean Bainbridge said she loved the social aspect of her chosen sport, but completed nine holes all by herself yesterday.
A round of golf lends itself to social distancing anyway, but the 90-year-old was conscious of keeping her distance.
Her regular playing partner Mary Wilson was on course too, but playing a separate game, some distance behind. After Bainbridge had putted out each hole, she waved to her friend to play on.
The two golfing friends joined thousands of players from around New Zealand back on course for the first time in more than a month with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions to level 3.
Bainbridge, who will turn 91 in September, has played golf regularly since taking up the sport in the early 1970s.
"It's lovely. You forget all about housework," she said.
"It was very strange, but in some ways it was very peaceful...listening to the birds. There wasn't anybody in front of me, and only Mary behind me."
Bainbridge rarely misses the club days during the week, although in more recent times played just the front nine holes.
"I enjoy the social side of golf. There is a great crowd out there. I'll miss it very much when I give it away," she said.
"I would recommend playing golf to anyone."
At one stage she had trimmed her handicap down to 18, but these days plays off a 28 handicap.
The level 4 lockdown brought back some distant memories for Bainbridge, who was a 10-year-old living in Newcastle, England, when World War II broke out some 80 years ago.
While she lived a distance away from the worst of the bombing, the school children would spend time in air raid shelters each day as planes flew overhead, and every pupil was issued a gas mask.
By the time the war ended in 1945, she had left school, but as a child she remembered everybody being very resilient and "doing their bit," much like New Zealanders are doing in the current crisis.
"If everybody behaves themselves we will get through it," she said.
Meanwhile, Levin Golf Club president Ivan Franklin said the course was playing well and was a credit to the green keepers who had their work cut out knocking things into shape again once they were finally allowed back on the course.
Apart from the rough being very rough in parts, as could be expected, the greens and fairways were in good order thanks to the attention of green keepers, he said.
Franklin said as it was members only that were playing, the club was missing out on green fees during the lockdown and was forced to draw on cash reserves to finance staff wages.
Despite this, he was confident the club would emerge in good shape.
"We're a resilient group. We'll manage all right," he said.