Golf courses out of bounds for winter of discontent 1 month ago

Golf courses out of bounds for winter of discontent

Way back when, as the first lockdown was beginning to lift, golf courses all over Ireland experienced a boom of incoming members.

The GAA was gone, the Premier League was out of season but golf courses, they were the saving grace. And so from all walks of life, they headed for the first tee.

With every second young person moving back to the motherland to work from home, country golf clubs became the means of escape. Young GAA players traded the hurls for the 56 degree wedges and the wide balls for the duck hooks as an enjoyable nine holes became an evening ritual.

200 acres of countryside, alone or in a group of four, where could it possibly go wrong?

Social distancing for one, simply wasn't a problem as the golf was so wayward that you'd spend longer looking for disobedient golf balls than chatting with playing partners. Some lowered their handicap and others, well, they remained sane.

In fact, the solitary nature of the game seemed like the perfect outlet in these testing times. While post-match gatherings posed a problem in the club GAA sphere, we've yet to come across a parish-do or a house party, arranged to celebrate a 15 handicapper's 30 point round in the Monday stableford.

But somewhere in the last few days, it has gone wrong, horribly wrong.

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The threat of a second lockdown descended and concerns immediately turned to the golf courses. Even with the weather getting fittingly worse, the possibility of the odd game sprang hope in hearts. Level 5 was announced but golf wasn't mentioned and so the suspense, and the worry grew.

Eventually, the GUI (Golfers Union of Ireland) broke the silence to let us know that we're in for six weeks of head-shaking. There comes a time when you just tire of pointing how ridiculous certain decisions are and closing golf courses - a place where social distancing literally goes with the territory - is another mystifying one.

Even Oasis' Liam Gallagher couldn't wrap his head around it and when you see the level five merchants questioning this as a cautious move, you know there's something seriously wrong.