Golf Clubs and tennis clubs look forward to welcoming back players
- Credit: Archant
Next week marks the next stage in the government's easing of lockdown restrictions.
From Monday, March 29, two households or a group of six can meet outdoors, sports and leisure facilities can re-open, organised sport can resume, the 'stay at home order' will be lifted and parents and children can meet in groups of up to 15 people.
Ahead of then, we spoke to various outdoor sports facilities, including golf courses and tennis clubs in North Norfolk to see how they were feeling ahead of being able to reopen.
Neil Milton, general manager at Sheringham Golf Club said the club was "very much looking forward" to welcoming golfers back onto the course.
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He said: "It's been quite a period of time without golfers on the course so we're looking forward to returning to some sort of normality."
Mr Milton said social distancing measures, as specified by the government road map, would be in place when the course reopened.
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He said the course was expecting a busy season: "Golf is in demand, the fact that people can't travel means it's in demand both from members and visitors. It's hard to say [if there's been an increase in people playing] we do have an uptick in enquiries but whether those are people coming from other sports. We're expecting a busy season down to the fact that people cannot travel so much."
Ryan Pudney, director of golf at Mundesley Golf Club, said: "We're very excited to get open again, it's been a long period this lockdown, probably more so because of the weather, shorter days, longer nights. The general feeling I have got from all our members is that they are itching to get out there, it's always good to see people out there and we've certainly missed our members."
Like other clubs and Mr Pudney, said golfers would see safety measures in place which had become "part of everyday life" when they returned to the course. He also said the course was expecting a busy season.
Mr Pudney said: "Last season was as busy as I have ever seen, we had close to 150 membership enquiries after lockdown last year because golf was one of the only sports where you could safely social distance outside. Golfers really took advantage of that so we had a massive boom in under 40s a lot of those were probably not new to golf."
For Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Club, March 29 is "back to tennis day." The club is urging members of the public to take up its call for fun outdoor exercise and come to the Club to play tennis on a simple pay and play basis, especially as gyms and indoor sports and indoor exercise classes will not resume until May 17.
To welcome people the first 25 members of the public coming to pay and play at the Club will receive a free tin of brand new tennis balls.
Kelvin van Hasselt, chairman of the club said: "People can't wait to get back on the courts, everybody has been ringing up to see when the courts are reopening."
He said the club had a coaching programme for players of all levels alongside the "best grass courts in the whole country" and really wanted to encourage people of all ages in the local area to have a go at picking up a racquet.
"Our theme really is a welcome back to existing members, a welcome to new members and lapsed members."
As with tennis clubs and golf courses. Go-kart tracts will also be able to open from next Monday. In Northrepps, Kate Tritton, one of the co-owners of KartTrack Cromer, said she was looking forward to being able to reopen her business again but was also nervous about people not staying local.
She said: "I don't want to break the rules. I want to make sure I follow the rules and keep my staff safe and everyone following what we're supposed to be doing."
Ms Tritton said following the first lockdown the company had put in a number of steps to make sure customers and staff were safe, but restrictions on households mixing made the day to day running of the track more difficult.
She said: "It's halved my footfall. I'm opening and I'm not complaining because at the end of the day I'm being allowed to open and there are so many poor businesses that aren't."