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‘Everyone’s just smiling’: Golfers return to greens as Victorian restrictions ease

St Kilda resident Anthony Carden also played at Albert Park on Wednesday, and plans to return for a round each day this week.

“It’s the first time we’ve been playing [for] a couple of months, so it’s really good to get back out on the golf course,” he said.

East Brighton resident Robbie Gore said it was wonderful for his mental health to be back out playing, but he expected it would be tough to tee off again during the week “because everybody wants to play”.

Shane Nolan [left] and Anthony Carden were eager to make the most of the eased restrictions at Albert Park Golf Club.

Shane Nolan [left] and Anthony Carden were eager to make the most of the eased restrictions at Albert Park Golf Club.Credit:Wayne Taylor

Albert Park Golf Course general manager Sam Adams said the course would be at half its normal capacity to abide by density rules. By Wednesday afternoon, the books were already full for the next six days, with about 150 people registered to play each day.

“People are really enjoying being back playing golf and there’s a very good vibe around,” Mr Adams said.

Cheltenham Golf Club manager Calum McCarthy said that by Wednesday morning the club was booked out until about Sunday, with about 180 people set to hit the nine-hole course each day.

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Mr McCarthy started his job about four weeks ago, but Wednesday was his first day putting faces to names because of lockdown restrictions.

“Everyone’s just smiling, even though you can’t really see the smiles under the masks. But everyone’s just very happy to be back and playing golf,” he said.

“We believe it to be a safe environment, and it’s good to see the government has come around and realised that as well.”

For the time being, the club was letting both vaccinated and unvaccinated players on the course, but it flagged with members that would change by about mid-October.

Burnley Golf Course was booked out, with 100 players a day until mid-next week, and the clubhouse phone running hot.

Back at Albert Park, Mr Heath emphasised the mental benefits golf could provide during the pandemic.

“Had golf been on the table the whole of the lockdown, I think people’s sanity would be much more intact,” he said.

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