Golfers back on the green

Goonawarra Golf Club chairman Hans van Pelt.(Damjan Janevski) 207295_01

Jessica Micallef

Goonawarra Golf Club has “weathered the initial storm”, according to the club’s chairman Hans van Pelt.

Last week, the state government announced the first relaxation of lockdown rules, which included a lift on outdoor sport and recreational activity.

Victoria was the only state in Australia that had a ban on golf, with the sport able to be played interstate.

Now golfers can get back on the green and tee off in Victoria, with a maximum of 10 people and maintaining social distancing.

Mr van Pelt said easing restrictions on golf bans was a positive step in the right direction. However, he is concerned about how the club bounces back after an almost seven-week closure.

“It means our members can get out there and participate in their sport again [but] the biggest concern we have is going forward,” he said.

“We don’t really know how impacted our members have been.

“We can sense it but we don’t know how big it is.”

Mr van Pelt said he was wary of the economic impact coronavirus may have had on the club members ability to renew their memberships come June.

“The wellbeing of the club is reliant on how many memberships renew,” he said.

“We’ve had to put the membership fees up a little bit to cover the fact that we haven’t traded, the fact that we have more deferred payments and the fact that we expect costs to go up because everyone in our supply chain has become income starved as well.”

Mr van Pelt said he was looking forward to playing his first game of golf in six weeks and reopening the club but with limitations in place.

“It [the club] will be open for golf and really only golf,” he said.

“You go home straight afterwards. No socialising. The clubhouse is going to be shut.

“We invite people to come up and have a game – jumpon the website to make a booking.”