BACK IN THE SWING: Barnard Castle Golf Club member Raymond Swales plays his approach to the first hole after the course was re-opened last week
BACK IN THE SWING: Barnard Castle Golf Club member Raymond Swales plays his approach to the first hole after the course was re-opened last week

Barnard Castle Golf Club
THE phones were ringing as golf resumed following a seven-week shutdown last Wednesday.
With the new national guidelines in place, club captain Bob Henderson was first to tee off on a chilly day when eight new members boosted the recent influx.
Interim secretary Caz Smith and treasurer Sue Blaeford cancelled their own booking to deal with the membership enquiries and continue the work they have been carrying out as members of the club’s Covid Committee.
Club professional Darren Pearce and his partner Shirley Bradshaw were back in the shop, with safeguards in place, but the clubhouse will remain closed until lockdown regulations permit a reopening.
In the meantime refurbishment of the lounge, lobby and office is taking place and the kitchen has closed for essential replacement of equipment and updating of the electrical and gas supply. This means the very popular Sunday lunch takeaway service has been suspended.
The course is open only to members, who are allowed to play alone or in pairs observing social distancing. Tee times must be booked with a recommendation that players arrive no more than 15 minutes in advance and leave immediately after finishing play. Open competitions and matches against other clubs have been postponed indefinitely.
Extra safeguards on the course include flagsticks remaining untouched, no rakes in the bunkers, and no handshakes.
In common with most clubs, dwindling membership since the peak in the 1990s had caused some financial problems, but several past members have returned and there has been an influx of young adults – an age group which has been notably lacking. This could be due to the shutdown of team sports and Ms Blaeford is grateful for any extra income.
She said: “The club’s finances are in a sound state but we are absolutely reliant on the continued support of our members, for which I and the management are extremely grateful.
“We would also like to place on record our thanks to the green staff, who have worked extremely hard to keep the course in great condition.”
The treasurer also feels the opportunity has been taken during the shutdown to streamline the administration.
“The covid committee has worked tirelessly without remuneration on things like improving the members’ database,” she said.
“Caz Smith has updated the employee handbook and staff contracts in line with the Good Work Plan issued by the Department of Work and Pensions.
“This ensures staff welfare,” she said.