Golf begins in Bengaluru post COVID-19 hiatus

Golfers savoured the picturesque Nandi Hills backdrop while hitting their drives, marking among the first scenes of sports in the country since the lockdown.

Golfer Shankar Gopal in action at Prestige Golf Shire on Nandi Hills Road near Bengaluru on Thursday.   -  G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR

 

After a long hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, organised sports action resumed with golfers teeing off at Prestige Golfshire here on Thursday.

Around 45 golfers savoured the picturesque Nandi Hills backdrop while hitting their drives and putts, marking among the first scenes of sports in the country since the lockdown came into effect.

Adequate precautionary measures were followed to ensure safety.

Golfers — comprising mostly of club members — wore masks and maintained social distancing. Every golfer was given a cart for use, which helped avoid any form of fraternising through walking the course.

All carts were sanitised after every round, with only one golfer allowed in a cart. Caddies were not in action; they performed the role of ball-spotters instead to ensure timely completion of rounds.

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Temperature checks were conducted at the entrance, followed by a mandatory check of the Aarogya Setu application. Golfers booked their spots through online registrations, and all payments — for course fee, green fees etc. — were cashless (through UPI applications).

The clubhouse facility for food and beverages was not open; golfers could only use a takeaway facility.

In a novel initiative, Prestige Golfshire used a ball-lifter to take the ball out of the cup after the putt is completed. After sinking a putt, a golfer pulls a lever attached to the flag with his club, resulting in the ball popping out of the hole and onto the green. This device helps reduce secondary contact, as it eliminates the need to reach into the cup and take out the ball with the hand.

Shankar Gopal, a club member, was thrilled to return to the course. He played a round with his wife Suparna, with their son following them in a third cart. “The experience has been really enjoyable. I am really happy to be out and on the course after a long time,” Suparna said.

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