THE doors of golf clubs around the country have swung open and close numerous times over the last year.

Their latest shutdown should not carry the same amount of damage as the previous ones, but still serves as a reminder to how problematic the pandemic has been for the sport.

After suffering a two-month suspension last March, the summer saw an increase in interest, though, a further two lockdowns in the past three months has put paid to that happening in the winter.

Ilkley Golf Club manager Mark Taylor explains the situation and talks about the frustration suffered, despite only a few inter-club events falling by the wayside.

He said: "When the latest lockdown was announced, England Golf got in touch with all the clubs and made it clear we had to close until further notice.

"We are just waiting and hoping we can open as soon as the lockdown restrictions are eased. We understand the bigger picture so we just have to do as we are instructed and wait.

"We have had a bit of snow recently so we would have been closed anyway. We are definitely a lot busier in summer, those are our key months from a financial perspective.

"If you had to pick a time of year to be in lockdown and be closed, then January and February would be the time.

"However, it is still frustrating for all our members and golfers in general that something that they could be doing outdoors, in a time when you can’t do anything else, is not allowed."

Something that has aggrieved Bradford Union president Simon Tabel is the fact angling is still permitted, and Taylor agrees mentioning the safe way golf returned eight months ago.

"That is why a lot of golfers are frustrated," he added.

"Golf has adapted to the pandemic. It has put certain protocols in place to ensure it can be played in a Covid-safe way.

"Even if they had restricted it to two players per playing group, people could play with one other person like you can go out for a walk with someone from a different household.

"Golf can be played whilst maintaining social distance. It has left a lot of questions and frustrations amongst golfers, that’s for sure."

Of course, financially the sport has taken a hit and Taylor feels when they do get playing again it is integral their hospitality can reopen too.

He said: "Whilst we are fortunate to take steps to protect ourselves by utilising some of the government support schemes which are in place, every club is still finding it difficult.

"Hopefully golf is back this summer and restrictions on hospitality are lifted too so we can get people using the clubhouse again which is an important thing for us.

"There’s a real social aspect to golf. A lot of golfers like to go for a bite to eat and a drink after their round. To have that taken away from them is difficult."

The greens staff are currently busy maintaining the Ilkley course, hopefully after the next Government review on February 15 the club can get back to business.