GOLF clubs in north and west Wiltshire have urged golfers to ‘play safe and stay safe’ after re-opening following the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown.

Many golf clubs re-opened to members on May 13 but many have now also re-opened to allow non-members to play.

Marlborough Golf Club re-opened to visitors from Monday, June 1 and hopes to welcome societies and corporate bookings again soon.

Like many clubs, it has postponed golf competitions until later this year in the hope that lockdown restrictions will have been lifted.

The Manor House Golf Club at Castle Combe is just one of the clubs that has adopted England Golf’s ‘Play safe, stay safe’ viewpoint.

Andrew Ryan, the Manor House Golf Club manager, said: “We have put numerous procedures in place, some may seem slightly against the R&A rule book, but they are important and designed to ensure that we uphold our part in alleviating the virus and are alert to its dangers in order to protect our members and employees.

“Ultimately, we want everyone to ‘play safe, stay safe.”

Westbury Golf Course has also announced that it is now open to non-members.

After two weeks of exclusive use for members only, Westbury Golf course is once again open to the general public.

Club secretary Bob Rawlings, said: “It’s been extremely busy with members delighted to be able to play again after lockdown but we are now keen to allow our Pay and Play customers the opportunity to enjoy a round.”

Clubs have introduced new social distancing rules to ensure that staff, guests and customers stay safe.

At Westbury Golf Club, they have introduced a new online booking system and golfers will have to book in advance with 20 minutes between tee times.

Mr Rawlings added: “Safety is obviously our main concern, and special measures have been put in place to help people “play safe”, including waiting in your car until 10 minutes before your tee off, and ensuring the flag stick is not touched, with a hole liner used to stop the ball falling below the surface.”

The Manor House Golf Club is operating stringent procedures to safeguard its members and employees while also supporting players’ personal health and wellbeing.

Mr Ryan said: “In line with government advice, paid up club associates can be accompanied by members of their household or with one other person from outside their household, while practising social distancing.

“To ensure social distancing is adhered to, tee times must be booked in advance.”

A societal swing towards contact-less environments means scoring cards will be torn up during lockdown in favour of the scoring app, VPAR and any payments will be cashless.

The Manor House has also re-edited its course etiquette guide and tweaked its rules to include not holding the flag on the green and the removal of rakes at bunkers.

The government’s revised guidance on exercise also mean locals can book matches on the Manor House’s tennis courts.