WITH golf courses opening up to more and more people this week, Deer Park pro Alan Staunton says “it feels like Christmas” following months in cold storage.
After a soft opening of sorts, members, guests and visitors were all able to play four-balls from Monday and Staunton says there is never going to be a better time to get out and play.
Like so many around the city, Dublin’s courses have been busy the extended break to get into tip-top shape and finally getting fuller usage.
“People are itching to go; the amount of calls we have got to Deer Park, looking to play,” Staunton told the Dublin Gazette on Monday morning as the first groups headed out at the picture-perfect venue.
“The course is looking class. It was frustrating to see an immaculate course with the fairways cut, the bunkers done, and then see no one allowed play it. We weren’t allowed play on the property but it was right there on our front door, begging to be played.
“Since lockdown, Tetrarch [who bought Howth Castle and Demesne in 2019] have done tonnes of work. The big thing has been to get the greens faster and healthier, getting them fed with fertiliser and stuff to do that.
“More challenging, there was new sand in the bunkers, new flags, new signs, bins. We banned plastic tees, new machinery. It was a weird thing, there was a hive of activity but almost no one on the golf course. Lots of little jobs that had been on the long finger for ‘next season’ was done.”
As such, Staunton says it is like a “light at the end of a tunnel” after a year of making plans, adjusting and then readjusting.
Deer Park, though, have big plans in place with another course and new hotel in the pipeline.
And, ultimately, Staunton feels the clubs that survived the lockdown will now have so many things in place to aid future success.
“The bad thing was obviously a lot of people couldn’t go on the golf course. The good thing is the phone has been hopping with people looking to join Deer Park.
“Hopefully, we will never have a time like it but there was the positives. Golf was one of the first things to be re-opened one of the safer things to do. It has been good that more people are now interested in playing golf but bad that there is only half a year in 2021.
“Competitions are a little while away. I think it will be soon in a couple of weeks. A lot of people have asked about it but you have to say: ‘guys, listen, you are golfing. That’s the main thing!’
“A couple of weeks ago, they would have given anything to golf but now they are golfing, enjoy it! There’s going to be a lot of rust on people’s swings. Get that rust off and use this couple of weeks to get your game in shape.”