ALL golfers are champing at the bit for the lockdown rules to be lifted enough to allow them to get back out onto the course, and none more than the four captains at Enmore Park Golf Club - Phil Hodge, Alison Marchant, Mike Sullivan and Ollie Thomas, writes Richard Walsh.

In normal circumstances, each of the individual captains’ time in office would be well underway by the start of May, but not this year.

Phil Hodge, the club captain, is well known locally, having played bowls to a high standard, as well as turning out for Bridgwater & Albion 1st XV, before taking up golf at the age of 40.

“Since I have had the pleasure of being a member at Enmore Park my handicap has reduced from 28 to 10, but it wasn’t until my retirement in 2014 that I started to play golf on a more competitive basis, and during normal times I play four or five times a week,” Hodge said.

“I have only managed to get my name on the Honours Board on one occasion, but golf is more about enjoyment and friendship than trophies, and I have made a lot of friends through this great game.

“I am extremely proud and humble to be club captain and I will do my best to uphold the good name that is Enmore Park Golf Club.

“Luckily at Enmore we have a loyal membership pulling together with our very hard working, dedicated, professional Board of Directors all striving to ensure that we have a club and course to return to once this nightmare is over.”

Ladies captain Alison Marchant has been a member for six years, and said: “I have enjoyed my involvement very much, so when I was asked if I’d be interested in captaincy I was delighted and think it’s a real privilege,” she said.

“My challenge during the lockdown is to try to keep the ladies section together so that they know that there is a club to come back to.

“I email a newsletter every two weeks sharing stories and ideas, to let everyone know we are there to support them if needed.

“I am really missing the ladies’ company and as well as a sporting activity it’s a family at Enmore, so we all look out for each other.

“My aim is to play with every lady member and the first thing that I want to do once we get back to some sort of normality is to organise a golfing day for my captain’s charity.”

Mike Sullivan is the seniors captain, and prior to taking up golf played for Bridgwater Cricket and Hockey Clubs.

He said: “In 2001 I decided it was time for a change and although I had never played golf I really enjoyed it.

“I now play on average about three times a week and I am off a handicap of 10.

“Golf is such a social activity as well as being good exercise and played in a very pleasant atmosphere, which is what we all miss the most with this lockdown.

“The best part about it is that I have made so many friends and met up with other people who I have played sport with and against in the past.

“The best thing about getting back will be meeting up again with the friends, even if it’s with social distancing.

“We keep in touch during the lockdown but you miss out on the banter and the chit-chat during the golf.”

Junior captain Ollie Thomas is 17 years old and has been a member for three years, after joining as part of the Enmore Park talent spotting day.

“My first handicap was 34 and now I am down to nine, which I am happy with,” Thomas said.

“In the winter I normally play twice a week, while in the summer it can be as many as five times, or more.”

Last year the youngster played 72 holes in one day in aid of McMillan Cancer and helped raise over £2k.

“I enjoy taking part in a lot of competitions, both juniors and seniors as well, which has given me the chance to interact with a lot of the other members, which is an important part of the game.

“When I was asked to become junior captain I was really thrilled because I wanted to take on more responsibility.

“I am hoping to be a good leader for the section and look forward to winning a few fixtures against the ladies section and the Enmore Royals, as well as playing for the juniors on other courses, although I’m not sure too much of this will happen.”