THERE were some very happy golfers at Taunton & Pickeridge, as the game made a welcome return - albeit with restrictions - after a lockdown of eight weeks, writes Richard Walsh.

There has been no shortage of members who want to get out and enjoy the sunshine, and with the course looking in tip-top condition the tee times have been fully booked.

To junior members the return of golf has been doubly welcome because, not only have they been unable to go to school, but they have been deprived of playing the game that they love.

Mike Hooper, the Junior Section organiser, said: “The return to golf has been welcomed by all of the juniors, along with all of the membership at the club.

“We are very lucky to have a dedicated team of greenkeepers at the club who presented us with a course in fantastic condition.”

The junior section includes many families, including junior organiser Mike Hooper, whose son Charlie is the captain, while junior match coordinator Mark Langford’s son Bailey shares the vice-captain duties with Kyle Miller, whose father John is also heavily involved.

The section also includes Lucy Stevenson, who is the daughter of T&P director of golf Simon, while Freddie Eglin's parents Adrian and Zoe play, along with the Walters, the Rews, Joneses, Lameys, Mackays, Geddeses, Canfields, Hubbards and many more.

Hooper went on: “Some of the beauties of golf are the fresh air, scenery, exercise, sunshine and, perhaps the main thing, the lifelong friendship you make with fellow players along the way.

“Sadly the virus has taken away the chance to shake hands at the beginning and end of a round, and the social side of refreshments afterwards.

“However, we can adopt social distancing and make the very best of the opportunity we have been given by England Golf to play and use common sense to look after our wellbeing and act in a safe manner.

“To see the joy and excitement of the juniors getting back out and playing a sport we all love was amazing to witness, and just one of the reasons why we as volunteers give up hours of our time and energy, to support and encourage the future of our game.”

One of the family groups to take advantage of the re-opening of the course were the Rews - Thomas (who plays off a handicap of 21), James (nine) and dad Chris (15).

Rew senior said: “Like most children keen on competitive sport, the last couple of months have been a frustrating time for James and Thomas.

"It is therefore great that they have been able to play golf, and we would like to thank the greenkeepers at T&P, which is in wonderful condition."