Londoner and Walton Heath member Charles Briscoe-Knight spent lockdown in California and has just played his first round of golf in many weeks after golf courses there reopened. He tells TG what his first round back was like, played at Seascape Golf Club in Aptos…
On arrival we noticed that the car park was only half full, which was a slight surprise given it was a spectacular day weather-wise, with no cloud and the temperature at 74 degrees.
The green fee was a little shock as it was about 30% higher than normal. My guess is that some courses will up their fees to recover losses.
Play was only allowed in two balls and the usual buggy had been dismissed. Trolleys were allowed, but only those owned by the player.
We checked in by the putting green with a starter in a little tent with a table containing wet wipes, disinfectant/sanitizer and a tablet.
The first impression was that they had mowed the green well but not to the same speed as usual. Otherwise the place looked immaculate, albeit a bit soulless with very little activity around the proximity of the clubhouse..
Teeing off was normal, and walking was a joy compared to the normality in the US of riding a buggy with someone four inches from you!
The club had decided to go with raised cups in the holes and no flagsticks. Seeing the cup was tricky in the bright sun. It was also difficult to get some sort of perspective when near to the green and you needed a “feel” shot rather than a scoped distance from a rangefinder, or when the cup was placed behind a high lipped bunker.
With only social golf being allowed, there was hardly any need for card and pencil and hence exchanging cards for completion by your partner, so one card was issued, and both scores noted. All the ball washers were shrouded in plastic covers, but with the weather so good they weren’t needed anyway.
The total experience was a delight and really not a lot different to a normal game.
The handshake at the completion of the round was abandoned for a knock elbows/fist bump. No big deal there. It is after all the display of camaraderie thats important.
After round is the obviously big difference as there was no clubhouse access, and therefore no drinks or snacks. It was straight to the car park, load up, change shoes and off.