#BackToGolf marked by sunshine, smiles and maybe the odd slice!

England Golf has welcomed the sight of golfers flocking back to the nation’s fairways after today’s reopening of courses and thanked club staff, greenkeepers and volunteers for facilitating the successful and safe return of the game.

With much of the country blessed by mild weather and sunshine, England Golf’s 1,800 affiliated clubs and facilities were once again alive with activity and open for play after an enforced 12-week closure in line with government lockdown restrictions.

Around 637,000 golf club members and many more thousands of pay-as-you-play visitors are now once again able to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of playing the game they love.

With fourballs permitted and England Golf’s ‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ protocols updated and in place, golfers were quick to take advantage of the restart.

From Cumbria to Cornwall, golfers of all ages enjoyed a socially distanced round with friends in a safe and welcoming environment or a return trip to practice areas and driving ranges.

“It was fantastic to see the ‘course closed’ signs being removed and a steady flow of golfers back onto first tees all over the country,” said Jeremy Tomlinson, chief executive of England Golf.

“The game means so much to so many people.

“That buzz of meeting friends, hitting shots, holing putts and enjoying a sport that provides benefits for both body and mind is something we have all missed terribly.

“I’d like to offer my thanks to everyone involved in making sure courses were ready for play and booking systems were up and running for the safe return of golf.

“For most of the country, the sun shone for the game’s return and it is our sincere wish that golfers continue to enjoy the sport, have a fabulous 2021 season and that golf clubs remain the beating heart of communities all over England.”

After a positive #BackToGolf message delivered throughout March on social media, England Golf was tagged on pictures and videos posted by golf clubs and golfers – such as the Berkshire Golf Club pictured above – as players marked a joyful return to the sport.

Men, women, juniors and seniors were captured in action after being quick off the mark to bag a tee-time.

Abbeydale Golf Club’s junior captain Luke Hope-Gill (main image) got things going with a cracking drive.

England Golf regional coach Steve Astle was certainly up with the birdies – to claim a tee-time at one minute past midnight!

Astle joined friends at the Morley Hayes golf complex in Derby (pictured above) to play with illuminated golf balls and floodlighting in aid of a local cancer charity.

Celebrities also took to the fairways with ex-England cricketer Rob Key opening the batting at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent and one-time England and Arsenal footballer Ian Wright looking cool on a motorised buggy as he took things easy on the first day #BackToGolf.

Former England Golf graduates Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood and Felicity Johnson also took to social media to cheer the return of golf for amateur and club golfers across England.

As dawn broke, courses were soon welcoming happy golfers with bright smiles and you can see a wide selection of images and videos posted by clubs and golfers on England Golf’s social media channels.

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