Richard Winchester found a unique way to keep playing golf during lockdown – by creating a virtual version of his local track at Leighton Buzzard.
Golfers across England have been playing the game in their heads since courses closed on 4 January and they waited for the government to signal a return to live play.
Now, with courses due to reopen on Monday 29 March and the hashtag #BackToGolf starting to trend across the country in anticipation of the game’s return, one golf club member will be more prepared than most.
Rather than simply imagining his next round at Leighton Buzzard Golf Club, the 34-year-old golfer has been playing it virtually, from the comfort of his own sofa.
The latest golf game, PGA Tour 2K21, allows gamers to create their own courses and upload for others to play.
And Winchester did just that with the layout at Leighton Buzzard.
“I have always had an interest in designing on computer games,” the golfer told the Leighton Buzzard Observer.
“When the pandemic stopped us all from playing golf, I thought I could bring it direct into our living rooms instead, to attempt to fill a void for members.
“I have a very good memory and looked at Google Maps a lot for working out the distancing. The process involves shaping the land first, this is so important, particularly at a place like Leighton Buzzard which has well sculpted holes and changes in land height.
“At first you are given a flat plot with nothing on, then you place the trees, the bunkers and finally the hole shapes and greens.”
For those wanting to give this a go with their home course, you had better clear your schedule.
Winchester admits the idea took him more than 150 hours in total, although this didn’t put him off also creating nearby Aldwickbury Golf Club on the game.
“I am very pleased with how Leighton Buzzard turned out,” added the avid gamer and golfer
“My favourite part was seeing the 11th and 17th finished, I shocked myself!
“I designed the course purely for people to enjoy. So if you are thinking of having a guest round or society visit at the club, why not play a round online before to get used to the course?”