Captain Dougie Cockburn uses 1950s driver to launch Linlithgow Golf Club 2020 season

To show the strange coronavirus-hit times we live in, a grand total of three people were in attendance for last Friday’s official 2020 season opening at Linlithgow Golf Club!

Friday, 5th June 2020, 3:57 pm
Updated Friday, 5th June 2020, 4:00 pm
Dougie Cockburn officially launches 2020 season at Linlithgow GC.

Club captain Dougie Cockburn – using a ceremonial driver made in the 1950s – struck the traditional opening tee shot at 10am, only watched by general manager John McClymont and vice captain Liam Maguire.

The wood used by captain Cockburn to deliver the opening shot had been presented to the club way back in 1959 by Gena MacKinnon, of the family which owned the land on which the club was built.

“Usually a crowd of around 20 invited guests would be watching the opening tee shot but it was a bit different this year due to the effects of Covid-19,” John told the Journal and Gazette.

“So it was unfortunate that we had to open in these circumstances.

“It was more a symbolic opening because the first round had actually started at 7am.

“To accommodate the number of members that were wanting to play, we had opened the tee from 7am up until 9.30pm (when players could only play a few holes until bad light stopped play).

“There were no spaces at all on the first day until 8.30pm so it was full all the way through.

“That was repeated by and large over the weekend.

“My best guess would be that everyone was delighted to be back on the course after an absence of 10 weeks.”

Members, playing in pairs only, packed out Linlithgow GC as the club followed most others across Scotland in reopening as part of Phase One of the Scottish Government’s easing of coronavirus lockdown which also allowed play at our tennis, fishing and bowls clubs.

Golfers playing at Linlithgow are going off at 10-minute intervals, with no visiting players allowed for the time being.

Social distancing measures include no shaking hands, closed clubhouse and toilet facilities, no rakes in bunkers, on course ball cleaners being covered and an insert in the holes which means players don’t have to pick their ball from the bottom.