Musselburgh pro Norman Huguet believes there will be plenty of positives for golf after lockdown

Norman Huguet, is the PGA professional at Musselburgh Golf ClubNorman Huguet, is the PGA professional at Musselburgh Golf Club
Norman Huguet, is the PGA professional at Musselburgh Golf Club
‘The future may bring more opportunity than we realise’

A Lothians-based golf professional does not believe that black clouds will be hanging over every golf club once courses reopen following the coronavirus closure.

Norman Huguet, the PGA pro at Musselburgh Golf Club, was responding to a report at the weekend claiming drastic measures are looming at some clubs.

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Kevin Fish, a golf consultant based in North Berwick, said he believed radical measures such as some clubs dropping from 18 to nine holes, not having a food and drink provision and the mothballing of pro shops could be in store in Scotland.

“At this moment in time, this is an opinion, not reality,” said Huguet, who succeeded Fraser Mann as the pro at the Monktonhall course. “There are potential solutions to most of the problems forecast.

“All will depend on how quickly we come out of lockdown and how quickly we can progress back to normality.”

Referring to the possibility of some clubs losing members due to suffering financial

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problems, he added: “I think resignations will have a lot to do with when your subs fell due.

“Looking from another perspective, I’ve never seen so much demand and excitement to get back on the golf course than we have right now.

“Food and beverage although limited, can be adapted to a takeaway service. As for mothballing pro shops!!?

“A good pro will be the biggest recruiter for new members the club will have so therefore, with challenges discussed, they are more required now than ever. Domestically, due to restrictions in travel abroad, there will potentially be a demand for local, UK-based visitor income in exchange for golf holidays cancelled. Again, all depends on the rate of which restrictions are lifted.

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“I agree, it’s time for the right, experienced and qualified people to run the club, but the future may well bring more opportunities than we realise.”

Clubs in England are set to find that out before the ones in Scotland due to Prime Minister Boris Johnson having given the green light for courses south of the Border to reopen tomorrow.

It had initially been thought the restart would be restricted to only people from the same household, but it has now been confirmed that it is permissable with someone from another household with social distancing in place.

However, due to devolved administrations taking differing approaches to the coronavirus lockdown, golf courses in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will remain closed.

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A statement from Scottish Golf read: “Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, we are writing to confirm that the position outlined by Scottish Golf for Golf in Scotland remains unchanged. The message is still clear – stay at home and save lives.

“We remain in daily dialogue with the Scottish Government and other golfing bodies throughout the UK, to ensure that when it is deemed safe to do so in Scotland, that we are ready to support our golf clubs with a concise protocol for reopening.

“We will update our membership as soon as the Scottish Government agrees a plan on a safe return to golf. Scottish Golf would like to thank all of our members for their continued support in following the guidelines in such difficult times.”