A golf club chairman has revealed his cautious optimism ahead of plans to reopen all facilities next spring.

The district’s golf clubs were ordered to close for a second time this year as part of the Government’s second lockdown strategy.

And while clubs experienced a two-month closure in March, golfers were back swinging on fairways and putting greens in time for the summer.

Graham Wilson, chairman of Bellingham Golf Club, said staff had been fastidious about keeping people away earlier this year, but called on golfers to take up memberships at the North Tyne course.

“The season was very complicated in that we were dealing with new protocols every two to three weeks on whether we could serve members in the clubhouse,” Graham said.

Increased health and safety measures have transformed the golfing landscape in the UK, and Graham admitted clubs have suffered as a result.

But an increased interest in exercise and daily activity benefited golf greatly, and clubs throughout the county saw demand in memberships boom.

Graham explained: “People realised the value of having a membership to constantly use the club’s facilities.

“The day we reopened, on May 13, I said it was a big day for golf clubs and invited golfers as we had tee times coming out of our ears.

“We’re in the best position we have been in since 1998.”

Golf courses are expected to reopen on December 2, in line with the lifting of the UK lockdown, but local clubs have recently fallen foul of the torrid Tynedale weather.

“While things are looking promising I am not fully confident because it’s now a question of how much golf we can play,” Graham added.

“We have had a lot of rain in the past two months and that makes repairs to the fairways a lot harder. “

But, for now, golfers and clubs are pining for the chance to hit a golf ball again.

Graham said: “I am not sure what will happen in two weeks time, but we hope to be fully operating and open on April 1.”