News DEBRA Golf Society is Back by Steve Rider The DEBRA Golf Society organises around 16 golf days every year which provide a significant source of funds for DEBRA as well as a great way of introducing new people to the charity. We were due to start our 2020 schedule on 8 April at Hankley Common Golf Club in Surrey, but sadly COVID-19 got in our way. Great news, however! DEBRA golf is back today on Ferndown and everyone is eager to tee off… “It was the news we had all been waiting for. Golf is back. I headed to the first tee expecting things to be just the same, and it was; a high slice that got progressively worse as the round went on. But then there was the new normal. We played in pairs. My partner wore a mask, which was very appropriate given his dodgy handicap, and with no mucking about with bunker rakes or flags and with some extravagant concessions because you didn’t want to put your hand in the hole, we strolled round in three hours twenty minutes and it was one of the most enjoyable rounds you can imagine. So it wasn’t just that golf was back, the sport had returned clearly having re-invented itself in a new streamlined form. I couldn’t wait to ring my good friend Peter Alliss, President of the DEBRA Golf Society and someone who is positively evangelical about improving the pace of play. ‘Golf isn’t back until the clubhouse is fully open, and the pros shop can sell bits and pieces and organisations like DEBRA can get back to raising some much needed money.’ And he was right of course. The task now is to make our return to the golf course into a return to the clubhouse, or at least a return to the fundraising for EB families which is even more important after the events of the last two months. It was also a chance to talk to Peter about the resumption of golf at the highest level which will possibly feature the Masters at Augusta in November. So many traditional ingredients, that we take for granted will be missing, in particular the whole springtime panorama of the Augusta National. ‘It could turn out to be absolutely anything in terms of weather, but I just hope it isn’t played behind closed doors because it just wouldn’t be the Masters.’ He went on to talk about the recent return of live golf coverage with the charity fourball at Seminole in Florida which sadly was a pretty glum affair with the players self-consciously struggling to interact in the deserted atmosphere. Whatever happens at Augusta, Peter may well have to be resigned to the fact that he will be watching the drama unfold from a commentary box in Salford , with everyone, the BBC in particular, having to cope with the current travel restrictions and budget limitations. This will be especially sad as it was set to be one of Peters last appearances working at the Masters. But, as Peter says, Golf isn’t back until the clubhouse is open, but until then I am sure with the help of yourselves and the ingenuity of the DEBRA golf team we can find some way of making our newly restored playing privileges work for the continuing benefit of our good friends at DEBRA. In the meantime, enjoy your golf and we will get together as soon as it is safe to do so.” Now, writing in early July, DEBRA Golf Society is delighted that our 2020 season will start after all, on Friday 17 July at Ferndown Golf Club in Dorset. We will have to do things a little differently, minimising contact and handling of scorecards, for example, by asking players to text scores and auction bids to us. Golf lends itself well to social distancing with designated routes to take around the course, no touching of flags, no rakes in bunkers and limitations on numbers and time in the dining room for lunch, we will be back fundraising for DEBRA. By the time you read this, we will be planning for the remainder of our golf days, some of which have been rescheduled to later in the year. We will be visiting Hankley Common, St George’s Hill, Little Aston, Bearwood Lakes, Archerfield, New Zealand, JCB Club and The Berkshire amongst others. You can find full details at www.debra.org.uk/golf - we are always keen to welcome new golfers along so please help spread the word to your golfing friends!