22 Apr 2020

Getting back on course can't come soon enough for Fox

5:21 pm on 22 April 2020

Golf is set to be one of the first sports to return to any sort of normality when New Zealand moves from level four to lock down level three next week.

New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox.


New Zealand Golf has confirmed courses will open under level three but with strict rules and movement.

Ryan Fox is one of New Zealand's leading golfers and is back home in Auckland in lockdown.

The European Tour player said being able to get out and practice at his Royal Auckland club can't come soon enough.

"It will be the first time I have hit a golf ball in five weeks.

"I don't have any space, or something to hit balls into, at home so it will be nice to get back out there and I have certainly got the itch to be back out there not having touched the clubs for a few weeks."

The past five weeks at home had been the longest he had spent in Auckland for the past decade.

He had a similar period away from the sport this time last year but under very different circumstances - he spent a month travelling around Africa on his honeymoon.

The time off "didn't end up being very good for the golf game - but this time would be different.

"I've got at least three months till I play a tournament, so that's a fair amount of time to get the game back into shape.

"I've been keeping the body and mind pretty good shape over lockdown so hopefully it doesn't take too much for the golf swing to come back."

Adjusting to the sport under level three would be relatively straight forward for golfers of all levels, he felt.

"Most of the social distancing things were already in place anyway before we went into lockdown - with no rakes (in bunkers) and cups turned upside down so people didn't touch the flags...

"But it will be nice to just get out and I think it will be good for a lot of people's mental health."

As for a return to play on professional tours that was at least three months off.

Although Fox said that "seems optimistic," as it won't be tour organisers who ultimately decide but rather governments who will dictate the ability of players to travel internationally.

"It would be nice if (three months) was the case... but I am also planning that I might not be able to play golf for the rest of the year if things stay the way they are.

"All my mates on the European Tour are looking forward to getting back to playing at some level but they also accept it might be a long time before things are back to normal."

Even when tournament play did eventually resume, Fox predicted things would be very different.

"It might be a bit smaller, for a while there's unlikely to be any crowds so it will be a different feel."

Lockdown wise there had been some benefit for Fox, as he and his wife had just moved into a new house which had taken some organising and helped him to "stay sane" - at least initially.

The last couple of weeks, though, he had struggled to "kill time... but at least things now seem to be heading in the right direction and hopefully the end is near."