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Captain Chris still able to drive-in

THE new captain at a Northwich-based golf club was able to hold his Captain’s Drive-In last weekend, without breaking any coronavirus lockdown rules.

For Hartford Golf Club’s new skipper Chris Whalley lives on-site so was able to take his first official tee shot on the opening par five watched by just his fiancée Sam!

“It was a bit different,” said Chris. “Normally there would have been 60 or 70 members heckling the captain for his drive-in, so it was a bit surreal. Strangely, I still felt a bit nervous because Sam was filming it all and we then posted it online. Members had still been guessing the distance of my drive, which ended up going 233 yards,” said the 10-handicapper.

“We just wanted the members to still feel involved,” added the 40-year-old who will drive-in again when the club re-opens its doors.

Chris, who is head chef at Hartford, added: “There’s been loads of positive feedback from people to say what a great idea it was to still tee off. Our lady captain got involved too by having a Lady Captain’s Chip-In from her back garden the following day. That was filmed too and is online as well.

“I’ve been able to play a few holes of golf with my eldest daughter as the course is our back garden and there is no-one else around. The course is looking absolutely amazing and we’ve been able to bring forward some of the essential maintenance work so there won’t be any disruption once we do re-open. It’s just such a shame that people can’t play at the minute.”

Chris has been a member for seven years and played at Hartford’s sister course, Pryors Hayes, for five years before that.

“I’ve got a Captain’s Away Day in late July and my Captain’s Day in August so hopefully they can still go ahead. I’m really hopeful that in the long-term, the pandemic won’t be too negative for golf. Those that already play are itching to get back out there and people that maybe haven’t played before can see the health benefits so may think about taking it up,” added Chris, who will raise funds for Cheshire Down Syndrome, based in Northwich, during his year.