Golfers in Lanarkshire dusted down their clubs and returned to the fairways on a fine Friday morning, as coronavirus lockdown measures were eased in Scotland.

And members at Airdrie Golf Club have been making the most of the opportunity.

Glorious sunshine and warm weather greeted the opening tee shots of captain Jack Craig and vice-captain Keith McIntyre, who were then followed by Ladies Captain and Vice-Captain Geraldine Caulfield and Jean Lewis.

Non-contact sports such as tennis and angling were also allowed to resume after over two months in lockdown.

Among new rules introduced for golfers' safety, flagsticks must remain in the hole and players must not touch the flagstick at any time.

Delighted Jack Craig removes a "course closed" sign at Airdrie Golf Club

All putts less than 12 inches must be conceded to reduce the risk to players and avoid as much contact with the hole as possible and bunkers must be smoothed with clubs, with all rakes removed from courses to avoid contamination.

Captain Craig told Lanarkshire Live Sport: “We are absolutely delighted to be back and having such beautiful weather is an added bonus.

"It has been a very long time coming.

Vice-Captain McIntyre added: "It is fantastic to see so many of our members getting a game again.

"They have all been briefed on the safety restrictions that have been put in place and the club will stick rigorously to the government guidelines.

"We have to thank our green staff led by Scott McKnight for producing an exceptional golf course in such difficult circumstances, the place really looks superb.”

Jack Craig tees off early this morning

The announcement of lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for Scotland’s golf courses.

March is traditionally the month where membership fees are due for the following season, and with no golf being likely for months, there were real fears that some clubs might go to the wall.

But as Jack explained, Airdrie’s members rose to the occasion.

“We were genuinely worried that members would consider not renewing their memberships during what was a really uncertain time.

"However, we have been humbled by the support we have received, with over 90% of our members renewing despite no prospect of getting a game for weeks.

"We have also had a steady influx of new members since the announcement of a restart. We cannot praise our members highly enough”

Ladies vice-captain Jean Lewis teeing off

Demand for tee times has been huge for the opening weekend, with limitations on tee times and number of players being imposed by the Scottish Government.

However, Keith is hopeful that the situation will ease over the coming days.

“We need to gauge the flow of play over the weekend to ensure we adhere to social distancing protocols, we can then look at ways to allow more golfers the opportunity to play, especially now that the sun out! It’s just great to be back.”

Restrictions mean that at the moment golf at Airdrie is only available to members.

If anyone is interested in becoming a member of Airdrie Golf Club, they should email [email protected]

* Pictures by Keith McIntyre