Local company hits the mark with new flag-lifting device
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A Wick business has helped local golf clubs prepare to reopen by gifting new "no touch" flag-lifting devices which will allow golfers to meet the current Covid-19 restrictions.
With golf courses throughout Scotland poised to reopen on Friday, the new gadget means players will be able to reduce possible contamination by not having to touch the flagstick when retrieving golf balls at the end of each hole – one of the recommendations from the governing body Scottish Golf.
The devices were made by Hunter's Promotions, which specialises in the design and manufacture of bespoke golf products.
Business owner John Hunter explained that the original concept hit the market about two months ago and he then made his own improvisation.
"I came up with a design which will do the job – it works," he said.
"I'm just so delighted to do it for Wick, Thurso, Reay, Lybster and Durness. I knew the local clubs were struggling at the moment and these would be quite expensive to buy.
"It is nice to give something back to them and help keep us safe."
The golf ball lifters have been delivered to the local clubs so that they can be installed ready for the planned reopening of the courses on May 29.
Reay Golf Club captain Andy Bain pointed out that the small bars that fix to the flagsticks mean players will be able to retrieve their golf balls on completing each hole without touching the flag. Instead they can use their putters to lift up the flag by hooking them into the bar attachment.
"We at Reay very much appreciate this kind gesture at this difficult and unprecedented times for all golf clubs," he said.
"John and Christine Hunter have kindly donated these to the clubs in Caithness knowing that they will all be struggling."
The club captain said he felt similar devices would have cost them around £360 to instal at all 18 holes.
He added that Mr Hunter had been given free membership at Reay, saying: "When the restrictions are relaxed he will be more than welcome to come up and play at any time."
Hunter's Promotions has also been approached by an agent in Denmark keen to purchase the golf ball lifter. A new rule in 2019 allowed golfers to leave the flag in the hole while putting.
The power of the internet has led to the local company securing deals with many overseas customers and it has been kept busy recently on products for a new large course near St Andrews – Dumbarnie Links.