Gunnedah's golfers wasted no time in getting back out on the course after the state government backflipped on a decision to close all courses.
The local course has been closed for two days but the Office of Sport reconsidered its decision on Wednesday because people are allowed to leave their homes to exercise.
NVI spotted at least six golfers in pairs on the course before 9am on Thursday.
It's good news for the Gunnedah Golf Club whose course has suffered through the drought and just undergone a major investment to protect its long-term future.
Club manager Steve Johnston said the phone was running hot when the news broke yesterday.
"It's good to give people an outlet again," he said.
"Any way they can go out and have their exercise in a controlled environment is good."
Mr Johnston said they didn't make a decision to reopen yesterday because they wanted the tick of approval from Golf NSW first, and to clarify if there were any grey areas.
He said the club was already adhering to social distancing rules before they had to close, so they will continue to abide by government regulations.
"We're happy to obey government direction. They're getting informed with the right information and individually and as a group, we're doing what we can.
The temporary closure didn't pause the work of the course's keepers who are hard at it, maintaining the course as it continues to recover from the drought.
Of particular focus are the newly established couch fairways, which are being overseen by grass master Ian Elphick.
The hybrid couch is drought-tolerant and is in use at only one other golf course in Australia.
Mr Elphick said it can be difficult to establish and conditions have to be ideal when it is sown because it is planted between 3mm and 6mm and rain can wash it out.
"Everything has to be perfect for the seed to strike," he said.
But the club has had great success, sewing 16 holes over a period of two weeks.
"Conditions are good and the rain made the big difference ... we worked really hard with it to get it to where it is now. It was pretty good after about 30 days," he said.
"To establish it over 44 days, it took about 25 [megalitres] of water.
"When you establish it, you mow it every second day and roll it ... it makes it run across."
Now about six weeks on from the first planting, the fairways are "unreal" and have been praised by golfers.
Mr Elphick has been looking after the course for nine years and said the result was "unbelievable".
"I've never seen anything like it," he said.
It's a huge difference, especially when he thinks back to the desolation of the kikuyu fairways after the drought.
"It was virtually 85 per cent dirt. It just meant golfers were playing off the dirt and the dust was shocking," Mr Elphick said.
The club spent a pretty penny keeping water up to the course because its dams were empty and there was no water in the river to pump in.
Mr Elphick says the new grass was a game-changer when it came to water consumption because unlike kikuyu, the couch only needs to be watered twice a week, and "it handles the drought".
"Next summer, it will hardly use water at all. It loves the heat. It will stand up to any sort of heat. When it gets real hot and dry, and say we go through another drought, the couch will come back, but the kikuyu was gone," he said.
Other advantages are that it halves the need for chemicals, and the mowing time.
"It's a hybrid couch so you can actually spray anything else out of it in winter if you want, so chemicals cost less than half," he said.
It's all about conservation in the future - less water, less mowing.Steve Johnston, Gunnedah Golf Club manager
Mr Elphick said the kikuyu will remain for the moment to give the couch some protection from frosts over winter, but next year they will spray it out.
"We'll be running three grasses. The reason we run three grasses is because bent is quite easy to put on, kikuyu is on the apron because it's easy to keep out of the bent, so you can keep your greens pure, and the fairways, you're better off having that in couch because of the water," he said.
Mr Johnston said the club had invested about $35,000 in the couch far but there would be more associated costs for fertiliser and mowing.
"It will be good for us long-term because we wouldn't have had any fairways. We had barely anything left. We would have had to do some sort of sewing. It's all about conservation in the future - less water, less mowing," he said.
"Long-term, it's a good investment."