Golfers were among those to take some encouragement from last week's government announcement of the 'Roadmap to Reopening'.

But when the gates finally open on 18 May after closing on 24 March, they may find available tee times are at a premium - possibly on par with tickets for Royal Portrush last July. The only sensible advice is to book early, or risk missing out.

If the experience in Denmark is anything to go by, demand will be very high after almost two months in which Irish golfers have been getting their fix from Pádraig Harrington’s tips on Twitter and endless tournament repeats on subscription TV.

David Shepherd is CEO of The Scandinavian, one of Denmark’s top facilities located some 25km from the centre of Copenhagen and featuring two courses (think Carton House or K Club).

Shepherd's words of advice for countries such as Ireland is to expect huge demand. He said: "Imagine every one of your members wants to play in the first three days of opening and, if you have that in your mind, you can put in the right restrictions and rules to make sure you that you handle that.

"Immediately we'd a lot of members who couldn’t get a tee time and were just screaming!"

"The first day that we announced reopening and opened the timesheet, we got this surge of panic booking. We’d allowed members to book as they normally would with a 28-day booking window but what we found after a day was that the next seven or even ten days were completely full already.

"So immediately we’d a lot of members who couldn’t get a tee time and were just screaming! We came under pressure to change our normal rules for this unusual situation."

Echoing the general approach to slowly easing restrictions in Ireland, Shepherd says: "It’s much easier to soften it later than going back if you get it slightly wrong. Start off very, very safe. Start off very limited and then relax it as your members get used to it and you feel comfortable."

John McCormack is both general manager of Castle Golf Club in Dublin and also president of the Irish Golf & Club Managers Association (IGCMA) which has been hosting weekly Zoom calls with up to 50 participants.

Learnings from the Danes, plus experiences in Sweden and New Zealand, have helped to shape the protocols that will come into force in Ireland where the sport's governing bodies are also stressing a conservative approach.

"You’re going to be in restricted groups and with longer gaps between tee times, so there are less available slots and you have to set up your timesheets to give everyone a fair chance to get a game," says McCormack.

"The logic behind that is that we’re trying to avoid gathering in car parks, in or around the clubhouse, in or around the first tee box or even on tee boxes out on the golf course."

So what will golf look like from a player's point of view on 18 May?

The good news is that you might find your course in better condition than expected. After some alarm over the last weekend in March that courses would be left untended, the Government confirmed that course maintenance could continue.

And with no golfers in the way, greenkeepers were able to work unimpeded and many clubs posted photographs of pristine fairways on social media.

Some things will be different. Initially, tee times will have to be pre-booked. Moreover, timesheets will have to be retained for six weeks in case contact tracing is required. Memberships at some clubs are hard to come by but Covid-19 can get in everywhere.

The Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union now have plans that run parallel to the Government's loosening of restrictions at intervals of three weeks and initially the maximum number of players in a group will be three and at 14 minute intervals.This should restrict the total number of players on the course at any one time to 60, which is about 55% of normal capacity.

Almost all locker rooms and clubhouses will be closed, so you should arrive no more than 15 minutes before your tee time, dressed to play and change your shoes in the car park. A visit to the toilet will be the only clubhouse access.

If you're used to taking a few practice putts before heading to the first tee, you may be surprised to find that there are no holes cut on the putting green. No shared surfaces, remember? It will be a case of sticking a tee in the ground and putting towards that.

Clubs are encouraged to have hand sanitisers and social distancing signage on the way to the first tee, but when you get there, don't expect to sit on a bench. Nor to find a ball washer. Almost all course furniture will be removed.

Remember that it is casual golf to start with – no competitions – so if you lose a ball, don’t walk back to play from the original position. Just drop another.

If you land in a bunker, it is not likely to be as well maintained as usual as there will be no rakes. Don't do a Patrick Reed. Do smooth the bunker as you leave with your club or shoe.  

There may be variations on what to do on the green, but you're not supposed to touch the flag or the flagstick. World number 55, Adam Hadwin, is so freaked by the idea of putting with the flag in that he would consider postponing his return to the PGA Tour if that is mandatory. 

For club golfers, it's a case of 'get over it'. Some courses will have the lining of the hole inverted so that the ball doesn't drop below the surface of the green while several companies have come out with smart ideas to allow the ball to be retrieved with your putter and not your hand. Here's one solution:

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With many courses having both the first tee and 10th tee close to the clubhouse, starting from both and limiting players to only nine holes is an option that will allow more people to get out, but wherever you finish your round, remember not to shake hands or air-kiss! 

Unlike on marquee nights at the club such as 'Captain's Prize', there will be no drinks at the bar. You will be encouraged to vacate the premises quickly. The Irish Open is postponed, there may be no inter-club competitions on this island in 2020 but for the thousands of golfers who have been missing the game, that post-round pint or cuppa can wait. A flushed drive, a crisp iron or a decent putt will do fine.

The full protocol for the re-introduction of golf in the Republic of Ireland can be found here. Further communication relating specifically to Northern Ireland will be issued after the UK government/NI Executive confirms arrangements.