The Muswellbrook Squash Club has swung back into action to organise a short tournament at Denman Indoor Sports Centre following the end of the recent COVID lockdown.
The six-round competition began on Tuesday, October 26 and will culminate in a play-off final on December 14, 2021.
The secretary of the Muswellbrook Squash Club, Chris Agosto, said the pre-Christmas tournament was a great way for the club to celebrate the easing of COVID restrictions.
"It's been great to be able to get a short tournament up and running here in Denman and to get everybody back together for a hit," Mr Agosto said.
"We're hoping that if the new Muswellbrook squash courts open before Christmas that we'll be able to hold the finals of the tournament at the new courts."
Mr Agosto said the club was eager for the squash facilities at the Muswellbrook RSL Golf Club to open and hoped the courts would enable the club to attract new members.
"We've been without squash facilities in Muswellbrook for about seven years now," he said.
"When the previous facilities closed and we had to begin using the Denman facilities we had about 80 players come with us, but gradually that number has dwindled over the years and now we're down to a core group of about 25 that play regularly.
"We've become really close as a result, it's like a family here and we've already had interest from people saying they'd like to join the club once the new courts open in Muswellbrook so we're very eager for that to happen."
The new squash facilities are part of a larger $1.6 million project at the golf club which also includes the construction of a pro shop featuring golfing simulators, an automated irrigation system, boundary fencing and the addition of an upgraded 'Half Way House' to the golf course.
The project was funded in part by a $1.1 million grant from the NSW government and a contribution of $330,000 from Muswellbrook Shire Council, with the Muswellbrook RSL Club and the Muswellbrook Golf Club contributing the remainder of the funds.
"The Muswellbrook RSL Club has invested around $2 million into the golf club and course since taking it over two-and-a-half years ago, and looks forward to a big future with a great tourism asset for Muswellbrook," Muswellbrook RSL Golf Club CEO Daryl Egan said at the groundbreaking for the project in 2020.
Mr Agosto said once the new courts were opened the club was hoping to resume competition nights in Muswellbrook on Tuesdays in 2022, as well as introducing a more social evening for new players on Wednesdays.
"We're also hoping to organise an Upper Hunter squash championships in Muswellbrook in 2022 involving clubs from Denman, Merriwa and Scone," Mr Agosto said.
"There was an Upper Hunter competition held in Scone in 2019 which was a great success, but unfortunately we haven't been able to hold a subsequent event due to COVID so if we could organise one in Muswellbrook next year that would be really exciting."