This was never going to be an ordinary round of golf.

That was apparent the moment I lay my head on the pillow Friday night, my mind already racing thinking about playing golf at 8 o’clock Saturday morning in what was going to be my first round in the COVID-19 age.

I had a difficult time sleeping, anxious about what I was going to do in the morning — excited to play but at the same time apprehensive about putting myself or anyone else at risk.

With New Jersey golf courses closed by order of Gov. Phil Murphy as the shelter-at-home measures were being pushed in an effort to flatten the curve of the virus, golf has not been a recreational option as the weather has warmed this spring.

Until Saturday morning.

This past week, Murphy lifted the restrictions and allowed for golf course and parks to reopen as of dawn Saturday.

It had been 51 days since I last played golf. The last time I’d played before Saturday, I shot 76 (a rare break of 80 for me) at San Jose Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla., with some golf writer colleagues on the eve of The Players Championship.

The next day, I covered the opening round of The Players at TPC Sawgrass, and by 10 o’clock that night, the tournament was canceled and nothing in the sports world — the entire world for that matter — has seemed normal since.

With all of us craving some sense of normalcy again, I hoped that playing golf Saturday morning would return me three or four hours of that — even with the COVID-19 restrictions on the golf course calling for no rakes in bunkers, no touching of flagsticks and raised cups, so there’s no need to reach into a cup to retrieve a holed putt.

A face-mask hangs from the bag of New York Post writer Mark Cannizzaro who playing a round of golf at the Suburban Golf Club in Union Township, NJ

Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

A worker at the Suburban Golf Club in Union Township, wearing a mask as he rides in a golf cart as New Jersey Golf courses reopened today with social distances rules in place.

Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

A golfer wearing a facemask carrying his golf clubs as he arrives to play a round of golf at the Suburban Golf Club in Union Township, New Jersey. New Jersey reopened golf courses with social distancing rules in place.

Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

New Jersey Golf courses reopened today with social distancing rules in place. One of the rules in place is Flagsticks will not be removed and a foam insert in the holes prevents the ball from going into the hole and the golfers will not be able to retrieve the ball from inside the hole. New York Post reporter Mark Cannizzaro, played a round of golf at the Suburban Golf Club in Union Township, NJ

Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

New Jersey Golf courses reopened today with social distancing rules in place, as New York Post writer Mark Cannizzaro (left), was paired with golfer Brian Lafemina (right), as they listen to Stephen O’Loughlin go over the social distancing rules, as they kept at least 6 feet apart and had carry their clubs walking the course and not use golf carts, during a round of golf at the Suburban Golf Club in Union Township, NJ.

Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

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Among the new regulations in place include twosomes, tee time intervals spaced 16 minutes apart and no congregating. We were instructed to wear a face covering at least from the parking lot to the first tee with the option to continue wearing it on the course at your discretion.

Mark McCormick, the head pro at my course, Suburban Golf Club in Union, N.J., looked like a doctor who’d just gotten out of surgery, wearing a face mask and a plastic shield over his face. I didn’t recognize him until he spoke.

My ride to Suburban Saturday morning was as fitful as the sleep I’d gotten the night before. The adrenaline and anticipation of finally playing golf after too long away from it was tempered by some apprehension. I felt a lot of weird mixed emotions.

If we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us look at everyone we encounter in these days assuming that person is carrying the virus. So, everyone looks radioactive to you — even your friends.

Though I was paired with a fellow member who I hadn’t met before but was a terrific guy with a similar sports background and interests to me, I had an overwhelming feeling that I’d have been better off playing by myself — at least for my first round back. This was completely a product of my own apprehension about being around people, certainly not his company.

I felt like I spent more time during the round strategizing how to avoid veering too close to him while conversing than I did strategizing how to play each hole.

I had a quiet freak-out moment on the fifth green when my playing partner inadvertently put his club in my bag and, as a result, touched my bag. I thought about that for the rest of the round.

Playing for the first time during this COVID-19 age, I felt like I was dipping my toe into the icy Atlantic Ocean water for that first swim of the spring, wondering if I was ready to go all the way in.

Was this too soon?

The vibe at the course was notably subdued. The usual chatter and needling that usually takes place was replaced by a whole lot of silence.

Part of the emotions I wrestled with, too, were pangs of guilt. Just two days ago, I got a text from my best friend telling me he’d contracted the virus and was quarantining at his apartment in the city. And here was I was about to enjoy a 70-degree Saturday playing 18 holes on a beautiful golf course.

I did it. I enjoyed it. And I’ll do it again when I can. I shot 83, but would not have given a damn if I shot 103. I was just happy to be playing again.

“How’d you play?’’ a friend asked us as we walked off the 18th green.

“Well,’’ my playing partner responded, “we played.’’

Amen.

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