San Antonio – Opportunities to play sports – even recreationally – have been severely limited to combat the spread of COVID-19 and Monday evening San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff introduced a ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ order set to go into effect Tuesday at 11:59pm, running through April 9.
However, per the City of San Antonio, area golf courses remain open during the length of the order as long as staff and patrons practice social distancing, allowing locals to partake in one of the few sports still available. One of the reasons golf has been able to remain a safe activity and impervious to the most recent round of temporary closings is due do the nature of the sport: it’s played outside and social distancing is easily enforced.
Andrew Peterson is the President and CEO of the Alamo City Golf Trail and believes traits inherent in golf make it a safe activity.
“That’s the beauty of golf and the reason I think golf courses are going to be okay amidst the struggle of the coronavirus is that everyone keeps a safe distance from one another,” Peterson said. “It’s the perfect opportunity to socially disengage from your normal crowd.”
Additionally, golf clubs have increased their cleaning protocols within the clubhouses as well as for the golf carts and other shared items and spaces. The Quarry Golf Course General Manager, Dustin Burell, said he believes the golf community has banded together to provide a safe environment for patrons.
“We’ve consulted with other people that are in the industry, in janitorial and those things,” Burell said. “We’re doing touch point cleaning throughout our building – surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, golf cart rails, steering wheels – those kinds of things just to ensure everybody we’re doing our part to keep it safe.”
Golfers have also implemented changes to keep themselves and other players safe while on the course: players have limited handshakes and make sure to keep space between others. Daniel Smithson, a Quarry golfer, said that improving his golf game is something he can do while abiding by the latest recommendations for social interaction with regards to the novel coronavirus.
“It’s self-isolation and social distancing so I’m kind of on my own and don’t go near anybody really,” Smithson said. “I’ve been trying to work on this golf game and my golf swing. It’s one thing I can do by myself.”
With many people staying home from work and school to reduce the spread of the virus, the San Antonio golf courses have provided a much-need opportunity for leisure and exercise. Peterson said he’s seen less people in the clubhouse as a result but that more leisure time for some would be an opportune time to reengage with the sport.
“It’s an escape,” said Peterson. “I think people are locked in and tired of being at home and anything that can do to get out enjoy the sunshine and stay away from the virus is really positive.”
Robert Gonzales, who was playing a round at Brackenridge Park Golf Course, is one of those personally benefitting from the open facilities.
“You kinda forget what’s going on and enjoy a round of golf. It’s fun to be out here, means a lot to us.”