San Antonio – The golfing landscape on the southeast side of San Antonio is going to look different after May 3 as the 212-acre property that encompasses The Republic Golf Course is being sold by Foresight Golf. Although no set plans for the site have been announced, a project team will work with surrounding property owners, community members and the city regarding the development of the property which has served the community for 18 years.
Paul Stubbs has made a concerted effort to play the course recently given the impending closure. He said he was particularly saddened to learn the news as a similar course on the south side, Pecan Valley, had closed in 2012.
“I was devasted because the same thing happened to Pecan Valley years before,” Stubbs said. “And I thought, ‘Okay, here’s a resurrection of Pecan Valley’ because it’s along Salado Creek and similar, similar terrain if you will.”
In addition to hosting corporate and social events, the course serves as the practice grounds for the UIW men’s and women’s golf teams and houses the school’s Professional Golf Management Program (PGM). Statements from both the UIW Athletic Department and the Dean of the HEB School of Business and Administration, Dr. Forrest Aven, indicate all parties affected will find alternative locations for their programs.
Dr. Aven went on to state that the closing will have little impact on the PGM program.
“Our relationship with Foresight Golf remains in place,” Dr. Aven said. “The Professional Golf Management (PGM) program will continue. Our students will utilize other golf courses within Foresight Golf along with area golf courses for their internships.”
The course fulfills an important need in the community as it is one of the only golf offerings on the city’s south side. Paul Espinoza has been visiting The Republic bimonthly and names both the course maintenance and affordability as factors that draw in local golfers.
“I definitely think it’s going to hurt some people, yes,” Espinoza said. “There’s a lot of seniors we see that are often hanging out in the clubhouse that will definitely be affected by it.”
The club’s operators cite consistently declining revenue as the primary reason for closing. A press release from the ownership goes on to say that the closing “...follows national trends: approximately 100 to 200 golf courses closed across the U.S. annually since 2009. The Republic Gold Club currently employs 37 people, all of whom will be supported with employment assistance packages.”
Robert Gloden was the club’s first member and plays at the Republic multiple times per week. Although disappointed, Gloden understands the reasoning behind the closure.
“First of all, I was shocked,” Gloden said. “But then second of all, I looked at it and it’s a business. And you can’t keep operating a business and losing money...And really that’s what's happened because of the – golfing in general – golfing is really going down, rather than going up. It’s gone down. So you have less courses trying to make any kind of money.”
The course remains open during San Antonio’s ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ order as long as patrons practice social distancing. The Republic has also implemented additional measures to ensure the safety of its golfers, including one golfer per cart (unless partners cohabitate), the removal of water coolers and bunker rakes and periodic disinfecting of shared items.