COVID-19 has had a positive impact on local golf businesses
This infographic released by the Texas Medical Association lists sports and activities, and ranks their COVID-19 risk factors on a scale of one to 10. Tennis and golf scored a two and a three respectively, while the next sports on the chart were basketball and football, both deemed moderate to high risk activities.
By nature, golf adheres to social distancing protocol. The sport involves individuals playing amongst each other but doesn’t require any physical contact with other players, which explains why golf isn’t considered to be a team sport, even though it is usually played in groups. Players carry their own equipment and the outdoor environment of a golf course caters to having six feet between players at all times, with a constant supply of fresh air.
COVID-19 has left its mark on all kinds of activities, beyond sports. For Charles Patton, a co-owner of Patton’s Glen Golf Club in Kahnawake, the year that seemed to have nothing positive in store changed for the better when his business was given permission to re-open in early June. His ninehole course saw an uptick in clientele that still persists to this day.
“We’re very fortunate that the business actually may have benefited from the pandemic,” Patton said. “Our golf course has always satisfied people who want to relax and get away from the stress life presents. I think more people need that these days.”
In June, Patton was given the challenge of re-designing the course to minimize contact points between players. This meant removing ball cleaning stations and benches, having to clean the golf carts and bathroom after each use, and lengthening tee boxes to better manage the distance between golfers. Despite all of the changes, the golf course is as busy as ever.
“I don’t want to take this for granted, because I know how many small businesses are struggling these days,” Patton said. “We’re not the biggest or fanciest course in the area, but we still make ends meet and that goes to show how popular the sport is right now.”
Patton’s Glen Golf Club was designed to accommodate all levels of golfers. Skilled players can hone their skills and attempt to break prior scores, while beginners can enjoy a round with their friends without enduring the pressure that comes along with a traditional 18-hole course. The quaint course has hosted its typical clients from past years, but Patton said the biggest increase in players this year is with beginners.
“Beyond the regulars, it’s the couples who are trying to learn something together, or the guy who is trying to teach his buddies how to swing a golf club,” Patton said. “It’s things of that nature that I see more often than ever. It’s a lot less competitive and a lot more relaxing.”
Sports have a way of bringing people together through competition and teamwork. In 2020, golf and its inherent distancing is bringing people closer together.
Graphic by Taylor Reddam