Sports & Recreation

Golfers teeing up at local courses during pandemic

San Juan Oaks and Ridgemark see more players as people look for outdoor activity.
Photo by Julia Hicks.
Photo by Julia Hicks.
Hollister resident Neil Garrett swings at the golf range with son Cade. Photo by Julia Hicks.
Hollister resident Neil Garrett swings at the golf range with son Cade. Photo by Julia Hicks.
Cade Garrett goes out with his father to the Ridgemark driving range. Photo by Julia Hicks.
Cade Garrett goes out with his father to the Ridgemark driving range. Photo by Julia Hicks.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Julia Hicks.

After closing down in March at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Juan Oaks Golf Club reopened in early May.

Although the club’s main sources of revenue—the restaurant and event spaces—are closed, the pro shop and snack bar remain open for golfers. And while the majority of golf events were canceled, the course has seen an increasing number of players since reopening.

General Manager Manny Freitas said the hardest part about reopening was “making sure we have enough carts for the demand of players. With only one cart allowed per guest, it puts a strain on the operation on busy days.”

In addition to doubling the sanitization of golf carts, Freitas said San Juan Oaks has also removed all bunker rakes, water coolers, sand and seed containers and ball washers. “This is an effort to remove as many touch points as possible,” he said.

Despite the pandemic, one positive is that golf has become another outlet for people to enjoy the outdoors. Those who may have not had much time to golf are now able to get more playing time.

Golf staying busy has helped our overall business,” Freitas said.

The same remains true for Ridgemark Golf Club. Ridgemark resident Paul Breen plays on the green two to three times a week with a men’s group, which is coordinated through the country club. Breen said he’s seen more and more golfers out on the turf.

“I’ve noticed a lot of younger people also out playing,” such as high school kids and families. 

Lionel Brooks, another Ridgemark resident, recently went golfing with his young grandson, Zaden. Teaching Zaden how to swing in the hole, Brooks mentioned that he “has been asking me, ‘Papa! Papa! Let’s go golf!’”

Hollister resident Neil Garrett went out to the driving range with his son Cade. Visiting the country club often, Garrett saw the opportunity to spend time with his son.

“It’s a great way to get out of the house and [get] him away from the video games!” said Garrett. 

 

                   

 

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Julia Hicks

Julia Hicks is a senior attending San Benito High School. She is the current co-editor in chief of the yearbook and San Benito High School's Associated Student Body (ASB) Historian. Julia is a track and field student-athlete in the events of discus and shot put. She has been a part of Ernie Reyes' West Coast World Martial Arts for the past 12 years and is a 4th degree black belt. Julia wishes to pursue her interest in creative writing through journalism opportunities.