Thank you COVID-19 ???
Kathy Gazda
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Thank you COVID-19 ???

General Manager Kevin Fipps Reflects on One Bright Spot During a Dark Time

COVID-19 was a terrible, terrible thing. It took lives, ripped families apart and turned our economy upside down. It forced us to change the way we live life and for some folks, that alone took a huge emotional and psychological toll.

But something positive did happen during COVID. It took me a while to notice it, but eventually I did.

It’s pretty simple, actually. COVID slowed us down. We spent more time with our loved ones just “being” and not “doing”. Our calendars weren’t filled every second of everyday. In some ways, it was a nice change and one I think we needed. That’s why I wanted to share my reflections with you.

When the team first asked me to write a blog, I didn’t even know what a blog was! No kidding… but hang with me, I think I might be on to something here.

When I was a kid, my family sat down every night at the dinner table. There were no phones no earbuds and no TV. We just talked. Sunday meant a house full of friends and relatives who gathered to share a home cooked meal and catch up on the week’s events.

Today we live in a non-stop world - working late, afterschool activities, binge watching our favorite NETFLIX show. There’s just no time to sit and “connect”.

During COVID, I saw a change. As the GM of a 2-course golf facility, I was lucky enough to have a front row seat to this seismic shift: Families spending time together and many of them were here, at Jacaranda. What was normally a bustling 36-hole golf operation was transformed into a place where kids rode their bikes and families enjoyed picnics on the fairways. On my daily golf cart ride around the courses, I saw people of all ages connecting and having fun.

I have to admit as a former golf course superintendent, my first reaction was not a good one. “This is private property” I said to myself. "What do these people think they’re doing"? But the more I watched the more I mellowed. This was good a thing.

As the weeks went by, the crowds grew. We were still trying to tend to the courses so we had mowers dodging people and people dodging running sprinklers. But what I thought had become a logistical nightmare, (not to mention a huge insurance liability), became a beautiful sight.

I realized that all these people, cooped up in the house all day, desperately needed fresh air and sunshine and a place to stretch their legs. Where better to get all of that than on a golf course?

My eyes were open. It was clear as day. Families were spending time together, good QUALITY time. Parents were TALKING to their kids and just being there for them. A devastating virus wreaking havoc across the world had one upside. WOW!!

There is no question, as COVID waned, golf exploded. It was one of the first activities people could enjoy and still be safe and eventually we had to get back to the business of golf.

The family picnics and bike riders had to go. But when we re-opened to the public, we had a whole new, and bigger, fan base. I truly believe that includes some of the folks who were sitting on our fairways enjoying a picnic lunch.

Covid, for the most part, is behind us. But we learned some valuable lessons. The importance of family and spending quality time together should never again be underestimated… and what better way to spend time together than playing golf.

So, did we grow the game of golf or did Covid-19 do it? I choose to believe it was a little bit of both.

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