Updated: April 30, 2020 10:23 PM
Created: April 30, 2020 09:39 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday that golf courses in New Mexico could reopen.
“Probably the second the governor announced it, was when my phone started going off. I probably have 30-40 messages of people trying to get a tee time, trying to get out,” said Gerome Espinoza, who works and plays at Paradise Hills Golf Course.
Espinoza is one of about an estimated 100,000 golfers across New Mexico and west Texas who is ready to hit the links.
“The phone is in the office just blowing up nonstop,” he said.
Espinoza says it’s now a race to get things up and running again, including calling their furloughed workers.
“We are just trying to find out who can show up tomorrow at 7 a.m.”
Dana Lehner, who represents golfers across the state at the Sun Country Golf Association said he has been working with the leadership in Santa Fe to get golf courses open again.
“Golf is my livelihood, and it’s been a passion my entire livelihood,” Lehner said. “For a lot of people in our world, golf is not just for their physical recreation outlet but also their kind of mental health outlet.”
Lehner is confident the 75 golf courses across the state can open up responsibly. But he insisted there will be changes.
“Typically they are touching flag sticks and scorecards and maybe grabbing the ball out of the hole for each other and that kind of thing,” he said. “And all those things will disappear, items on the golf course like trash cans and bumper rakes, they will be eliminated.”
Lehner said people need to make sure and pay attention to the new rules at golf courses.
“If people aren’t playing by the rules, we will hear about it very quickly, and we will be able to investigate and reach out to them to make sure they are playing by the rules,” he said.
The governor said while golf courses can reopen, they can not provide dine-in food service or retail.
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