Acing the Pandemic

James Martin
Martin (left) with friends after his pandemic ace.

TAKE THAT, COVID-19! Golfer makes ace days before course closes.

By Jon Rizzi

(Note: This story was updated March 25)

Before the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the end of life as we knew it, golfers like James Martin of Denver got to the course every day.

Sanity in the middle of insanity and MUCH better than going to Costco,” he posted on our Facebook page in response to our request for “some positive stories about playing through the pandemic.”

“Once I am out on the course,” Martin posted, it’s “better than 99.9% of other places in town. ”

That was probably never more true than on March 14, when Martin teed it up with two strangers on the par-3 layout at Broken Tee Golf Course in Englewood.

On the fourth hole, a blind, 90-yard uphill shot into a punchbowl green, Martin flushed his a gap wedge,  “and as soon as I hit it, one of the guys said it has a good chance to be near the hole, as we could not see the rollout from the tee.”

Sure enough, when they got to the green, Martin had his second-ever hole in one. His first came in 2009 on the 15th hole at the Links at Highlands Ranch.

Pandemic pandemonium didn’t exactly erupt, Martin joked. “No one was infected as a result of this celebration, which only involved elbow bumps. I kept up the tradition and slipped the guys cash for drinks. Although we were social distancing and the bar was closed, I did not want to ruin my karma for 2020.”

Broken Tee has since closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as have the courses operated by the City and County of Denver, City of Aurora, City of Fort Collins, City of Lakewood and City of Westminster. The Greg Mastriona Courses at Hyland Hills in Westminster is also temporarily shuttered.

As of Wednesday, March 25, numerous courses (such as CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora, and Green Valley Ranch Golf Course in Denver) remained open but with restrictions (no carts, bunker rakes or touching of the flagsticks, etc.).

That, however, may change, as other counties follow the City of Denver’s shelter-in-place order that was issued on Tuesday.

Martin has found places to keep playing. Just this week, he’s played Raccoon Creek in Littleton, Walking Stick in Pueblo and Heather Ridge in Aurora. “It’s very smart the way the courses are setting it up for you to really avoid having to touch anything other than your own equipment,” Martin says. “I pack  my own food and drink, and go right to the course and back. I was in more danger on the walking trails near my home after the round.”

*Per its website, Raccoon Creek Golf Course will be closed  March 26 through a minimum of April 17.”

For up-to-the-minute information on golf course closures and restrictions during the pandemic, please visit the course websites or call them directly.

For more of the latest Colorado golf news, visit our NEWS & PROFILES PAGE.

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