El Plantio Golf Course
As implausible as it may seem, since last January 21, the citizens of the Valencian Community can meet in closed spaces such as shopping centres, go to the cinema, the theatre, get a tattoo, nails or go to the hairdresser, but sports facilities are closed, even those sports that are practised in natural spaces and outdoors, without any physical contact, without public, in very small groups and with distances of hundreds of meters between players, as is the case of the game of golf.
For those unfamiliar with the golf sport, we explain that the distance between players must necessarily exceed two meters to avoid being hit by a ball or golf club. The games cannot be of more than four players, each one playing his ball, being able to also practice alone or in pairs. This particular idiosyncrasy makes it especially safe, golf was one of the first sporting activities to be reopened throughout Europe after the first lockdowns, and the sport that has had the greatest growth in many countries as it has been unanimously recognized as the safest sports activities that can be practised in these times of pandemic.
So, how is it possible that its practice is not allowed in the Valencian Community? So far no one has been able to provide any objective reason, from the Association of Golf Courses of the Costa Blanca and the Valencian Community in total consensus and coordination with the Valencian Golf Federation, it has tried by all possible means to explain to the authorities of Valencia and, specifically, of the Department of Health. Several letters have been sent, officials have been spoken to, meetings have been requested, but all have been in vain.
The golf courses affected by these measures have been; La Finca, Villaitana, El Valle, Mar Menor, Alenda, Alicante, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, Las Ramblas, Villamartin, El Saller GC Parador, El Plantio, La Sella, Excorpion and La Galiana.
The sector is fully aware of the seriousness of the situation we are experiencing, but it cannot be understood that such a safe and health-beneficial activity is prohibited. Golf has been declared a heart-healthy sport and its practice is very beneficial both physically and mentally, especially for the group of elderly players, undoubtedly the most numerous who practice this sport, who find in the practice of golf a healthy and safe exercise of which they are now being deprived with the consequent damages to their health. On all courses, some eighty-year-old players find golf one of the few physical activities that they can practice with the peace of mind of not being exposed to COVID-19.
Economically, this forced closure is creating a real disaster since a golf course works with a “living component” such as the grass, its fauna and flora, which must continue to be maintained, whether the activity is open or closed. Therefore, you have to continue assuming those expenses, even if it is closed and there is no income. The damages will be irreparable in the short and medium-term, also causing an increase in the immediate public spending followed by the closure and dismissal of hundreds of people. Let’s not forget that golf generates almost ten thousand jobs per year, just in the Valencian Community, almost seven hundred and fifty million euros of economic impact and half a million overnight stays in hotels.
The rest of the neighbouring and tourist Autonomous Communities have taken into account how healthy and safe it is to practice outdoor sports in small groups and without physical contact. In Catalonia, Castilla y León, Murcia, Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, etc., the golf courses are open with other similar restrictions. Is there any special risk for practising outdoor sports in the Valencian Community that does not exist in the rest of Spain? What can be the objective sanitary criteria by which the practice of sports outdoors is not allowed, in small groups and without any physical contact, but if we can meet en masse in a shopping centre?
Nor can we forget the “tractor effect” that golf has been playing for the tourism and economy, pushing other tourism subsectors and generating wealth in the territory (seven out of eight euros generated by golf go to other subsectors). Similarly, it is necessary to underline the strategic nature that golf will represent for the recovery of tourism, precisely because of its ability to generate wealth and jobs in other economic subsectors.
For all the above, from the golf sector of the Valencian Community, an urgent reflection is requested regarding all sports activities that take place outdoors, in very small groups and without any physical contact. It is inexplicable that a practice that offers maximum security, that is so physically healthy and so necessary psychically and emotionally, is not allowed now more than ever.
We at Tee Times Golf Agency are certain that the pandemic situation will be overcome in the best way for everyone and very soon we will be able to return to our sport that we love so much.
Reopen as soon as possible we recommend the excellent and very competitive golf courses on Costa Blanca & Valencia; La Finca, Villaitana, El Valle, Mar Menor, Alenda, Alicante, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, Las Ramblas, Villamartin, El Saller GC Parador, El Plantio, La Sella, Excorpion and La Galiana.