FRESNO (KGPE) — Hank’s Swank, the Fresno par 3 course and driving range, located at Olive and Fowler, is doing its best to encourage social distancing, while also giving people an entertainment option outside the house.
For Selma native Anthony Orosco, it’s his new favorite spot.
“I’ve been here more in the last three weeks, than I have in my whole lifetime,” said Orosco.
The family-owned golf facility is normally busy this time of year because of the great weather.
“Well, would you rather be out here right now, or in an office somewhere,” says Dan Bocchini, the grandson of Hank Bocchini Sr., who opened his first Hank’s Swank golf facility in Fresno in 1951.
But this spring, the course’s customers are not only bringing their clubs, but also some gratitude as well.
“We’re just happy that the ownership is taking every precaution and doing everything the right way, to still have us out here,” says Orosco.
According to several golf sources around the valley and Dan Bocchini, the golf courses in Fresno under the city’s jurisdiction are now closed, but those falling under the county’s umbrella, like Hank’s, are being allowed to stay open.
“I think just because it’s an outdoor activity,” said Dan Bocchini. “There’s no clubhouse, where people congregate. It’s wide open. They tell people to go on hikes, ride their bikes, go to the park, (it’s) kind of the same thing.”
Of course, proper social distancing, with six feet between players, is being recommended.
They’re also limiting the amount of people in the golf shop at one time.
They’ve removed all rakes from the course.
Ball washers are not to be used.
Scorecards are not to be shared.
And high-fives are a no-no.
“Just celebrate on your own, act like you’ve been there before,” said a laughing Orosco.
There is one other big change, that has created an interesting new dynamic — the cups have been raised above the ground, to discourage people from touching the pins. It’s a change that took a little getting used to for the players.
“We had a lot of people going out and pushing them back in,” said Bocchini. “So we had to tell thm, ‘no, don’t do that, don’t touch the flags.'”
That’s just one of the new quirks of golfing during a pandemic, but just golfing at all, might be the most important thing here.
“It does a lot for your psyche, and your mental health,” added Orosco.
“It’s a blessing,” summed up Bocchini. “That we can provide something, and yet it provides for us too.”