Golfing in San Marcos
With the permanent closure of the Quail Creek Golf Course, life became more complicated for those of us in San Marcos who play golf. Our life had already been complicated by Texas State University’s earlier decision to convert the Aquarena Springs Course into a maintenance-light green zone, thus ending its history as one of Texas’ best nine-hole walking courses. Local golfers are now obliged to pursue our admittedly masochistic pastime by traveling to neighboring communities like Lockhart and Luling which still maintain golf courses open to the public at moderate fees.
Without making a mountain out of a ‘groundhog’ hill, it should not escape public attention that the plight of golf locally reflects a national and global trend toward the ‘Trumpization’ of the sport. Admittedly, golf has always been a pastime of the idle rich and corpoarate/business elites but, during the twentieth century, many public courses were built to make the sport more accessible to a wider populace for moderate fees thanks to taxpayer support. But the frenzied land development and unbridled suburban growth of the twenty-first century, driven by population increase and the profit motive, represent the death knell for non-profit, moderately-priced public golf courses. Accordingly, greens fees and memberships in newer courses like Plum Creek (Kyle), the Bandit (New Braunfels-McQueeney), Kissing Tree (San Marcos), and the renovated Landa Park Course (New Braunfels) are quite pricey, require reservations for tee time, and the use of motorized carts to negotiate these longer and more demanding courses more efficiently and less exhaustively.
Owing to the closures of local courses, Texas State University students, if golf remains a part of their physical education, now have to be shuttled either to out of town courses like Plum Creek (where their golf team already plays and has facilities) or to a local privately-owned driving range. I doubt that the wisdom of cost-benefit decision-making by Texas State University administrators in closing the Aquarena Springs Course was ever submitted to the scrutiny of Texas taxpayers.
And what about the historic indifference of the San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department to golfing? The sport is playable by people of all ages and both genders, provides exercise and promotes mental discipline, and should not be relegated to the status of a high-priced, profit-driven business accessible only to the higher-income population. A growing, progressive city like San Marcos should have a public golf course.