The golf industry is not immune to the ills of the COVID-19 virus, and no place is feeling its effects more than Gleneagles Golf Course.
Owned by the city of San Francisco, but independently operated for the past 16 years by local businessman Tom Hsieh, Gleneagles is teetering on the brink of closure after California Gov. Gavin Newsom shuttered all non-essential businesses, including golf courses, on March 15. And Hsieh, who has dumped a lot of his own money into maintaining the 1962 Jack Fleming design, is asking for help to make sure the course still is around whenever the coronavirus quarantine is lifted.
Hsieh has established a gofundme page where he is asking for donations to help keep the property running until he can open for business. So far, he has raised a little more than $1,000 of his $75,000 goal.
"I am requesting financial assistance from the golf community to help me make it through this crisis. I have paused for two weeks in hopes that we could open again, doing my part in solidarity with small business owners who face certain closure due to this crisis," Hsieh wrote on the gofundme page.
"It appears that without financial assistance, I will not be able to continue operating Gleneagles nor will I be able to maintain (it), even minimally in the coming weeks."
Hsieh, who has been active in local politics for years, has given back to a community and a neighborhood that needs a lot of help. . . . Besides making numerous improvements to the property with help from other Bay-area superintendents, he has worked with a local union to devise a training program that helped at-risk residents learn a trade while simultaneously providing him with low-cost labor.
Since the course was forced to close for business, he has had to lay off five of his seven employees, with two people staying on to maintain the golf course. With no money coming in the door, he is not sure how long he can keep it up.
The city owns six golf properties, including well known Sharp Park and Harding Park facilities, but Gleneagles is the only one that does not receive municipal support. Even in the best of times, making a go of it at Gleneagles has been a struggle for Hsieh, while other municipal properties across town prosper with city support. Since he took over management of the course, Hsieh has invested nearly a half-million dollars in the property located a 3-wood from the former site of Candlestick Park in one of San Francisco’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Hsieh, who has been active in local politics for years, has given back to a community and a neighborhood that needs a lot of help.
Besides making numerous improvements to the property with help from other Bay-area superintendents, he has worked with a local union to devise a training program that helped at-risk residents learn a trade while simultaneously providing him with low-cost labor.
He says without help from the local community and the golf industry, he will be unable to keep up his dream of continuing to operate the course for his local community.
All funds raised, he says, "will be used to keep a small crew working on the grounds, watering the property properly through May and helping us meet other fixed financial obligations. I cannot guarantee that even with your support we will make it to the end but it will give us a fighting chance."