About two hours after it was announced that all golf-related operations at LaFortune Park and South Lakes would be suspended indefinitely, the story changed.
On Tuesday, in consideration of the possible threat of the coronavirus, Tulsa County officials announced that, effective Thursday, the two county-owned courses would be closed.
At LaFortune Park, the suspension of operations would have extended also to the tennis facility — one of the better public tennis venues in the state.
Later Tuesday, though, Tulsa County Parks director Vince Trinidad told the Tulsa World that the LaFortune Park and South Lakes courses — and the LaFortune tennis courts — will remain open for business.
Also unaffected is the popular 5-kilometer jogging trail that envelops the 270-acre LaFortune Park.
In terms of rounds played each year, LaFortune Park in midtown Tulsa and South Lakes in Jenks are the busiest public courses in Tulsa County.
Some league play, group-instruction sessions and food-and-drink services have been altered, but golfers still have access to courses throughout the Tulsa area.
City-owned courses at Page Belcher in west Tulsa and Mohawk Park in north Tulsa also remain open. For now, Cherokee Hills in Catoosa remains the only public course to have closed since the coronavirus threat was heightened two weeks ago.
“We’ve already made adjustments at the golf courses,” Trinidad said. “We’re not letting more than 10 people in the pro shops (at one time). We’re encouraging social distancing and (a commitment to) hygiene practices. We still have (golf courses) available to people, to get out and get some fresh air.
“We will be considerate always of the rules and guidelines that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has given to us, and we will follow the direction that the county has given to us. We’ll do our part.”
For a local golf industry staggered by significant revenue losses during the severe-weather spring of 2019, the ability to remain open is a rare positive in the sports world. As medical and government officials urge everyone to practice social distancing, most athletics venues and exercise facilities currently are closed.
Tulsa-area courses may be busy on Wednesday: The Tulsa forecast: an afternoon high of 81 degrees. No rain is expected.
“We want to encourage anyone who reads your article to be smart about social distancing,” Trinidad said. “We want everyone to be safe and be healthy.”