SAN DIEGO – As more golf courses reopen and with many youth sports now cleared to return, the San Diego Junior Golf Association welcomed golfers back this weekend at Twin Oaks Golf Course.
After three long months away, 16-year-old Tyler Kowack couldn’t wait to get back.
“It’s great,” he said. “I was kind of getting cabin fever and spending too much time on video games and all that other stuff.”
The pandemic shut down courses around the county, pushing the Canyon Crest Academy junior to get creative at home to keep his game sharp.
“I did have a little bit of a backyard setup — like I got a net and I had a little mat so I still stayed kind of in tune with my golf game,” he said, “but it’s great to actually being playing golf.”
Kowack and Del Norte junior Sriya Mupparaju are two of more than 100 students competing in Saturday’s first youth golf tournament since the pandemic.
“Just getting back into the competitive groove,” she said. “I mean, it’s just so fun taking golf, which is such a fun sport for me, but also competing in it. It’s just a really great experience.”
“A lot of these kids like Tyler and like Sriya are not yet committed to a school but are incredible talents that will be soon,” golf coach Adam Porzak said, “and they’re just waiting and chopping at the bit to get out and show what they’re hard work has done.”
The tournament should feel fairly normal but features some safety precautions. Facial coverings are required around others, no rakes in the bunkers and no removal of the pin.
“It’s definitely comforting and if anything it makes me feel more safe because I’m not in contact with any other person,” Mupparaju said. “It’s just me by myself outside.”
“The parents are going to be the ones that are a little more analytical and looking at what’s going on,” Porzak said. “The safety of the current situation and I know Junior Golf is going to do a fantastic job knowing their staff, making sure it’s really safe for the kids, their families and it’s still a fun environment and still as normal as possible.”