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Tea time on Tuesday?How the pandemic changed as we played

In golf’s many storied traditions, this has long been true. The weekdays were the time for rest, recuperation, senior discounts, and a retiree-only area whose biggest concern was tipping far down the hall.

but new Analysis of Stanford University The work-from-home trend has disrupted the weekly rhythm and routine of the game, showing busy professionals squeezing rounds on once-sleepy Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Further proof that the 9-to-5 routine of the industrial age is disappearing.

“We are busy almost every day,” said general manager Kevin Sprenger. Baylands Golf Links Palo Alto had 147 rounds reserved for play on a recent Tuesday morning as staff cleaned the ball and threw out the trash. “Thursdays are as busy as Sundays.”

Tuesday, July 11, 2023 Kevin Sprenger, general manager of Baylands Golf Links in Palo Alto, Calif., discusses the midweek business uptick since the pandemic. (Carl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

A Stanford University study, using geolocation data from cars and cellphones of people visiting 3,400 golf courses in the country, found that Wednesdays in August 2022 were 143% more likely than pre-pandemic August 2019. Turns out it was crowded. It turned out that this tendency is particularly remarkable in the afternoon. , he saw a 278% increase in people playing Wednesday at 4 p.m. compared to pre-pandemic.

The California course nearly doubled in visitors on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, according to the researchers.

This weekday trend also applies to gyms, shopping malls, tennis courts and hair salons, according to researchers Nick Bloom and Alex Finnan.

Graph of golf before and after working from home

“The explosive rise in telecommuting has created a weekday leisure boom. Telecommuting employees may be out for an hour or two during the day,” Bloom said. “The pandemic has eased the weekend bottleneck for many leisure activities.”

For most of human history, work and home were the same place, Fred TurnerProfessor of Communications at Stanford University, studying the impact of new media technologies on American culture since World War II.

But for the past 300 years, Turner says, we’ve lived in a world where work is concentrated in factories and offices and forced to commute. As a result, life was divided into “home time” and “work time”.

“What’s happening now is a reconfiguration of how we work. It’s been going on for a while but the pandemic has accelerated it,” he said. “We are kind of going back to the old way of life.”

Indeed, many police officers, auto workers, teachers and nurses, cooks and waiters are still on duty. But for some jobs, it doesn’t matter where you are physically.

“Computers offer us the opportunity to reintegrate work and home in complex but wonderful ways,” Turner said.

Walter Underwood, a software engineer, starts work at 6:00 AM on a conference call with his colleagues at LexisNexis in the East. His wife Tina, the manager of a tech project at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, starts work at 7am.

But they book an hour-long date every Friday morning at Ada’s Cafe in Palo Alto. In the afternoon, Tina rides her bike and sometimes picks up her son. Walter may call his elderly mother in Texas. Together they are house-training service puppies.

“It’s the little things in life like having lunch on the backyard patio with my husband,” Tina said. “My girlfriend’s day is structured around meetings…but flexibility makes me feel more in control of my actions.”

Despite more companies encouraging employees to return to the office, hybrid or remote work trends remain stable in the Bay Area, particularly in San Francisco, with 27% of job listings in May doing so. provided a great deal of flexibility. Second Stanford Analysis.

Patterns vary by Bay Area county. Researchers found that 8% of new job ads offered remote or hybrid work in Contra Costa, 10% in Alameda, 12% in Santa Cruz, 14.8% in San Mateo and 15% in Santa Clara. ing.

A boom in travel to the rink in the middle of the week is having a knock-on effect. Golf, one of the world’s oldest and most tradition-bound sports, has seen a surge in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was one of the few places where you could still socialize,” said Saratoga resident Stacey Bubba, handicap chair for the San Francisco chapter of the Women’s Professional Golfers’ Association Amateur. “You were outdoors and had individual carts.”

Players say weekdays offer a better experience. Prices are cheaper. Play is not bogged down by crowds. Short 9-hole rounds that can be completed in under 2 hours are preferred. And new technical tools increase efficiency.For example, an app like play nowalerts golfers to open spaces nearby, similar to an open table in a restaurant.

TPC Harding Park bustling with mid-week activities on Thursday, July 13, 2023 in San Francisco, California.  (Carl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
TPC Harding Park bustling with mid-week activities on Thursday, July 13, 2023 in San Francisco, California. (Carl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

“There’s spontaneity. If I find a slot, I grab it and go jam,” said Monterey-based marketing manager Julie McEntee. She works from 6am to 3pm and then often goes to the course.

You can also work from the course if you prefer. “Golf isn’t so fast-paced that if someone needs to check something or hop on the phone,” she said. “No matter what, I’m going to be a high performer. I’m just structuring my week to take a few hours off here and there.”

Every Tuesday night, Claudia Little sends out a scheduled work email. And on Wednesday morning, as her email arrives in her colleague’s inbox, she’s walking down the rolling hills of her course at Petaluma Golf, playing 18 of her holes.

She doesn’t make phone calls during the course. “It’s disrespectful and ruins my game,” said Little, 52, event coordinator at Keller Estate Winery. But she responds to urgent emails. “The great thing about golf is that you can answer questions by email while you wait for someone else to hit.”

Then she goes home and works until the evening, working on behind-the-scenes work.

Sprenger said maintenance of the course is currently underway to meet demand. “Historically, there were a few days a week when most golf courses were less crowded. because it has uses for

The Stanford University team employed sophisticated strategies using satellite imagery, artificial intelligence and GPS data to monitor teeoff traffic trends. The project was conceived by Finnan, a 22-year-old public policy student at Stanford University and an avid golfer.

From the air, golf courses are easily identifiable. Using data from Inrix, Finan and Bloom counted GPS “pings” from cars and phones around each course.

The study compared the frequency of “pins” to golf courses from 2019 to 2023. Finnan said golf popularity surged during the pandemic, driving overall attendance growth, but data showed a marked shift from weekends to weekdays.

“We are in a new normal,” said General Manager Tom Smith. TPC Harding Park Golf Course On the shores of Lake Merced in San Francisco, between 85% and 100% of the available slots are filled every day.

“People know they can sneak out after work and work out on nine holes for two hours for a reasonable fee, and then they can go back to work,” he said.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/07/16/tuesday-tee-times-how-the-pandemic-changed-when-we-play/ Tea time on Tuesday?How the pandemic changed as we played

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