Jimmy Mauro was a busy man Tuesday morning. Maybe even a little bit frantic.
The general manager at South Wales Golf Course in Jeffersonton is processing a huge uptick in tee times while educating his golfers about strict new precautions in these coronavirus-stricken times.
Only one person at a time is allowed to enter the South Wales clubhouse. Customers can only make snack bar purchases before they head out to play. Only one person at a time is allowed to use the bathroom. Carts are being sanitized religiously.
“We want to be extra, extra careful. Everyone six feet apart. We’re Cloroxing all carts, wiping the handles, you name it,” said Mauro.
But at least the course is open, which was the question of the day for Virginia golf courses Monday afternoon when Gov. Ralph Northam declared that all recreation facilities, including bowling alleys, movie theaters and fitness centers, must close.
Courses have closed randomly in some areas. Three Prince William County public golf courses, Forest Greens, Prince William and Lake Ridge, are closed through March 31. Fairfax County also closed its public courses.
Those closings only drive more golfers to courses like South Wales, Stonewall Jackson Golf Course in Gainesville or Bull Run Golf Club in Haymarket.
“Oh yeah, it’s busier. We’re averaging 140 right now. On a normal day we do 100 to 130,” said Kyle Backers, Stonewall’s head golf pro.
“We had 160 the other day. People are stuck at home and want to get out. They want a break, that’s what’s going on,” said Mike Tate, general manager at Bull Run.
Technically the only course in Fauquier County, the private Fauquier Springs Country Club, is also taking steps. “We are still open. We are still able to offer everything to our membership with strict guidelines and precautions,” said general manager Shawn Rogers.
South Wales had 93 people last Friday, a banner turnout.
“It’s getting so busy now. We’re the only public golf course in two counties, Culpeper and Fauquier,” said Mauro. “Golf is the only safe place around. People don’t have any place to go. They’re getting cabin fever.”