Saturday, May 16, 2020
When Fairfax County Park Authority announced its phased reopening would open golf courses on May 8, Laurel Hill Golf Club members Kelly Towns, of Burke, and Jim Poodiack, of Springfield, were among the first to get tee times. Towns enjoyed coming during work breaks before the club closure due to the coronavirus outbreak. Poodiack was there because he had not played for a while and hoped the activity would aid his overall fitness. He participates in triathlons; many scheduled for this Spring have been cancelled.
Club manager, Ryan Carmen, notes that it has been 55 days since the club was open before this phase in. He’s happy to see members readily returning, with full tee times; at least on the good weather days. The courses at Burke Lake and Greendale also re-opened on May 8. The remaining courses open on May 15: Pinecrest, and Twin Lakes (Oaks); and on May 22 forJefferson, Oak Marr, and Twin Lakes (Lakes). Disc golf courses, unlike their traditional sport cousins, remain closed to group use.
Carmen noted several provisions have been made to keep golfers and staff safe. New plexiglass separates golfers checking in from the cashier, flow arrows mark clubhouse routes to assure social distancing, masks are worn, towels and disinfectant is used on carts, and non-family cart use is restricted to one driver for transporting club bags while the second person walks to maintain social distancing on the course.
The county’s golf facilities are among the first to reopen. Select farmers markets and garden plots have seen phased opening as well. The Park Authority had closed parks, facilities, and parking lots in the virus response. Only trails remained open for individual, not group, use.
Golf provides an important revenue source for the Parks Authority. Rates at Laurel Hill range from $49 off peak in twilight times to $104 for prime time play.