Most golf courses in Arizona — including El Rio Golf Club in Mohave Valley — remain open after being classified as an essential industry by Gov. Doug Ducey. Courses have closed dining areas, some have suspended the use of golf carts and others have made other alterations to give golfers a safe place to play during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BULLHEAD CITY — Golf course officials around Mohave County are level-headed and practical about Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey classifying their industry as essential.

“You just need to be smart and take precautions,” said J.J. DeLeon, general manager of El Rio Golf Club in Mohave Valley, about the novel coronavirus.

To that end, he is keeping his course clean and has closed off the clubhouse’s dining room, per Ducey’s directive.

DeLeon said El Rio sees up to 200 golfers, most of whom are from Mohave County, per day.

Given the virus’ unpredictable nature, he didn’t have a crystal-clear response about May 9 — when El Rio’s 32nd annual John McCormick Chip in FORE Kids Charity Golf Classic is on the calendar.

“Wish I had an answer, as there are many unknowns with COVID-19,” said DeLeon.

Meanwhile, at Los Lagos Golf Club in Fort Mohave, J.C. Bacon said it’s a “hit-and-miss” scenario any given day.

“We get approximately 50 golfers, almost all local,” said the general manager.

Los Lagos is taking several steps — when it comes to sand traps, riding carts and hand sanitizer — in the name of health and safety. 

“We have single carts for people to drive alone,” Bacon said, adding that married couples prefer to ride together. Because more carts are being used by individuals, Los Lagos is limiting its number of tee times.

The vehicles are cleaned before and after each round of golf.

What’s more, the course has removed rakes from its bunkers and gotten rid of water jugs. In addition, the snack bar is temporarily shuttered.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, Los Lagos has canceled all special events that were slated through mid-April. 

“We don’t have much tournament action in the summer, due to the heat,” Bacon said.

In Bullhead City, Chaparral Golf & Country Club has closed its bar and dining area except for take-away orders. The course has taken cleanliness a step further, according to Karen Bail, Chaparral’s director of food and beverage services.

“We are sanitizing both the carts and their keys,” said Bail.

The club continues to welcome regulars who usually play there, she said, plus a few walk-ons.

It’s difficult to foresee how long the restrictions and safety measures will remain necessary. For now, golf courses have plenty of hand sanitizer literally on hand.

“We’re just waiting to see what happens on a daily basis,” Bacon added. 

Said DeLeon: “All we can do is stay positive and hope everything gets back to normal as soon as possible.”

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