Golf

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Golf Courses Delay Openings After Extended Winter Weather

16 May, 2018

By: Michael Popke

Old Man Winter’s refusal to go quietly has forced the delayed opening of golf courses in several states and Canadian provinces. From New York to Wisconsin and Minnesota and all the way to Calgary, wet greens have been covered in white following spring snowstorms and colder-than-normal temperatures.

“You look forward to the course reopening and you have [a] date in your mind,” John Waring, a volunteer at Turner Valley Golf Club in Alberta, Canada , told the Western Wheel of Okotoks. “It’s like kids waiting for Christmas. This is like telling them Christmas is delayed until the end of January. It has the same effect.”

The golf season in the town just south of Calgary typically runs from mid-April to mid-October, but club general manager J.D. Scheller said he probably won’t be able to open the links until May — disappointing both golfers who want to play and staff members who want to be paid. 

In Stevens Point, Wis., meanwhile, officials at SentryWorld Golf Course announced they would delay the renowned course’s planned opening on May 4 until later in the month, giving staff members ample time to prepare the greens. Then there's also the fact that ideally, at least, competitive events events start shortly afterwards. The upshot: greens aren't fabulous for those who want to practice.

Volunteers at Enger Park Golf Course in Duluth, Minn., were busy the final week of April clearing enough snow to open the driving range. The entire course usually is open by early April, according to Fox21Online.com, but officials were operating on a day-to-day basis regarding when they would open the three nine-hole courses.

The delays are frustrating course operators. “Two years ago, we would be open in the last week of February and the entire month of March,” Brian Tolnar, PGA Director of Golf at the publicly owned Mill Creek Golf Course in Boardman, Ohio, told Club & Resort Business. “With what’s happening now, … [y]ou hope everybody still has the same [motivation] of coming out, hitting range balls, practicing and getting on the golf course.”

Courses in Upstate New York, for the second consecutive year, also face a delayed opening. “I don't mind losing the beginning of April, relative to what happened last year," Noel Gebauer, head pro at Town of Colonie Golf Course told The Albany Times Union. "We lost almost all of May. May was terrible. I'd prefer not to lose anything, but if we lose the beginning of April, we should make up for it in May."

No doubt operators of soaked courses around the country hope he’s right.

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