Turf & Rec

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A wet, cold April keeps the golfers away


May 6, 2011
By Mike Jiggens

We’re just a few days shy of the first of May at the time of this writing, and I’ve played a grand total of three rounds of golf so far in 2011.

My excuse is the weather. When is spring going to arrive? Officially, the season began in March, but April has essentially been a rehash of March for much of the country. Temperatures have been significantly colder than normal for this time of year, and the amount of precipitation has been off the chart, including snow flurries through much of April in geographic areas where snow is non-traditional this far into spring.

I’m not crying too many tears over my lack of golf play (even though it’s about 25 per cent of where I’d normally be at this point in the season). The reality is my personal lack of golf is reflective of the amount played by golfers across the country. This can’t be good for the bottom line at golf courses which rely heavily on green fees to keep their operations going.

With May only days away (as I write this), there so far seems that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel, literally. Warmer, sunny days will get the juices flowing among golf enthusiasts who—perhaps starved for golf after such a long layoff—may be inclined to squeeze an extra round in per week and make up for the April shortfall, giving golf courses a chance to recoup their April losses.

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The drainage systems at golf courses right across the country were certainly tasked in April. Many courses may have restricted or temporarily outlawed cart use during these trying periods of excessive precipitation. Again, such restrictions have a direct bearing on the number of rounds played, especially when it comes to senior golfers who may not be able to walk a full 18 holes, even if the desire to play is there.

Flooding is an issue in some parts of the country, including Manitoba where levels are alarmingly high and serious damage has already been realized in some parts.

Golf course superintendents are a thick-skinned breed. They’ve overcome some of the worst calamities by remaining cool-headed during these stressful periods and then have put their professionalism to use to resolve these setbacks.

Let’s hope Mother Nature cuts Canadian golf courses some slack, not only for the remainder of the spring season, but for the rest of the 2011 golf year.