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Golf season starts: spring may be for real

The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising, and the snow is finally gone, which can only mean one thing: break out the clubs because golf season is finally here.

With the tremendous finish at the Masters Golf Tournament last weekend in Augusta – won by a relative unknown golfer from South Africa named Charl Schwartzel – the itch to hit a few tee shots must certainly be bubbling over for many golf enthusiasts.

Luckily, the region’s golf courses are either open for business, or will be in the coming days.

“We opened (last) Friday, and we were open for the weekend,” said Brian Jolley, the general manager of Conestoga Country Club. “Sunday was a little slow because of the Masters – which is generally the rule. We had a good turnout. It was gorgeous, beautiful.”

Jolley said that about 220 players made their way through the links for the club’s opening weekend, which was a few weeks behind last year’s opening of Mar. 29.

“To get open for Masters weekend is always your goal. Anything before that is bonus, and anything after that you feel like you’re losing out,” he laughed. Eighteen of the clubs 27 holes are ready to go, he added.

ON COURSE Jeremy Logel, the director of the Elmira Golf Club, says the course should be open by the middle of next week – welcome news for winter-weary golfers.

At the Elmira Golf Club the course isn’t quite ready for play, but should be by Wednesday, according to club director and head golf professional Jeremy Logel.

“We’ve always been around the 15th of April. With the late snowstorms we had this year, there was snow on the course a week ago, but we’re looking at a mid-week opening,” he said.

“We’re getting some winds to dry things up and warm nights are key to get the conditions right.”

Elsewhere in the region, Merry-Hill golf course near Breslau is also gunning for an Apr. 15 start date while the indoor driving range at Max’s Golf Centre near the St. Jacobs market has been very busy ahead of their May outdoor season.

For the outdoor clubs, the past few weeks have been a busy time preparing the greens and the fairways for the avid golfers.

“This is the time of the season when the snow has finally all gone and our greens crews are out there getting ready, doing some tree trimming, clean up, checking all the bridges and pathways and getting ready to hopefully cut the grass later when things dry up,” said Logel, whose club saw about 31,000 rounds of golf played last year.

“It’s huge winter cleanup. Debris, downed branches, all that kind of stuff; the clean up is unbelievable,” echoed Jolley.

Weather permitting, the season will run all the way until the first few weeks of November, and both directors are very optimistic about the upcoming season, particularly after the long winter that golfers and non-golfers alike had to endure.

“It snowed on Nov. 3 and literally didn’t stop until last week, so I think people are really itching right now and we can feel it here,” said Jolley, a sentiment shared by his counterpart in Elmira.

“April is a funny month,” Logel said, adding that temperatures can fluctuate along with the amount of sun. “But I think this will be a good start, because a lot of people have been waiting for winter to end and really want to get outside, so we’re certainly hoping we’ll see a good number this year.”

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