Golfers hit the links for start of season

After a long, long winter, the Lacombe Golf & Country Club is open for business.

TECHNIQUE - Joyce Witherspoon putts on the practice green at the Lacombe Golf & Country Club on Wednesday.

TECHNIQUE - Joyce Witherspoon putts on the practice green at the Lacombe Golf & Country Club on Wednesday.

After a long, long winter, the Lacombe Golf & Country Club is open for business.

General Manager David Clark said that golfers have been raring to get on the course.

“We’ve been busy, right from the start,” said Clark.

It officially opened on May 1.

Last year, the golf course opened on April 14 and ran until Oct. 15.

After losing a dozen or so days to bad weather (which Clark said is normal), that still left a golf season of 173 days, said Clark.

“Anything over 170 days is outstanding,” he said. “And it showed last year. We had a tremendous year.”

Now, because of the long winter, Lacombe Golf & Country Club is already 16 days behind from last year’s season.

Clark said that golf is a sport where lost days can’t really be made up later in the season. Even if Lacombe is fortunate enough to have a lengthy, warm autumn, there is not enough interest in golfing by mid-September to do substantial business, he said.

He said that by that time, golfers or their families often have other commitments, such as winter sports like hockey and curling, that keep them occupied.

“Once you lose a day, whether it’s to weather or a late beginning to the season, it’s gone,” said Clark. “It’s one less day that you can do business on.”

Clark estimated Lacombe will see a golf season of about 160 days this year, after losing a few days to weather.

“If we get much below that, that’s a real concern,” said Clark.

He added that factors like an extremely wet summer or even an early winter could shorten that season even more.

However, Clark isn’t too concerned about this year’s season just yet.

He said that the course has wintered well and the holes are in excellent shape.

“Right now I don’t anticipate that we are going to have a poor year,” said Clark. “It just may not be as good as the outstanding year that we had last year.”

There was some concern earlier that the late spring and constantly thawing and freezing temperatures might affect the quality of the course’s greens and fairways.

During winters where it is consistently cold and there is snow cover, the greens stay insulated, Clark said. If the temperature fluctuates or is too warm, fairways and greens run the risk of having problems.

“It can be a crapshoot,” he said. “You don’t know what you are going to get when you uncover it.”

Luckily, Lacombe Golf & Country Club has not had that problem this year and all the golfers Clark has spoken with report the course to be in very fair condition, especially considering what a long winter can do to a golf course.

“They are really happy with the condition of the golf course, especially the greens,” said Clark. “They are just tickled.”

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