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March 15, 2018
This piece is presented by GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness.
With every bit of snow that melts, golf season gets a little closer.
We caught up with GreatLIFE director of golf Jason Sudenga to find out how the courses are coming along.
Well, what do you think? How are the GreatLIFE courses looking?
A lot of the superintendents really aren’t getting out on the courses yet. They’re getting equipment ready, changing oil, getting carts ready to start the season. Once most of the snow is off the ground, they’ll start doing some cleanup and seeing how the course wintered. And pretty soon we’ll start to mow and play.
How do you decide when it’s time to open?
We get walkers out as soon as we can unless there’s standing water everywhere. We’ll set the cups, and we leave them in from the previous year, so we can get started right away. Mostly in the spring, people are just ready to get out and enjoy the fresh air and hit, so if the course isn’t perfect, I think people understand. They just want to get out and swing the club and chase the ball around a bit.
Once the snow is gone, we look at the forecast and see what the temperatures are going to be. It doesn’t look like we’ll get open through the weekend. It’s supposed to start to cool down a little bit again with a chance of rain and snow, but if we get some nice days, we’ll open up. A lot will depend on the weather and how much water is on the course.
How much time do you need to get ready?
Once all the snow starts melting, we’ll go out and see how wet it is. The frost needs to get out of the ground as well, not necessarily all of it, but the ground becomes really soft. So we’ll take a look and see if we can allow carts. Usually we open for walking only until the ground firms up and dries out.
Usually once all the frost gets out of the ground and the surface starts to dry, we’ll allow carts. Usually if we get a good five to seven days of warmer, dry weather, we can start letting carts go.
When you are able to open, what opens first?
Once the snow melts, we can pretty much get out there for walking, and we’ll let them go. The order depends on how much snow there is. I was out at Bakker Crossing this week, and there wasn’t as much snow as at Willow Run. Dell Rapids got an inch the other night, so they will be a little more behind. It’s kind of crazy; even in a condensed area, there are pockets that might have more snow than others. So it just depends on how much is on the course. Quite a bit has melted at Willow in the last couple days, and most should be gone besides big drifts.
What should golfers do the meantime?
If they want to swing, go out to the simulators. One of the first things we’ll do is open the driving ranges, so depending on the weather, we might get some of the driving ranges open. But get a few swings in at the simulator at Suburban Lanes, so you’re ready to get outside. And a lot of our members have started traveling to Kansas to get a few rounds of golf in, and hopefully in a couple weeks, we’re open up here. It’s normally mid- to late March before we get open. Just check out the website to take a look at the courses down in Kansas, and enjoy using your GreatLIFE membership there!
Golfers, the season is almost here. Here’s the latest on when courses might open and what you can do in the meantime.