Golf season off to early start locally

Lucas Punkari

With the snowy weather of this past winter nothing but a distant memory, the 2012 golf season already is underway here in Rainy River District.
The first of the three area courses to open to local golfers was Kitchen Creek, which began its season last Thursday.
“It’s certainly the earliest I can ever remember opening up,” enthused general manager Glen Kellar.
“We are fully operational with all 18 holes right now,” he noted. “But if there’s frost on the ground or anything like that, we won’t let anyone go out there.
“To keep the course in good shape, we have to watch everything closely and see what is going out there,” Kellar stressed.
Heron Landing at Couchiching originally was scheduled to get up and running on Saturday, but it turned out Mother Nature had second thoughts.
“Once we got hammered by rain, we had to push things back a couple of days,” explained head pro and general manager Brian Johnstone.
“So instead we opened the range on Monday, with the course following a day later.
“But right now, it’s just a day-by-day approach that we have,” he added.
Like Kellar, Johnstone also is keeping a close eye on how the fairways and greens are looking at the moment.
“The grass doesn’t start to heal up until the ground temperature gets to a certain point,” he noted.
“You don’t want to open up too early because you could end up killing everything off before you even reach the summer,” Johnstone stressed.
The one district course that has yet to open for the season is Spruce Creek near Morson, where owner Laurie Pentney is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“I don’t see any point in opening up this early, especially if it is as cold has it’s been in the last few days, especially with the greens being pretty tender right now,” she reasoned.
“As our population is so small out here, we’re just looking at opening up during weekends for the start of the year,” she added.
“But an actual start date has yet to have been decided on.”