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Golfers out swinging despite erratic weather

The Bonnyville golf season has already featured its share of rain and snow, and it's only two weeks old.
Tyler Caines of Red Deer lines up a shot at the Bonnyville Golf Club driving range on Sunday afternoon.
Tyler Caines of Red Deer lines up a shot at the Bonnyville Golf Club driving range on Sunday afternoon.

The Bonnyville golf season has already featured its share of rain and snow, and it's only two weeks old.

The local course officially opened on April 21, a few days after the driving range, but made a fairly hasty return to hibernation when the snow started falling on April 23.

It reopened for businesses last week, and has been attracting golfers as well as rain and a few snowflakes.

While the cool, wet weather hasn't been great for players to date, things were a little more comfortable on the weekend, and this week's forecast appeared snow-free as of Monday morning.

“As bad as the snow was for us (in terms of preventing play), it actually helped because we were really dry, and we needed the moisture,” said head pro and course manager Randy Gallop.

“It was still early, so it didn't hurt us at all to shut it down and get some moisture in the ground.

The course is already looking a little greener thanks to the rain and snow, and with a little heat and irrigation coming soon, it should green up nicely, Gallop said.

Those who were out on the weekend to enjoy a round found a course without any temporary greens or tee boxes. All improvements to the course that were done last year on holes 10 to 13 have also grown in. Work last year included putting down 55,000 square feet of sod to go with grass seeding in some areas.

“Everything that has been seeded is coming pretty good,” Gallup said.

Green fees have sprung up with the spring grass to an extent, jumping around 10 per cent. Eighteen holes on a weekend will set you back $45, while that price is only $40 on a weekday. Nine holes costs $32 on a weekend and $25 during the week.

Men's and women's leagues typically start in mid May, with the junior league kicking off in early July.

The club's tournament schedule is already in place, and the first big event comes along on June 4 and 5 in the form of the Oilmen's Tourney.

“June's our busiest month in terms of tournaments,” Gallop said, noting corporate tournaments drop off in the summer months.

He said golfers have been keen to get out and swing, even with the sporadic later April weather.

“We had snow on the ground and they were still golfing. They're ready to go,” he said.

The proshop and restaurant are now open seven days a week, and the course is in decent shape, he said.

“Our superintendent said everything wintered well, our greens are coming in nice and there's no snow mold or anything.”