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Municipal golf course open two greens, heralds the start of spring in London

From left to right, John Bracken, Murray Clark, and Dirk DeVries prepare for their first tee-off at the Thames Valley Golf Club this year. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

Grey skies and near-freezing temperatures Wednesday morning didn’t stop London golf enthusiasts from hitting municipally-run greens for the first time this season.

The city of London opened their Classic 18 and Hickory 9, both located at the Thames Valley Golf Club at 10 a.m.

Roger Miller, a dedicated golfer trying to fit in as much golf as he could into the 1.5 hours he had before heading off to work, was the first to tee-off.

READ MORE: Dispute involving golf club leads to charges in St. Thomas

“Not bad for the first one of the season,” he said, turning to face the group behind him before dashing off to the next hole.

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Warming up his lob shot, Murray Clark said it would take a few rounds before he felt he was back in the swing of things.

His friends didn’t let the winter months get in the way of the sport, though. John Bracken practiced in his basement, while Dirk DeVries spent time in Florida satisfying the itch.

Dirk DeVries enjoys golf because it’s an “individual sport,” and there’s “nobody but yourself to blame when you play bad.”. Liny Lamberink, 980 CFPL.

“I played there quite a bit, so I haven’t played for about three weeks now,” said DeVries, joking that he could have forgotten his golf swing.

He started playing in 1967, and said he booked tee-times for the next four days. So long as it’s above freezing and it isn’t raining, he’d be on the green, DeVries said.

READ MORE: Spring is coming eventually, says weather expert

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Steve Bennett, a golf professional with the city of London, was pleased to see there wasn’t any damage to the grass after a harsh winter.

“If you have an open winter, you have no snow, then the grass will hurt (from) the wind and the cold,” Bennett said.

The snow is crucial in acting as a blanket and protecting the grass, he said, adding that sport itself is also healthy in London.

“We’ve made money the past six years in a row, so we’re doing well,” he said.

The city’s other courses, Fanshawe and River Road, remain closed.

Over at Boler Mountain, the slopes will be open for the final few days of skiing and snowboarding over the Easter weekend. After Sunday, the recreation hub will close its doors and transition into spring and summer activities. It’ll likely re-open sometime around the end of April.

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