Continued winter weather delays golf season in southern Alberta

Click to play video: 'Ongoing wintry weather delays season for Southern Alberta golf courses'
Ongoing wintry weather delays season for Southern Alberta golf courses
WATCH: A wintry start to spring has local golf courses pushing back their opening day. Malika Karim finds out how snow and winterlike conditions are affecting links in southern Alberta – Apr 6, 2018

April is here, but not very much green can be seen at local golf courses.

Buried flagpoles and snow-covered driving ranges are the norm right now, surprising many in the industry.

“Well, this is almost unheard of in southern Alberta,” said head professional at Paradise Canyon Golf Resort, Matt Barkway. “To have this kind of snow, this kind of cold, this late.”

Both Paradise Canyon Golf Resort and Henderson Lake Golf Club have been fielding calls from anxious fairway-seekers, asking when they can finally hit the links.

“We’re getting phone calls, we’re getting people from up north, they make the trip down south to try to get in some golf before they open,” said head professional at Henderson Lake Golf Club, Cam Waldbauer. “It’s just one of those seasons that came out of nowhere.”

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“Last year, we would have had a couple of thousand by now,” said Barkway when commenting on how many golfers made use of their facilities by April 2017.

The big question now: When will opening day be?

“Most years, we try to open the second last weekend in March, and that’s kind of the norm,” said Barkway. “On a good year, we go earlier than that, on a bad year, we go the last weekend in March or right at the beginning of April. But looking at nearing April 18, April 20 as an opening date is pretty much unheard of.”

“Starting day, we actually don’t know yet — we just got to wait till mother nature co-operates with us,” said Waldbauer. “Hopefully in two weeks time, but we just don’t know yet.”

The extended cold weather will also cause problems after the snow finally melts away.

“There’s a lot of snow, cold temperatures in February and March. Normally, that’s when it’s starting to thaw out,” Waldbauer noted. “So a couple of weeks ago, it was looking good, things were thawing out. We actually pulled the tarps off our greens trying to get a head start, but then we got this snow last weekend so we’re back to square one almost.”

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It’s not all bad news though. Waldbauer says there’s always a chance the season could get extended in the fall, to help maximize time on the greens.

“If we do get a nice fall like we saw in 2016, we’ll definitely consider staying open and hopefully extend everyone’s golf season a little longer.”

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