After a slow start to the golf season due to the cold weather, Westman courses are hoping the May long weekend will help boost their numbers, especially those in cottage country.
A couple snowfalls forced Clear Lake to hold off its opening until Wednesday, while Poplar Ridge is scheduled to open tomorrow and Pleasant Valley in the south has been open since early May. Regardless of how long they’ve been open, business hasn’t been busy and all three are looking forward to getting more people on their courses.
“It’s nice to be open especially before the long weekend,” said Matt Nylen, Clear Lake’s golf pro. “That’s very important and hopefully we get a nice weekend and get some golfers out here. May long is definitely the kickoff to the season.”
Clear Lake, located in Riding Mountain National Park, was set to open last weekend, but a massive snowstorm hit the area on Mother’s Day weekend and the area got a little more snow a couple days ago.
Staff feel the course wintered extremely well and that the greens came through in the best condition superintendent Greg Holden has ever seen. Nylen feels the snow just added more moisture to the ground and that the course will look great once the sun comes out.
“The moisture is actually good for the course,” he said. “We just need some heat now on top of that. Things have greened up since the snow, even with the temperatures we’ve had.”
Clear Lake has a spring special for green fee and cart rental set at $50 until the end of the month. It is also celebrating its 80th anniversary with 50-cent green fees on June 4.
Poplar Ridge general manager Ryan Meyers feels his course also wintered well and is also waiting for the sun to come out and make it pop. After a late spring, he’s just happy to have the course open for the long weekend.
“We’d like to be further ahead than we were, but with that being said we’re going to hit the long weekend and get quite a bit going,” he said of his course, located just south of Riding Mountain. “Hoping a lot of people are coming up to the lake and getting on with the summer after all we’ve just been through.”
Meanwhile, Pleasant Valley owner Wally Hall believes his course, located near Pelican Lake, wintered as well as he’s ever seen, with no mould on the greens. He admitted business has been pretty slow so far, but hopes things will pick up as this weekend is usually the beginning of people heading out to their cottages.
“Hopefully the weather co-operates and it will be a great long weekend,” he said. “Really this is the start of the season for us.”
West of Brandon, Oak Island Resort opened nine holes last week and will have the full 18 ready to play on Saturday.
CHIP SHOTS: The Wheat City Golf Course is set to open its back nine on Monday, with the front nine opening at a later date. The Assiniboine River has reached the course’s temporary dikes but was held back … Shilo is hosting the Maple Leaf Junior Tour’s Worlds Qualifiers on Saturday and Sunday … The 54th annual Grey Owl tournament at Clear Lake still has openings and has extended its registration deadline. The event will run from June 13-15. For more information, see thegreyowl.ca … Deer Ridge’s nine-hole two-man senior men’s league on Tuesday mornings has openings. To register, call the club at 204-726-1545 …The Oak Tree Classic, which raises money to conserve, restore and manage wetland conservation in Manitoba, will be held on May 24 at Oak Island. For more information, call Bob Grant at 204-729-3505 … Pleasant Valley’s Southern Manitoba Golf Classic is also slated for May 24. Contact the club for more information … Shilo will host the CN Future Links Junior Championship from May 29 to June 1 and is looking for volunteers. Anyone interested in being a forecaddie, scorecard runner, standard bearer or billet for a golfer can call Karen Gero at 204-765-3622 … Minnedosa’s Rockin’ the Fields Par 3 tournament will be held May 31. Contact the club for more information … Brandon’s chapter of the Huntington Society of Canada will host its charity tournament at Glen Lea on June 8. For more information, call Sandy Harrison at 204-573-4565 … The Brandon Ladies’ Western Open is returning to the Wheat City course on Aug. 10, with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. A junior flight for players 18 and under has been added. For more information, call Janice Meadows at 204-728-0708.