NORTH OKANAGAN - Lingering winter conditions are leaving local golf courses a bit behind schedule.
While courses opened unusually early in 2016, this year has been the opposite.
Jon Atmore, with Hillview Golf in Vernon, says they were open on March 5 last year. The average is anywhere between March 15 and 20, and the latest they opened in the past 15 years was the beginning of April — a possibility this spring if the course doesn’t dry up.
“I wish I knew,” Atmore says when asked for an estimated opening date. "We’re thinking one to two weeks away.”
This year's opening likely feels especially late, given earlier than normal openings for Okanagan golf course over the past couple of years. Last year in the North Okanagan, people had been golfing for weeks already, an in 2015, some Kelowna courses opened in February.
Fortunately, the Hillview course didn’t sustain any ‘snow mould’ — a risk with this kind of soggy weather — and is in good condition, Atmore says. What the course really needs now is a period of sun and wind.
“Otherwise we’ll be golfing in our gumboots, which people would do,” Atmore says.
With the weather warming up and snow beginning to disappear, Atmore says the course has been getting lots of inquiries from people about the opening date.
Further north, the Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club — typically known for opening earlier than other courses in the area — is also at the mercy of Mother Nature.
“We’re about a month behind last year,” spokesperson Kyle Wiebe says.
The average opening date is usually sometime in mid-March. The driving range is set to open tomorrow, March 21, but there’s no word yet on when the full course will get the green light. Wiebe is hoping for some time next week, as long as all the snow is gone.
He says locals, and golfers from the Shuswap area who have an even longer wait for the courses in their area, are anxious to get out.
“The phones are ringing off the hook,” he says. “It (late opening) is unfortunate, but we’ll get there eventually.”
For more information on openings, you can call the Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club at 1-866-545-5824 or go online.
Follow updates on the Hillview Golf Course on Facebook, or phone them at 1-888-549-4659.
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