Golfers wasting no time getting back on the greens

Amber Nicholson
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SUMMERSIDE - According to the calendar, spring has officially arrived and that means golfers are eager to hit the fairway. 

It did not look good for golfers three weeks ago, but the recent rise in temperatures is shrinking snow banks at a steady pace, unveiling green grass at local courses.

Believe it or not, some golfers have already got a few rounds in.

The French River Golf Course, located on Route 263, is notorious for being the first Island golf course to open for the season and this year was no exception.

"We've had lots of people out golfing this week, a few each day," said course owner Wilber Lamont. "Golfers are anxious. The snow is melting and the sun is shining. Golfers are raring to go, they're just dying to get out now."

Lamont is thrilled to see people back out on the course. He said it's in great condition with 12 of the 18 holes ready for action. He said because the course is on high ground with not a lot of trees, the rain drains off easily and the ground is now firm and dry.

"There's not a puddle, you wouldn't believe it," said Lamont. "There's a bit of snow down the sides and we joke that we have snow traps instead of sand traps, but it's just great, golfers really enjoy it. Won't be long til we have our power carts out."

Lamont said opening earlier than other Island courses is great for business as it attracts golfers who belong to other clubs that have not yet opened.

Anderson's Creek Golf Club and Green Gables Golf Club are also experiencing the rush of anxious golfers. In terms of booking tee times, this is Anderson's Creek and Green Gables' busiest time of year.

Alex MacLauchlan, corporate sales and marketing for Green Gables, said between the two golf courses there are already about 7,000 tee times booked.

"Yesterday alone we probably booked around 60 tee times, it's shaping up to be like last year which was busy for us," said MacLauchlan. "People always say 'what do you do at a golf course in the winter?' Well we take bookings. Before the course even opened last year we had booked 12,500 tee times."

MacLauchlan, who is also the president of Golf P.E.I., said most of the summer weekends between June and September are already filling up. He said this time of year it is the groups of golfers that are booking, from about eight to 30 people, and most of them are from off-Island.

"Islanders wouldn't make up five per cent of (the bookings). It's mainly Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, a lot of Quebec and Ontario," said MacLauchlan, who was busy taking reservations at Anderson's Creek on Saturday.

Anderson's Creek is planned to open May 1 with Green Gables opening a couple of weeks after that.

For more information about Prince Edward Island golf courses visit www.golfpei.ca.

Organizations: French River Golf Course, Creek Golf Club, Green Gables Golf Club

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, SUMMERSIDE, Green Gables Nova Scotia New Brunswick Quebec Ontario

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