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Poor spring hurt golf industry

Mother Nature has local golf courses in the rough.

A cold and wet spring pushed the opening day of every golf course back nearly a month and snowfall as late as June 11 hurt retail sales as well.

"We had our latest opening probably ever, or in recent memory, and that certainly hurt," said Craig Sanchez, manager of the municipal course.

July and August picked up, and were some of the best months on record, but couldn’t make up for an entire lost month, he said.

"We didn’t have a spring; it went from winter to summer," complained Mick Wydra, membership director for Glenwild.

Dan Eskew, vice president of Wolf Summit Golf and Hockey, a local retailer, said that except for people coming in to buy gear to golf in St. George, people waited for the good weather to shop.

"People didn’t need a new pair of shoes because they weren’t wearing them. They didn’t want a new driver because they couldn’t practice with it yet," he said.

Steve Hupe, director of golf operations at Promontory, said August was the best ever, but the golf season is just too short to make up for the slow start.

The Mountain Dell golf course also took a hard hit from Interstate 80 construction this summer.

"The construction shut us down for two Sundays, and you don’t make that up, you just don’t," said Mike Brimley, head golf professional at Mountain Dell.

Even when the freeways were open, golfers weren’t allowed to take the exits closest to the course, but often had to drive to the summit before turning around and coming back. He thinks many golfers chose alternatives that were a shorter drive.

The colder mornings this month have caused some golfers to start a bit later, but most courses said September has been great for business so far. Most are open through October, and a few stay open in November until the snow falls.

The colder mornings and evenings are normal, and most are optimistic about a good autumn.

"The weather has been beautiful and the course is in good shape for us," said Wydra at Glenwild.

Brimley at Mountain Dell said past Novembers have been great for golfing, even if the course has to open a little later in the morning for the frost to melt.

The municipal course lowers its rates in the fall and sees business pick up until the area is handed over to White Pine Touring for cross-country skiing, Sanchez said.


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