With the weather warming up Wednesday and above average temperatures forecast through next week, many in Grand Forks are dusting off their golf clubs and hitting the links.
The early to mid-start date for golfing is pretty typical for courses in the Upper Midwest, said Dan Tannahill, golf course manager for the Grand Forks Park District. Tannahill said the Park District was hoping to open both King’s Walk and Lincoln golf courses earlier, but the below-average temperatures that persisted into early April pushed the start date back.
For the courses to open, Tannahill said the grass has to be thawed and is ready to handle the wear and tear from players and carts.
Ray Richards Golf Course, which is run by UND, opened its course Tuesday, a week later than the Parks District, said Dustin Hetletved, the general manager for the course. That decision was made in part because of the chilly weather. There’s not a magic temperature he said he looks for when deciding when to open, but it needs to be tolerable for the players.
“If it’s 30 degrees and windy out, nobody is going to come out to golf,” Hetletved said. “But Tuesday was in the mid-40s and the wind wasn’t too bad, so we opened and people came and golfed. Then today was gorgeous and people are everywhere.”
Despite the short golf season in the region, people in Grand Forks are turning out in record numbers to the city’s courses, and both Hetletved and Tannahill are expecting good years.
According to data from the Grand Forks Park District, King’s Walk exceeded $1 million in revenue in 2015, up from the $986,803 it made the previous year. Along with that, the course saw about 2,300 more rounds of golf played at the course in 2015 than 2014.
Lincoln Golf Course also saw an increase in both revenue and rounds of golf in 2015, with the course making $255,279 and 17,626 rounds played.
Because of the area’s short summer, Tannahill said he thinks the sport remains popular because people always are looking for good reasons to enjoy the warm months.
“We take advantage of the nice weather by being outside, and one of the ways to do it — no matter the age or gender — is to come to the golf course and get some outside activity in,” he said.
When the courses open:
King’s Walk, Grand Forks: Opened April 5
Lincoln, Grand Forks: Opened April 6
Ray Richards, Grand Forks: Opened Monday
Valley Golf Course, East Grand Forks: Opened Saturday
Whispering Oaks, Manvel, N.D.: Planning to open Friday