They aren’t as close to scheduling tee times as they’d prefer.
But golf course professionals in the area remain optimistic that early May will bring the start of another season. That includes Aberdeen Glen Golf Course head professional Ian Wrynn, who’s become accustomed to opening his course later than his competition in the bowl of the city.
“Once the snow starts to go, it goes fairly quickly,” he said on Tuesday. “Again, we definitely have a lot more snow than it looks like we did last year, so once it gets going, it’ll go quick. I think that we’ll still be on track for a first week of May opening, but that’s coming very quickly.”
The weather hasn’t been cooperative, as temperatures have been consistently below seasonal for the past couple of months. Wrynn said the staff at Aberdeen Glen has been doing what’s in their power to battle Mother Nature.
“What we’ve been doing is we’ve actually been plowing off some of the fairways that we can get to,” he said. “Obviously we can’t get to all of them, but No. 9 and No. 3 we’ve been able to plow off a little bit so that should speed things up a bit that way.”
Wrynn said they targeted May 3 as an initial start-up date. Recent weather makes it seem more likely they won’t open until the second weekend of the month. They had managed to plow off the driving range and were hoping to open that area to the public this weekend.
As for the shape of the 18-hole championship course, Wrynn said they’ve worked on improving the sand, bunkers, and greens.
“We tarped almost all of our greens this year, so we’re anticipating the greens to be coming out really good,” he said. “It’s good that we had those tarps out because there was a little bit of an ice issue this year so that should really help things.”
The first major tournament of the season for Aberdeen Glen is the Ironman, slated for June 14. The charity tournament for UNBC alumni is scheduled for May 28.
The Commonwealth Cup, a charity competition that in the past has included current and former professional hockey players, is earmarked for July 21. The two-day men’s open is scheduled for July 25 and 26.
With the season still yet to get underway, Wrynn couldn’t say whether the economic recession would negatively affect business at the course. He said he figured they would see less corporate sponsorship for tournaments than they have in the past.
“It’s funny. In past years I’ve noticed when the economy is a little slow, you’ll see an increase in day-to-day play.”
If everything goes according to schedule, this season will be the last for the Prince George Golf and Curling Club at its current location west of the bypass off Highway 16. The club had hoped to be at its new location, an 825-acre site between Foothills Boulevard and North Nechako Road, by June 2010.
PGGCC head professional Laurie Pierce said they’re hoping to have their driving range open by the end of next week.
“And the golf course, I’d like to be optimistic and say the 25th (of April), but realistically, probably the weekend after,” he said. “Our green superintendant (Murray Kutyn) has been out plowing off the greens like everybody does, but there’s not much you can do until Mother Nature melts her all away.”
According to the Weather Network, seasonal highs for this time of year in Prince George are around 12 degrees Celsius. As of Wednesday, the 14-day trend wasn’t calling for Prince George to get above seasonal weather until April 27.
“(The last two years have been), in the 19 years I’ve been here, the two slowest (start-up) dates for sure. It looks like we’re two to three weeks behind schedule,” Pierce said.
The PGGCC has released dates for 2009 tournaments. The club’s first major tournament, the Kal Tire Texas Scramble, is scheduled for May 23 and 24. Other major competitions taking place at the course include the Senior’s Championship (July 18 and 19), the Ladies Simon Fraser Open (Aug. 8 and 9) and the Men’s Simon Fraser Open (Aug. 21 to 23).