In Wisconsin, upstate New York and Iowa, courses are taking advantage of extended warm weather to stay open later in the year than they ever have.
Reports were posted throughout the first weekend of December about how golf courses and clubs in some of the U.S.’s traditionally snowiest spots are enjoying unprecedented extensions of business because of lingering warm weather.
Golfers in the Madison, Wis., area got an early Christmas present, Madison.com reported, when Odana Hills Golf Course, one of four public courses in the Madison Parks system, announced that it would open on Tuesday morning, December 8, marking the first time the course has ever been open in December.
“As long as the weather stays mild, we will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. [to] take advantage of this great ‘winter’ weather,” said Ryan Brinza, Odana Hills’ golf professional.
Several other Madison-area golf courses, including The Oaks in Cottage Grove and The Bridges, have also reopened because of the region’s unusually mild and dry weather, Madison.com reported.
Elsewhere in Wisconsin, station WEAU of Eau Claire reported that Pine Meadows Golf Course had golfers on the course throughout Saturday, December 5, and planned to stay open, along with other courses in the area, as long as they weren’t snow-covered or conditions became unplayable.
In Iowa, the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reported that with favorable weather forecasted, the Waterloo and the Cedar Falls municipal golf courses were planning to stay open well into December. Waterloo’s three courses—Irv Warren at Byrnes Park, Gates Park and South Hills—would “remain open as weather conditions allow,” Golf Manager J.B. Bolger said, featuring a half-price special of $10 for 18 holes.
Cedar Falls’ courses—18-hole Pheasant Ridge and Walter’s Ridge, a 9-hole, par-3 course—would also remain open as the weather allows, the Courier reported, along with a foot golf course at Walter’s Ridge. Those courses were also offering a price special of 18-hole play for the cost of 9 holes.
“We know that there are always die-hard golfers that will play in most any conditions, and we are more than happy to make our courses available up until weather conditions force us to close,” Mark Ripplinger, Director of Municipal Operations and Programs with the city of Cedar Falls, told the Courier. The long-term forecasted weather promised to “provide some agreeable playing conditions,” Ripplinger added.
In Niagara Falls, N.Y., station WKBW reported that with the Buffalo/Niagara Falls region having broken a 116-year-old record for lack of snow in December, and no snow in the foreseeable future, courses in the Niagara Frontier region were also seeing demand for golf and extending their operations while offering new discounts for winter golfers.
Erie County Parks, Recreation, & Forestry was inviting winter golfers to play 18-holes with a cart for only $20 at county-owned golf courses, WKBW reported, and plans were also in place to keep the Elma Meadows and Grover Cleveland golf courses open until snow falls.
At Hyde Park Golf Course in Niagara Falls, which normally closes on November 1st, the extended season has generated an extra $12,000 in revenue for the City of Niagara Falls, WKBW reported.