Anyone seeking evidence spring had actually arrived in the North Country needed look no further than their local golf course as hardy souls braved cold and wind to get in an early season round of golf.
Despite a snowy, cold winter which seems intent on maintaining its grip on the area, golfers like Patrick Cross and Dave Trachte from Rupert, Vt. said they had already been out as they finished a round at the Pole Valley Player’s Club in Hartford Saturday.
“This is like the third or fourth time this season, but the first time here,” Cross said.
As members at the course they said they were sure it would not be the last time they tried to get a round in before forecast rain came later in the day.
Owner Steve Forbes said the early enthusiasm of members like Cross and Trachte gives him hope for each new season.
Once again, the course has begun to green up and is suddenly ready for play, although much later than in the past few years. “The recent rain we had helped, it kind of greened up overnight,” Forbes said.
Although the weather forecast appeared as if it might keep players away for the remainder of the weekend with rain and cold, Forbes said he had to keep reminding himself it was still early in the season.
“Hey, it’s April, these are the gravy days making any money this month helps out paying the bills,” Forbes said.
Early players largely left Hampton’s Milestone Golf Course as the morning turned to afternoon.
Owner Bruce Jones said he was once again one of the first courses in the area to open as he’s had “the pins in” for a week already.
Spending winters aboard volunteering, Jones said he’d returned to Haiti where he’d watched the winter from afar and wondered how his family farm turned golf course was faring against the extreme conditions.
“The winter was actually good for the course. The grass was nestled under a nice thick blanket of snow. When I finally got out there and dug down I found nice warm ground and good grass,” Jones said.
Jones said it’s become a common occurrence for golfers who know the course to show up on those early season days and bring some new golfers who have never played the unique uphill 9-hole course.
“When I was working before I opened the phone was ringing and the parking lot was busy,” Jones said, making a circular hand gesture representing cars doing U-turns in the parking lot as they stopped to take a look before heading back down Route 18.
The long awaited bar will open this season Jones said after he hired a company to complete his applications for his liquor license, finally allowing him to serve beer and wine on site.
Although the lake just opened up the weekend before the Lake St. Catherine Country Club is ready to go, course pro Matt Hibbert said.
LSCCC opened Friday, April 15 preceded by the driving range by just a few days.
Along with new executive chef, Hibbert said the country club has a new restaurant ‘Fairways’ and has a new expanded pro shop.
The pro shop has more than doubled in size, he said, and offers most anything the forgetful golfer should need from a hat to golf balls or even clubs and bags.
LSCCC is an 18-hole championship caliber golf course located just outside of Granville in Poultney and overlooks its namesake body of water.