Great day for golf

by Jason Olson
Sports Editor

Greenhaven Golf Course in Anoka was one several area golf clubs to open the course for an extremely rare day of outdoor golf in January as temperatures reached above 45 degrees Jan. 10.

A group including, from left, Gary Kish, Pat Murray and Gary Bekken leave the tee box on Hole 1 as Greenhaven Golf Course in Anoka opened its doors for a shotgun start Jan. 10. The group was estatic to be able to play golf during what should be the middle of the winter. Photo by Jason Olson

Typically the first day of golf in the new year is slated for sometime in early April, but not in 2012.

Although it might be the only day of golf in January, Larry Norland, golf manager at Greenhaven, said it is the first time the course has been open during what is typically the coldest month of the year.

He said he still had to chip ice from a few holes, but other than that setting the flags in the holes was about all the grounds crew needed to do to open the course to play for the first time since Nov. 19, 2010.

Screwdrivers on the tee boxes allowed golfers to dig into the still-frozen ground.

“We were waiting on a couple greens that still had significant snow on them to clear up, but the idea of being open in January is a new one for us,” Norland said after sending nearly 100 golfers onto the course for a shotgun start at 11 a.m.

Of course, there was no riding carts, but that didn’t bother golfers who wanted to play outdoors in Minnesota in January.

“We had 104 booked to play and 98 showed up,” Norland said. “With about 20 regulars, it was a fun surprise to see how many new faces came out to our course for the first time.”

Any ideas of Norland teeing it up was out of the question, he said. “I’ve got book work to do,” Norland said.

Concerns about the health of the grass come spring didn’t seem to bother Norland either. “It’s a one-day deal so we’re not too concerned, but if we get to a few more days on the grass, that’s when we’ll start to be concerned,” Norland said.

The predicted high for Jan. 11 was 32 before the bottom dropped out of the thermometer as temperatures were predicted to return to slightly above the average instead of down-right balmy.

Jason Olson is at [email protected]