What a difference a year makes.
The city of Coon Rapids’ Bunker Hills Golf Course executive nine-hole course opened for play Wednesday.
The championship course is scheduled to open tomorrow (Saturday, March 17).
Last year, it was mid-April before golfers began playing on the course.
“This is a very early opening and we are very excited,” said Tim Anderson, golf director.
The pro shop began taking tee-time reservations Monday, he said.
There has been a lot of interest in when the Bunker Hills course was going to open for the season, probably because of the mild weather, Anderson said.
“Hopefully, there are other reasons, too,” he said.
In fact, the driving range has been open since March 7.
“We had to open the driving range because we had so many golfers waiting to get on it,” Anderson said.
“We have had 200 people using the driving range.”
But to show that winter is not quite over, when he went round with the cart picking up the balls off the driving range, there were chunks of ice on the balls, according to Anderson.
There has not been much snow cover this winter, nor a great deal of frost, so the course appears to have come through “beautifully,” Anderson said.
But they won’t know for sure until the growing season starts, he said.
“We will have to see what grows and what doesn’t,” Anderson said.
However, the frost has gone out of the pond on the executive nine course already, he said.
But there will be a different tint to the look of the course until it greens up, Anderson said.
The early start to the golf season coupled with the demand for patron cards, which has been so much higher than previous years makes Anderson optimistic for the year, he said.
“The patron card has become the membership base for customer loyalty at Bunker Hills,” Anderson said.
Patron cards went on sale Feb. 1.
While the golf season got off to a late and slow start in 2011 because of the weather, business picked up in June, July, August and September and the mild fall and late winter kept the course open a lot longer than normal, according to Anderson.
Indeed, there were golfers playing the nine-hole course on New Year’s Eve, Anderson said.
The new Bunker Hills Golf Course Clubhouse, which includes the pro shop and Harvest Grill Restaurant opened in June 2011.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]