A little more than a month ago, Estevan was covered by a thick blanket of snow, leaving many to wonder when golf season and other summer sports would be able to begin.
So perhaps it’s a little surprising the TS&M Woodlawn Golf Club was able to open on Thursday, which is a little earlier than normal, considering Woodlawn usually doesn’t open until the final week of April.
It was also the first opening day for Travis Merritt, the golf course’s new general manager who was hired in late February.
Merritt said the course handled the winter conditions very well, and they did not have many water issues.
“The greens wintered very well,” said Merritt. “The tee boxes are in good shape and the fairways are in good shape.”
Estevan received a lot of snow during the winter, but conditions have been favourable since the last big storm on March 5.
“It’s nice to see us open before Easter,” said Merritt. “Anything before Easter is a bonus.”
They have avoided having temporary greens and tee boxes. There are some areas that are a little damp that need to be roped off, and they might have some areas that are limited access for power carts, but that’s not unusual.
Improved drainage has allowed them to do a better job of handling their previous water issues.
Golfers are excited to have the season begin. They revealed on April 10 the date they planned to open, and since then the phones have been ringing constantly from players looking to book a tee time.
The timing was perfect, too, since it came right before the long weekend.
“The kids are out of school … so we might see some people travelling our way, or even our juniors out every day next week, being that there’s no school,” said Merritt.
The driving range was enjoying steady traffic, as people wanted to try out their new equipment. But since they announced when the course would be open, the traffic has soared.
“We can always see more people on the driving range, but there has been a lot of rust worked off some clubs in the last couple of days,” said Merritt.
Golfers have been renewing their memberships. He noted their restricted membership is back for a second consecutive year; those who haven’t been members in the past 10 years can purchase a membership at a reduced rate. Last year it was $700; this year it is $800.
“We can always grow our membership base,” said Merritt. “That’s one thing that I would like to see is a larger membership base, and try to develop some programs that can have some people out here.”
Woodlawn will host the Future Links Western Canada junior tournament from July 2 to 4. Merritt expects it will be their largest special event of the year. They will also have various corporate tournaments and in-house tournaments this year.
Merritt says he is happy to be in Estevan. He has spent a lot of time at the golf course getting ready for the upcoming golf season, and he is now excited to get to know the local golfers and to experience all that Estevan has to offer.