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Balmy March weather prompts early golf course openings

Local golfer James Drolet hit the driving range on Saturday. It was his first time out for the year, and he said he's looking forward to hitting the course for real. (Sam Konnert/CBC - image credit)
Local golfer James Drolet hit the driving range on Saturday. It was his first time out for the year, and he said he's looking forward to hitting the course for real. (Sam Konnert/CBC - image credit)

Get your ball retrievers and divot fixers ready, because several eastern Ontario golf courses have had record early openings.

Shawn Mosiondz, a manager at Calabogie Highlands Golf Resort, said their opening date of March 8 was the earliest ever in the course's 41-year history.

The previous record, he said, was St. Patrick's Day.

"This just blows that out of the water," Mosiondz said.

It's been a warmer-than-usual winter in Ottawa, with limited snow and temperatures last week that hovered in the low teens.

Opening a golf course this early can be tough if there's been a lot of precipitation, Mosiondz said, but it's been unseasonably dry.

"We want to make sure we protect the future beauty of the course and not let people out when it's too soft," he said.

The following eastern Ontario courses are open as of March 16, according to their websites:

  • Nine Golf in Belleville, Ont.

  • Crooked Creek in Athens, Ont.

  • Glen Cedars near Morrisburg, Ont.

  • Calabogie Highlands in Calabogie, Ont.

  • Mapleview in Perth, Ont.

  • Oak Hills near Quinte West, Ont.

  • Dragonfly Golf Links in Renfrew, Ont.

A golfer takes a swing at 19th Tee Driving range in Kanata. The range was packed as golfers look to get in some early season swings on Saturday.
A golfer takes a swing at 19th Tee Driving range in Kanata. The range was packed as golfers look to get in some early season swings on Saturday.

A golfer takes a swing at 19th Tee Driving range in Kanata. The range was packed Saturday as golfers looked to get in some early-season swings. (Sam Konnert/CBC)

'A little unusual'

Golfers that weren't able to play a full 18 holes this weekend were out at the 19th Tee Driving Range in Kanata, shaking off the rust.

James Drolet was out for the first time, enjoying the warm weather. He said he tries to play twice a week, and hit the range once on top of that.

"It's almost a meditative experience for me, it's like self-care," Drolet said.

""It feels great [to be out], excited to shake the rust off. But it does seem a little unusual, for sure."

Cold weather is in the forecast, however, and Mosiondz said Calabogie Highlands will be shutting down for a week or two.

But the extra income from the early open is a big bonus, he added.

"We can showcase our beautiful course to people that wouldn't normally come, because we're the only place open in the area," he said.

"As long as it's warm enough without frost on the ground, we can play."