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Golf Courses Set To Begin The Spring Season

by on March 20, 2014 1:15 PM

With the last of the snow and ice finally melting away, the first day of spring breathes a welcome sigh of relief after a long, bitter winter.

Perhaps nobody is more excited about the change of seasons than the staff at local golf courses. they've been waiting for months to welcome back customers.

"We've been getting calls for a week and a half," says Steve Eskey, assistant golf professional and event coordinator at Penn State Golf Courses. "As soon as golf starts showing up on TV, people are calling up to see when we're open."

For many duffers, the long wait is finally over. Eighteen of Penn State's thirty-six holes will be officially open for business starting Friday, March 21, at 10 a.m., along with the driving range and golf shop.

At Toftrees Golf Resort, assistant professional J.D. Coccia has been busy fielding phone calls from golf-starved customers. The course will make the back nine available to the public starting tomorrow morning.

"I've already taken nine or 10 tee times for tomorrow," says Coccia. "Everybody's itching to get out there."

According to Penn State's Department of Meteorology, 51.8 inches of snow fell on State College this winter, the highest total since 2003. As a result, grounds crews have had to wait months for the snow and ice to melt before mowing the grass, rolling the greens, and raking the bunkers. Other preparations include removing debris and fallen tree limbs, left behind from the wicked weather. 

Traditionally, Penn State's Blue and White courses open around mid-March, but due to the prolonged winter, they've had to put preparations on hold. However, they're still ahead of last year's schedule, when a late snowstorm pushed the opening back to the first week of April. 

"Mother nature controls when we're open," says Eskey.

While the threat of cold weather still looms, Eskey says he expects to see players showing up tomorrow morning dressed anywhere from shorts and a t-shirt to a full snow suit.

"For anybody who's very hearty and not prone to the cold, we're ready."

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C.J. Doon is a frequent contributor to Onward State and is a former StateCollege.com intern. A Long Island native, Doon is studying print journalism at Penn State.
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