West Kootenay golf courses get set to tee off

With the first day of spring upon us, area golfers will be dusting off their woods and irons in preparation for tee off.

With the first day of spring upon us, area golfers will be dusting off their woods and irons in preparation for tee off.

The Birchbank Golf Course will be the first to get in the swing of things this season with the driving range opening on Monday, and the 18-hole course ready for play on Thursday, weather permitting.

“It came through the winter great,” said club pro Dennis Bradley. “We still have some snow on the course, so we’re just moving it around.”

According to the club pros, area golf courses wintered very well, with a deep and persistent ground frost that helped preserve the greens.

“The greens came through spectacular,” said Bradley. “They all are awesome, we had one spot that had some brown on it last week, but it’s already coming back green. Honestly, it’s the best I’ve ever seen it.”

The Birchbank Bistro won’t be far behind the golf course, and will be ready to serve its patrons on Apr. 1. It is also planning an Easter brunch for Apr. 20.

The Castlegar Golf Course isn’t far behind and plans  to open its range at the end of next week with a tentative course opening date set for Apr. 5.

“All our drains have been cleared, and they’re free of ice, so it’s looking great,” said head golf pro Pat Biln. “We’ve had no animal damage, usually we get elk coming through here but nothing so far – knock on wood.”

However, at higher elevations like Champion Lakes in Fruitvale and Redstone Golf Course near Rossland snow is still prevalent and the projected dates for teeing off at those courses will be around mid-April.

Nevertheless, Champion golf pro and manager Kevin Nesbitt says that after snowblowing the greens, he is pleased with the way they wintered, and looks forward to another good season.