The exceptionally warm February weather pushed the opening day for Coyote Run Golf Course up by three weeks. There have been 600 rounds of golf played since Friday.
The original targeted opening date for the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District course was March 10, but Tom Denklau, the course manager, opened the course on Feb. 17.
“The golf course has officially opened for the season and will remain open,” he said, “but based on temperatures during the day and rainfall/snowfall we may be unplayable or walking only.
“We budget for zero rounds in February and have already achieved March’s golf budget in four February days” with more players expected on the course at least through Wednesday when the forecast calls for 70-degree temperatures, Denklau said.
Dave Ward, superintendent of golf, said in his 40 years working at golf courses “there has never been a February like this one.”
“My guess is that the early heavy play should not affect conditions (at Coyote Run) once the turf actually starts growing in April or May,” Ward said. “We were fortunate that besides the warmth, conditions were also dry.
“Our biggest problem was getting all of the work done to make the course playable,” he added, because the park district doesn’t have a full staff for course maintenance at this time of year.
Denklau finds the opening “gets people thinking about golf early in the season: thinking about joining a league, taking a lesson, purchasing new equipment or booking that outing.”
While the opening is helping the bottom line for the course and Wiley’s Grill, the club restaurant, “we’ve had the agreement that we do not want to jeopardize course conditions in the summer for a few unexpected rounds in the winter,” Denklau said.
Those 600 rounds only represent 1.9 percent of the total from last season, he said.