Mike Zarifis gets ready for his shot from the tee and across the pond at Coyote Run Golf Course on Thursday, Dec. 14. (Marilyn Thomas photos/H-F Chronicle)
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Temperature encourages golfers to hit the links

Mike Zarifis gets ready for his shot from the tee and across the pond at Coyote Run Golf Course on Thursday, Dec. 14. (Marilyn Thomas photos/H-F Chronicle)
Mike Zarifis gets ready for his shot from the tee and across the pond at Coyote Run Golf Course on Thursday, Dec. 14. (Marilyn Thomas photos/H-F Chronicle)

In December, a temperature near 50 degrees is balmy, so golfers continue to play at Coyote Run Golf Course in Flossmoor.

Tom Denklau, golf course manager, said about 50 golfers hit the links on Thursday, Dec. 14, and he expected about the same turnout on Friday, Dec. 15.  The course is open, but Denklau said he and the crew are watching for rain and a drop in temperatures that will keep golfers off the course.

But for those who were out in the sunshine, it was a great day for golf.

“We love climate change,” said golfer Bruno Gawel.  “It really helps us get out here.”

Golfing buddies, from left, Rod McClearn, Ray Bruno, Kerry Adams and Mike Zarifis play golf at least once a week. They enjoyed the warmer than usual December temperatures.
Golfing buddies, from left, Rod McClearn, Ray Bruno, Kerry Adams and Mike Zarifis play golf at least once a week. They enjoyed the warmer than usual December temperatures.

In a report to the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District commissioners, Denklau said in December 2022 golfers played 264 rounds. The course closed Dec. 15.

“(Golf course) Superintendent Phil Knight and I are always looking at forecasts, as December 2019 had us closed from Dec. 15-22, only to reopen and play almost 600 rounds Christmas week.  We appreciate the flexibility in trying to stay open as long as possible, but will never sacrifice a few short-term dollars for longer-term problems,” Denklau noted.

The park district has increased its rates, and this golf season, Coyote Run instituted a “point of sale” that requires a credit card to reserve a specific tee time.

This foursome, from left, Gary Bradford, Ronald Gortawski, Tom Van Otten and Bruno Gawel were enjoying their day at Coyote Run Golf Course on Thursday, Dec. 14
This foursome, from left, Gary Bradford, Ronald Gortawski, Tom Van Otten and Bruno Gawel were enjoying their day at Coyote Run Golf Course on Thursday, Dec. 14

Denklau reported: “We have reduced our no shows to 642 from over 2,000. Many of these are due to the requirement of credit cards for certain prime times. We will continue to learn new ways to use the system during the off-season.”

During the pandemic, golf became a major outdoor activity. The numbers haven’t dropped off. Denklau reported, “Since COVID (in 2020), greens fee revenue has increased 65%.” For the 2023 golf season, green fee revenue increased 9.6% over 2022.

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