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Wed., Aug. 27
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Golfers take advantage of warm, dry spring

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In years past, playing 18 holes of golf at this time of year was impossible.

Courses were covered in snow, or, as was the case last year, were too wet.

“Last year, the ground was so soupy, if you hit the ball too high, you’d lose your ball when it hit the ground,” said Richard N. Oman, who, with his wife, Margot R., were preparing to tee off on the first hole of Ives Hill Country Club.

Not this year. At 53 degrees and sunny, the Easter Sunday weather provided just the opportunity for some golf enthusiasts like the Omans to play nine or 18 holes, strapping on golf shoes to traverse the fairways, instead of snowshoes.

Mr. Oman and his wife said they started playing in March, a particularly early beginning to the golf season. The dry spring has kept their shoes from getting soggy — and has also meant that putts on the green are much faster.

The unusually warm and dry weather this spring has caused problems for ski areas and raised risks of fires, but it has allowed golf courses to open about a month earlier than usual. Courses are usually just opening up at this time of year, with workers taking seven to 10 days to rake long fairways and bunkers and clear up the damage that winter causes.

“It’s really nice to have this weather,” said Christopher A. Bigenho, the golf shop manager at the Watertown Golf Club in Thompson Park. “I’m hoping it stays. In the north country, you never know.”

Mr. Bigenho said the course did brisk business on Saturday, and was doing well for Easter. The course is usually jammed on Father’s Day and deserted on Mother’s Day; on Easter, Mr. Bigenho said, you never know.

John E. Brehm was playing his first nine holes of the season — the earliest start he can recall in quite some time. He had modest hopes for his first round, but he agreed that it was just good to get out so early.

“It’s a little bonus,” Mr. Brehm said.

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