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Local golf courses anticipate busy season

It’s time to spruce up those golf clubs.

Local golf courses and driving ranges are anticipating another busy season, with some already open and others just about to welcome the first rounds of the season.

Zdravka Galic, co-owner of Glen Lovat Golf Club in New Glasgow, says new and old members have already joined and the course was in good shape leading up to their April 20 opening.

“We have over 200 members already signed up,” she said. “Last year we had close to 300 members. Many of our regular members, when they come out for their first time, they join then. So far, we have close to 20 new members, but they’re calling every day, including juniors.”

The course usually caps membership at around 300 to allow those wishing to purchase green fees.

“Last year was a busy season because (golf) was one of the only things allowed, so we’re hoping the same for this year, too,” she said.

It was much the same at Abercrombie Country Club, which has April 26 as its season opening.

Jonathan Garron, the club’s director of golf, said Abercrombie’s membership is up by about 75 members for this season.

“Last year was our busiest year in quite some time, with 10,000 more rounds,” said Garron. “We did a little over 20,000 the year before, and we did more than 30,000 last year. We weren’t even allowed to open until May 16.”

He anticipates the season to be just as busy this year, especially with the opening being three weeks earlier than the previous season.

“Everyone seems to have the golf bug. Our simulator was busy all winter, from February on, and people have been fitted for clubs and (are) wanting lessons.”

Last year, Abercrombie saw 474 members, with this year accommodating 535 already. About 135 of those members are new to the club this year — a mix from juniors to seniors — and many of which aren’t local.

“A lot are retired or being come-from-aways,” said the director.

He says the interest in the sport has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic because “it’s one activity people can enjoy outside all summer. I think that’s a real positive for golf in general.”

Garron says there are a few people on a waiting list for memberships the club is trying to accommodate, without taking too much away from those who want to play without a membership.

He says the waiting list doesn’t pertain to junior members, or those who may want to join the ladies social clinics introduced over the last couple of years.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve said (our memberships) have been capped. We know it’s going to be jam packed this year.”

When it comes to the grounds, Garron says it’s the “best” the club’s superintendent has “ever seen in winter.”

Tom Brady, with Mount William Golf in Westville, said the driving range opened at the end of March, with the par 3 course just set to open.

“When the sun is out, we’re really busy,” Brady said about the range. “There are times when we’ve been full, but there’s never a long wait.”

The golf course was given a fresh mow in anticipation of opening.

“Things are looking pretty good. With the wind we’ve had, things have dried up quite a bit.”

With close to two dozen memberships sold just before the par 3 opened, Brady said he expects to see around 150 members for the season, which is similar to last year.