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Golf course not open, but it is

 

Mike Higgins, Dick Brockway and Morris "Boozer" Barnaby teamed up for a round of golf at Banks Lake Golf Course Tuesday. While there was a chill in the air, these golfers didn't mind. All are members of the course and play regularly at Banks Lake. - Roger S. Lucas photo

When storm clouds and the chilly winds of winter subside, a strange phenomenon occurs - golfers come out of the woodwork.

They were out in force last Saturday, and officials at Banks Lake Golf Course said Monday that the greens have been mowed and recent rains have helped fairway grasses get their spring color.

The 18-hole, 6,127-yard course isn't officially open.

Grant County Port District 7 officials, who operate the course, refused to offer up an opening date at their last meeting, realizing that any proclamation they would make would be subject to the weather.

The repeated recent days with high temperatures in the 50s have been good starters for area golfers.

While the course is not officially open ... in reality it is.

Port district President James Keene was manning the phones and working at the front desk Monday. Much of the clubhouse work this year will be done by volunteers. Most of the outside work is also done by volunteer workers.

It is the port district's fourth year operating the par-72 course. The first year, the district invested its own money trying to finance a failing golf course. In more recent years, a volunteer policy has been established by the port district.

District commissioners put out a call for volunteers last week. The golf course needs volunteers throughout the operation. Port commissioners are afraid that too much pressure has been placed on too few volunteers.

Keene singled out Jerry Birdwell, who has kept an aging irrigation system going, and said that a newcomer, Kent Hoffmeyer, has volunteered to do a fair amount of the mowing.

"We have heard a lot of good comments on how good the course is looking," Keene added.

Membership has slowly come back, and last season there were 85 paid memberships.

Officially, March 1, has been the course's opening date, and this season it was estimated that it would be sometime in mid-March.

The weather had a different idea.

Yearly membership dues for 2016 are $700 for individual members, couples or families are $800, and junior membership is $100. A slight discount is offered for those who get their dues paid before April 1.

Golf cart storage is $200 annually for gas vehicles or $275 for battery carts.

Green fees this year are $18 for nine holes and $30 for 18 holes. Golf cart rentals are $12 for nine holes and $24 for 18 holes.

Out-of-town memberships, for those who live at least 50 miles from the course, are 50 percent of general membership fees.

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