Warm weather allows for a Lethbridge golf course to open, simulators becoming popular

Golfers in Lethbridge are enjoying a few rounds of their favourite sport thanks to warmer weather and new technology.

It may be hard to believe, but just last week southern Alberta was seeing -20 C and snow. Fast-forward a week and some golfers are hitting the links.

“Today, Friday, Jan. 14, we'll be able to have the course open,” said Josh Walker, head professional at Evergreen Golf Centre.

Although the grass is brown and the greens may be slow, Evergreen is taking full advantage of the nice weather.

“Definitely more buzz since the weather finally broke and we're getting some nicer temperatures, people are phoning in for tee times,” said Walker. “It’s nice to see people again.”

Evergreen is open year-round with a heated driving range, but when the sun is shining and there's no snow on the course, golfers can hit the links for nine holes. Staff say golfers are itching to tee off.

“Tee times are booking quite quickly. They're anxious to get back onto the golf course, get outside and enjoy some of the nicer weather,” said Walker.

But, if you don't want to brave the cooler temperatures outside, there is another option to work on your game. Golf simulators have become quite popular over the past few years for golfers hoping to take a few strokes off their scorecard.

“We’ve got a very long off-season even in southern Alberta where our golf season is a little better than most, it's still a long off-season. Being able to swing throughout the winter really gives you the ability to keep your game going so that when you head back out in the spring you don't feel like your starting back over,” said Mike Mulroy, owner of Drop Zone Golf Centre, an indoor golf facility.

Drop Zone Golf Centre has been busy since the beginning of October with every calibre of player coming out to swing a club.

“This is perfect for any golfer with any ability in any level of golf. It's a great place for people to learn when you're just swinging a club for the first time and I’ve got many guys that come in here as scratch golfers that really enjoy the accuracy of the simulator and the ability to play some of the world's best courses,” said Mulroy.

Golfers can choose between approximately 80 different courses.

“We have a course from Cranbrook B.C, we’ve got courses from Montana that people have played from the south. So, it’s really nice to have that variety and the ability to switch it up each time you come in,” explained Mulroy.

Drop Zone has only been open for two seasons, but Mulroy says this winter has already been extremely busy.

“When the weather is nice and the sun shines in the middle of January, even than, people are really anxious to get their golf game going and it’s not surprising that people will take advantage of whatever they can to get outdoors and swing,” said Mulroy. “One of the nice things about an indoor golf centre is you don’t have any variables of weather to worry about.”

Whether it's inside or out, demand for the sport never slows down.

“Especially during the pandemic over the last couple of years people aren't travelling as much, people are looking for things to do and having the golf course open at this time of year gives people an extra thing to do - outside even,” said Walker.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro, Walker and Mulroy say there's no better time to practice then during the winter months.

If you're hoping to get out for a round, tee times will be available until the next snowfall.