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Back in the Swing

Bob McCLure follows the flight of his ball at the Downriver Golf Course driving range on Friday. Spokane's four city courses are opening on a staggered schedule; all three county courses will be open by the end of this week. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Bob McCLure follows the flight of his ball at the Downriver Golf Course driving range on Friday. Spokane's four city courses are opening on a staggered schedule; all three county courses will be open by the end of this week. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane golf courses open

A rain-soaked Sunday morning slowed what had been a busy opening weekend for some of the Spokane region’s golf courses.

A moderate winter’s snowfall has given way to clear fairways and greens.

About 160 rounds of golf were played on Friday and again on Saturday at Liberty Lake Golf Course, said assistant golf pro Dave Mallrie.

The anticipated opening day came earlier and the course is in better shape that last year. The course was renovated three years ago and Mallrie said the improvements have been well-received.

“I think folks are really pleased with challenges here now,” he said.

Greens on every hole are permanent and fees for the 2012 season remained the same as last year.

There are a few cart restrictions: Mallrie asks that carts stay on paths while the course is wet.

City of Spokane courses Esmeralda and Downriver opened on Friday, giving golfers a chance to renew their swings in Spokane and dream a bit of summer rather that going on golfing jaunts to the Tri-Cities or Lewiston, where warmer, drier weather often allows year-round play. The course at Prairie Falls in Post Falls is open throughout the winter.

“The tee sheets were pretty full Friday and Saturday,” said Richard Souza at Esmeralda, where rains came down in sheets for a time Sunday morning, disrupting what had been a promising start.

Fees at all four city courses, which also include Indian Canyon and Creek at Qualchan, are going up this year.

The driving range is open at Indian Canyon; however the course wending through the pines and basalt west of downtown needs another week to be in playing shape.

The Creek at Qualchan could be open by mid-week.

Esmeralda has set up three temporary greens for these earliest days of golfing. Holes 11, 12 and 17 are temporary, along with a temporary tee-box on 12, making it a 60-yard pitch-and-putt par 3.

“Overall the course is in pretty good shape,” Souza said.

While Liberty Lake is open, the county’s other courses are opening soon. Hangman Valley is set to open Friday, though its driving range is open now.

And Meadow Wood in Liberty Lake will open Thursday. Its driving range opened Thursday.



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