With an unseasonal spring in their steps, golfers took to Valley’s fairways this week, swinging, chipping and putting their hearts out.
Sunshine and gentle breezes inspired golfers to wipe off their spiked shoes, polish up their irons and squeeze in what could be their final warm-weather rounds of the season.
Over at Liberty Lake Golf Course on Wednesday, when the thermometer hit 75 degrees, golfers left their argyle sweaters at home in favor of T-shirts, shorts and, of course, sunglasses. Many turned their faces to the sun and simply smiled.
“It’s too nice a day to waste,” said Linda Warren of Sandpoint, as she pulled the fuzzy cover off her driver.
The avid golfer took the day off from work at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in order to drive a friend to the airport in Spokane. On her way back home, Warren decided to stop at Liberty Lake because she’d never played the course there.
“When we drove into the parking lot and saw all these cars, I said to myself, ‘Aren’t these people supposed to be at work?”’ she said, with a half-smile. “They must be playing hooky or something. I just can’t believe how busy the course is.”
Indeed, Liberty Lake’s tee schedule was jampacked. By 11 a.m., 115 golfers were already making their way through 18 holes. That, said the club’s assistant pro, Kit DeAndre, is very unusual for this time of year. On a normal mid-October weekday, DeAndre said he sees 80 to 85 players during an entire day.
“Obviously, it’s the weather,” he said. “People prefer to play on a day like this rather than when it’s 50 degrees, windy and cold.”
At nearby MeadowWood Golf Course, golfers had an easier time finding tee time slots to fit into.
“For the kind of weather we’re having, we’re not as busy as I thought we’d be,” said assistant pro Dan Schmarr. “At the end of any sports season, people tend to dribble out and they miss the Indian summer weather for golf.”
A little more than 100 people teed off at MeadowWood on Wednesday. Head pro Kaye Walker said he course usually has about 120 golfers on a mid-October weekday.
Richard Bale, a doctor with a family medicine practice on the South Hill, said he doesn’t stop playing until there’s snow on the ground. He, too, took the morning off to enjoy a round of golf.
“It was about as nice as it gets,” he said.
Howard and Joyce Bennett said the round of golf they played would be their last of the season because “hunting season starts next week.”
The South Hill couple searched intently for a time slot at two courses before they found an opening at MeadowWood.
While they were glad to have the opportunity to play, it took an awful lot of swings for the Bennetts and their partners Tom and MaryAnn Walsh to finish the fifth hole.
“Been playing for 40 years and we’re still not good,” said Howard Bennett. “But it sure is a lot of fun.”
Possibly the surest sign of balmy temperatures was the geese sunbathing and taking a last dip in the MeadowWood ponds before heading south.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
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