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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Winter hook

When your home lines a golf course, this is the time of hibernation. Snow flocks the greens, as unwelcome to die-hard golfers as premature gray hair. Golf carts sit idle. The clubhouse sign says “closed.”

And yet, there is still life in the area’s golf-course communities – even in the cold months of winter.

Take it from Joe Parker.

Parker, 56, who’s in the auto-repair business, has lived at the Highlands Golf Course in Post Falls since 1994. The daylight basement of his 4,400 square-foot home looks right over the No. 1 green.

When the weather turns cold and the clubhouse shuts down, Parker converts his four-car garage into the neighborhood watering hole.

“The Highlands is unique, kind of like a city within a city,” Parker says. “It’s kind of a close-knit community of people. You’re going to know people on every street on a personal basis.”

A fair number of the residents head south in the winter, in search of plentiful sun and holes-in-one. But many remain in Post Falls, he says.

And from early- to mid-November to sometime in March, Parker bonds with his neighbors by setting up a bar and stereo in his extra-large garage.

“People carry on and chit-chat like at the clubhouse,” he says. “You might have as many as 10 people.”

Neighbor Debbie Cockerill says, “His garage is always open. Everybody knows that.”

Cockerill has lived in the Highlands with her husband, Scott, and two young boys for about four years.

Debbie Cockerill enjoys the calm that winter brings to the golf course community.

“We go into hibernation,” she says. “It’s very quiet. You don’t see anybody. It’s beautiful. It’s like an extension of your own yard. It’s like an undisturbed snow field … It’s just beautiful to look out at.”

For her sons – who know to avoid the greens – the snow-covered field makes a good spot for sledding, she says.

Jace Romine sells real estate for Tomlinson Black but he also lives on The Fairways at West Tererace in Cheney.

“I live here. I work here. I just love it here,” Romine says. “Everything always looks a lot nicer when it’s covered with snow.”

Romine calls golfing his “addiction” and says he’s been playing disc golf. “You can still play that in the snow,” he says.

He likes living on The Fairways, he says, because the course doesn’t have very many trees, which means there’s less frost. And that means the course can open earlier and remain open later in the season, he says.

And when the golfing gods aren’t smiling on him, he can still give his golf cart a workout.

“We’ve got a big six-seater golf cart,” he says. “We pile the kids in and go sledding … .

“We definitely use this community all year round.”