'Lot of smiling faces' as golf courses open earlier than ever on P.E.I.

·2 min read
Avondale Golf Course in Vernon River opened April 8 this year. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)
Avondale Golf Course in Vernon River opened April 8 this year. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)

The first birdies, pars and bogeys — and perhaps a few double bogeys — of the season were pencilled in on P.E.I. scorecards this weekend as at least three golf courses opened for business.

Andersons Creek, Avondale and Belfast all reported steady tee-offs Saturday, and Sunday as well despite chillier temperatures.

Several other courses are planning to open in the coming days and weeks.

Ben King, director of golf at Andersons Creek in Stanley Bridge, said it's the earliest start yet for the course.

"Lot of smiling faces that's for sure, " he said. "I think I a lot of people were excited to get out and get back in the golf groove."

Frank Zhou, second from right, and his golfing buddies Qiang Wei, Mingli Wang and Paul Yin played their first round of the season at Avondale on Friday.
Frank Zhou, second from right, and his golfing buddies Qiang Wei, Mingli Wang and Paul Yin played their first round of the season at Avondale on Friday.(Submitted by Fran Zhou)

Last year, Andersons Creek didn't open until May 14 because of COVID-19 restrictions. It normally opens around the end of April, King said.

He said the course is in "exceptional" shape, with no temporary greens.

"I know for a lot of us the off-season can drag on little bit so it's nice to get back in the swing of things and talking to people and just enjoying life again."

Representatives for Avondale and Belfast said their courses are also in excellent condition.

Frank Zhou of Stratford, who usually plays 30 to 50 rounds a year, said he has happy to get an early start to the season Friday at Avondale.

Andersons Creek opened on Saturday, about two weeks earlier than normal.
Andersons Creek opened on Saturday, about two weeks earlier than normal.(Ben King)

"We had a lot of fun on the course," he said. "Because of the pandemic we tried to get on the course ASAP. We can't wait for more courses to open so we can play all of them."

Golfers at Avondale began teeing off April 8, the earliest opening general manager Connor Lea can recall.

Drier than expected

"I've never remembered being open the same weekend as The Masters," he said.

"It was much drier than we expected and the greens rolled much better than we expected for this time of year."

The courses are operating under the same COVID-19 guidelines as last year, with gathering limits and mandatory masks required inside the clubhouses and lounges.

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