Heather Downs Country Club takes advantage of mild winter (so far)

Rare January golf opportunity proves popular with Toledoans
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 7:42 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - To say we’ve had a mild winter in Toledo so far is... well, putting it mildly. Less than 2″ of snow has been officially recorded since December 1st, and with this week’s highs on the warmer side by January standards, Dan Sutton -- PGA Director of Golf at Heather Downs Country Club -- has been a busy man.

“It’s pretty much just a one-man show here in the pro shop -- get your clubs, your range balls and your snacks, then get out and get at it,” says Sutton. “The superintendent’s been keeping the course in good shape with his 1 or 2 guys who come out as needed. The greens have survived -- it’s not like we’ve had 2 feet of snow -- and the ground is barely frozen at this point.”

Nationwide, golf courses saw a nearly 12% surge in popularity for 2020 compared to the year before -- and that includes the shutdown period in different states.

“Last weekend, we had maybe 36, 37 golfers out here, and a lot who came out last week,” Sutton recalls. “As far as the weather cooperating, as long as there’s no snow cover, then the driving range is open, the course is open, for people who just want to get out and have some fun. "

Sutton says they’re taking every precaution for a safe experience at their south Toledo course during the pandemic, from sanitizing carts to minimizing time in the pro shop.

“If you’re not dealing with COVID-19, chances are you’re suffering from the winter blues or cabin fever. Golf is still one of the best games to get out and social distance, have a little fun -- taking separate carts, though family members can ride together. 40 is the new 50... degrees, that is!”

While colder weather is returning this weekend, Sutton says mid-March is their go-to barometer as the tipping point toward spring weather: “There have been years when St. Patrick’s Day was 70-80 degrees, and other years where there was snow. Every day, every week we go through is a day/week closer to spring.”

For now, Toledo golf course owners and players are watching and waiting to see if their good fortune will continue through the second half of the season.

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