With area golf courses already open for business, or preparing to open, golf enthusiasm is growing fast.
In order to fulfill the insatiable thirst for golf news and knowledge, The Dispatch will feature its Wednesday golf page again this year.
How big is golf in the lakes area?
"We were full (Sunday) night until a quarter to six," said Eagles Landing owner and architect Jim Dahl, who opened the front nine of his course Friday. "Every tee time was full. It was wonderful. When nothing is open up north, all those people are coming down to play that have never been here before."
Eagles Landing, the Vintage at Staples and Crosswoods in Crosslake have already opened. All the courses in the area will be open by the end of this month.
The first golf page will publish May 5. Throughout the season it will feature golf personalities while tackling the latest golf news.
For instance, uncertainty and turmoil have plagued Pine Meadows during the offseason. The golf page will dispel rumors surrounding the course and investigate what's going to happen to the only course actually located in Brainerd or Baxter.
Former Pine Meadows' PGA professional Brian Erickson is the new head professional at the Legacy Courses at Cragun's. The golf page will find out how the transition has gone and the differences he'll encounter going from a member-based, daily fee course to a resort course.
Jake Warwo is the new head professional at the Preserve at Grand View Lodge in Pequot Lakes. We'll learn who Warwo is and what his future plans are.
Warwo, who plays a lot of tournament golf with Ruttger's assistant professional Greg Snow, is still in the apprentice stage of his PGA career. He has worked with Pines PGA professional Eric Peterson for the last few years.
There's new ownership at Mille Lacs Golf Resort. Trent and Bethany Christenson take over for long-time owner R.J. Smiley. We'll learn who the Christensons are and their plans for this season and the future.
The Dispatch again will feature a few of the men's, women's and coed leagues available in the area. It will answer the question why most of the men's leagues are on Thursday nights. It will also help new players find the right league for them.
Golf course growth in the area has stopped for now so in search of new adventures, The Dispatch will venture out of the lakes area. With soaring gas prices, we'll find out which courses are worth the drive and which ones aren't worth the gas.
The future of the business is in junior golf. Mike Stone, general manager at Crosswoods, has an interesting junior league set up for this season. The golf page will talk with him about junior golf and highlight other junior golf programs in the area.
Golf tournaments are a big draw in the lakes area and the golf page will highlight a few of the newer ones in the area. Emily Greens has a Ryder Cup style tournament set up this year. The golf page will feature end of the year tournaments that many courses host, which incorporate the most difficult course setups under the frigid fall weather.
This season again will feature a weekly tip from a pro segment from one of the many area golf professionals. If there's a part of the game that has you baffled or you have an idea for the golf page, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the Masters this weekend and prepare for what should be another great golf season.
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