BY DENNIS CHASE firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Jim Apsey couldn't wait.
The superintendent at Mistwood Golf Course enjoyed the best day of spring Monday, playing a round of golf on the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa's Spruce Run course.
Spruce Run opened Sunday, one of the few northern Michigan courses open for business right now.
"It was great to see the ball fly," he said.
About 25 percent of Mistwood is still snow covered, Apsey said.
"We're hoping to get nine holes open by Friday," he said.
Several area courses are also shooting for a Friday opening. Elmbrook opened Monday, in time to host a high school jamboree.
Tom McGee, director of golf operations at Grand Traverse Resort, said about 60 golfers played Spruce Run on Sunday and more than 70 Monday.
"They (golfers) were chomping at the bit," he said.
Despite a cold, wet spring, McGee said the Resort is only about a week or two behind its typical opening day.
"We got spoiled last year when we opened in March," he said.
Sean Ronan, Terry Whann and Gail Larkin were among those to play Sunday and Monday.
"I played all winter in Florida, but playing your own course is always better," Ronan said. "I live on The Bear. I'm anxious to get on that. That's the course I love."
McGee said The Bear and Wolverine are expected to open Thursday. Spruce Run and the Wolverine will be in play this weekend when the Resort hosts the 36-team Traverse City Tee-Off Invitational.
Golfers called course conditions on Spruce Run "surprisingly" good considering the recent weather.
"It was a little soggy in spots, but real good overall with all the snow and rain we've had," Ronan said.
And the greens?
"The greens are rolling true," Whann said.
Whann was playing once a week in Florida during the winter. She was eagerly awaiting for the Resort courses to open.
"We got back here two weeks ago and we've been itching to play since," she said. "It feels good to be out and in the swing of things again."
Larkin was among those to brave the chilly weather Sunday, so Monday felt that much better.
"What a magnificent day," she said after finishing her round. "It's a good 15 degrees warmer today."
Temperatures soared to nearly 70 degrees.
"I wish I had shorts on, actually," Ronan said.
Dave Scherrer enjoyed the warmth, too, but was feeling some aches and pains. Monday was his first time out.
"I'm a little on the sore side," he admitted.
"The cart path-only thing is tough," Ronan added. "No matter where the cart path was we were always on the other side of the fairway."
"Unfortunately, the ball goes where it wants to," Scherrer said.
Scherrer and Ronan actually closed down the golf season at the Resort last year. They got 10 holes or so in on Dec. 10, even though the courses were officially closed.
"We were the last to play last year and among the first to play this year," Ronan said. "The big question is: When do they open the bar? We have to kill the pain somehow."