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Mild enough for golf? Hitting the links in January

Hitting the links in January
Hitting the links in January

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

January 6, 2012 — An unseasonably mild winter so far in parts of Canada has some people enjoying an unexpected golf season.

An extended golf season in parts of Canada
An extended golf season in parts of Canada

The calendar says 'January,' but this year many outdoor enthusiasts are trading in their skis for a set of golf clubs.

“I may cancel my trip to Florida now that the weather's like this,” joked one golfer at Deerfield Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario Friday afternoon. “This is unbelievable. I've lived in this country 56 years and this is the first time I've ever seen weather like this in January. It's amazing.”

Temperatures have been unseasonably mild in parts of southern Ontario and Quebec so far this winter. There has also been far less snow than usual.

Winter has been struggling to make an appearance in parts of western Canada, as well. Many cities were hitting record temperature highs this week. On Wednesday, Calgary soared all the way to 15°C.

In parts of British Columbia, it's not unusual for golfers to be hitting the links at this time of year. Still, even this year's mild conditions have been out of the ordinary.

“We cut the greens yesterday. We cut the tees, aprons were cut, so for January this is pretty unusual for us,” says Phil Bunting of the University Golf Course in Vancouver. “Normally we'll have frostier conditions in the morning. The past few years we've probably had a little snow on the course. This year looks like it's going to be fairly mild.”

A busy December fairway in Elgin, ON
A busy December fairway in Elgin, ON

While the course remains open for most of the year, Bunting admits that winter usually interrupts at some point.

“It's a long season. I mean, we still have to maintain it twelve months of the year. I think if you had snow cover for a few months, at least you'd get a little bit of a break,” he says. “No matter what the weather throws at us, we're still trying to make it so that if somebody shows up, that they have the best conditions we can offer for that day.”

And depending where you are, you may be able to take part in many different kinds of outdoor activities this month.

“It's just great out here. You get a day like this in January and you get out on the links and hit a few balls around, there's nothing better!” said an enthusiast on the course in Oakville. “I was actually skiing yesterday! So skiing yesterday, golfing today.”

For an idea of what to expect on the slopes or the fairways, be sure to check The Weather Network's Ski Report and Golf Report.

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