Southwest Nova Scotia golfers anxious to get onto the courses, but long winter delaying season

Tina Comeau
Published on April 6, 2015

YARMOUTH – Below all that white are greens, which has had many avid golfers champing at the bit.

On the West Pubnico Golf and Country Club’s website is a countdown – ticking down the days, hours, minutes and seconds – as to when the course will open (although that countdown is still open to ongoing assessment.) While the course has been aiming to open this week, the opening has been delayed compared to previous years.

“The last few years we’ve been opened anywhere from the 10th to the 15th of March,” said general manager Ken Jacquard. “This year we’re a month behind.”

In past years the West Pubnico golf course has prided itself on being the first course in the province to open. But while the calendar says spring, the course has said otherwise, given the winter’s snowfalls.

“We haven’t been able to install all of our signs and flags and tee-off markers and all that stuff,” Jacquard said last week. “We are starting to get the equipment ready…so that’ll all be ready by the time the snow is gone.”

He says there is concern about the impact the winter has had on the greens, but it isn’t the snow that’s the problem.

“Underneath all of this snow is a sheet of ice and that is not good. That can suffocate the grass and then it takes a while to get it back.”

Years ago the golf course opened in April, but in recent years it has opened in March. Winter-weary golfers are eager to get going.

“The phone is ringing off the wall,” said Jacquard. Aside from sun to melt the snow, Jacquard said they have another ace in the hole that could help things along.

“We found the best thing you can use is good old-fashioned southwest Nova Scotia fog,” he said. “One of these days it’ll be plus 10 and fog and things will be gone.”

At the Yarmouth Links, Lynn Doucette is banking on sunshine and warmer temperatures to allow the season to start.

“We pretty well have no snow left on our golf course,” she said on April 1. “We have a lot of water because it’s melting, but it’s melting the correct way. It’s melting with the sun and slowly. We’re probably a month behind but we will probably be open within the next three weeks.”

It is the frost in the ground that they need to contend with, she said.

“Basically we’re in a holding pattern until the frost is out of the ground,” Doucette said.

She has walked the course and has been keeping an eye on how things are progressing.

“They may have to shovel some snow because we’re going to get some really wet greens if we don’t because there are still some huge banks in certain spots, but a lot of it is wide open right now.”

Both courses in Yarmouth County are faring better than in other parts of the province, where they had heavier dumpings of snow.

The Digby Pines pulled out a snowblower to clean the greens.

And in P.E.I.? Well, that’s another story.

While they’ve set some tentative start dates for the Yarmouth Links to open, they haven’t specifically pinpointed one yet, although people keep inquiring, Doucette said.

“I get people asking me that question everyday,” she said. “If I knew I’d go out and buy a lotto ticket.”