Spring will eventually come to the George Young Recreational Complex and its 18-hole championship course. But late last week, it sure looked like mid winter around the clubhouse.
IRON COUNTY—Where is spring?
Where are the robins?
Where are the dandelions?
Where are the golfers?
They aren’t around here. Again, temperatures stubbornly stayed well below normal last week. The snow pack grudgingly gave ground on a few sunny days, but not much. Iron County temperatures got as high as 46 last week but only after several more nights when lows were below zero.
Last Saturday: another round of wet snow. County residents took one look outside and rolled their eyes. Happy weekend!
As of Monday morning, the forecast highs for Iron River this week were not forecast to rise above 41. The word “snow” was used in five of the next seven days. It’s been over four months (Dec. 3) since we last saw a high in the 50s.
With schools closed last week, many families took advantage of the chance for a quick vacation someplace warm. They came back over the weekend, along with some returning snowbirds, who may have been afraid they would completely miss out on winter while vacationing in warmer places
No need to worry!
April is when snowmobiles get packed away until next winter. (Trail clubs don’t get paid for grooming after April 1.) It’s when Little League tryouts take place and high school teams get ready for track season. All those outdoor sports venues were encased in white last week.
So were the golf courses. You couldn’t even drive to the clubhouse at Iron River Country Club last week. Persistent northwest winds had partially drifted the drive shut.
At George Young Recreational Complex, the parking lots and cart paths were bare and ready for traffic. But with over a foot of unmelted snow on the fairways nearby, nobody is phoning in for tee times.
It’s clearly going to be a few more weeks until the snow is melted and the fairways and greens are ready for action. How are our area’s golfers dealing with this?
A quick, unscientific survey last week showed their mood varies from glum to philosophical.
“There’s nothing you can do about it,” said Randy Jacobs philsophically. “Let ‘er go. It doesn’t bother me either way.
“It’s going to go when it goes. You’ve got to find something to do. I have my camp, and I get to do things like that.”
Dr. R.K. Atanasoff understands how impatient everyone—golfers and non-golfers alike—are getting. “This time of the year, it’s very difficult to keep your sanity,” he said. “Golfers are chomping at the bit to get out there!”
Atanasoff has been biding his time. “I polish my golf clubs up. I look at them. I change my grips. I’m exercising, getting ready for the season.”
But he won’t have to wait as long as most people—he is part of a group of eight who are heading off to Nevada, about 80 miles north of Las Vegas. They have been planning their golfing vacation since last fall. “There’s a little light at the end of the tunnel—because now we have something to look forward to.”
But what if they get back home and the snow hasn’t melted? “Oh, it better melt! Oh!”
Pete Gasperini reported he is “just hanging in there—that’s all we can do.” He is working part-time and catching up on household projects. And his wife, Pam? “She’s not very happy. She can’t wait for the snows to melt.”
This winter, he said, wasn’t too bad—at first. “In January, I still had grass showing in my yard. Then we just got nailed.”
Last year, Gasperini said, Iron River Country Club opened on April 1. “Usually, it’s mid April. A couple years ago, we had to wait till May 1, and this year it’s not looking any better.” His advice to golfers: “Don’t look at the weather map.”
JoAnn Sleeman said she hasn’t been bothered at all by the slow spring—she works at Ski Brule, where skiers delight in the extended winter season.
“It made more work for me, compared to last year! Last year, I lost quite a few weeks at work because we had that warm weather.”
Meanwhile, her husband, Duane Sleeman, said he has been busying himself with “these domestic chores that I put off all winter. I’m just trying to occupy my time so I don’t go nuts!”
The Sleemans got some golf in during a short Florida trip. Last year, they golfed in Eagle River on the last Thursday in March. Their first round in Iron River was the first Thursday in April.
“We’ll be lucky to play in another month the way things are going,” Duane groused. “I know once it turns around, it doesn’t take too long. But I’d be surprised to play in four weeks.”
Still, the women’s club at Iron River Country Club will start getting together during the final week in April—if only to play cards and socialize. The men’s club will likely do the same.
March 2012 brought record warm temperatures to Iron County and much of the Upper Midwest. Iron River had six highs in the 70s. All the snow was gone by the middle of March.
In 2011, the snow was gone by early April. In 2010, mid-March. In 2009, the snowpack was gone by March 22, followed by a big storm in late April.
This spring may be more like 2008, when a 12-inch April Fool’s Day storm increased the snow depth to 18 inches. It had melted down to two before another storm dumped 12 more inches over four days. That year, the snow wasn’t gone for good until April 21.
“It’s coming,” Duane Sleeman said. “The calendar’s on our side, whether the weather or not. We know it’s coming.”