The long winter is officially over for local golfers. It's time to start slicing, hooking, chipping and putting.
The Palmer Golf Course will open 12 holes Wednesday, with hopes of opening all 18 by Saturday. Wasilla's Settlers Bay Golf Course will open at least nine holes Friday and Palmer's Fishhook Golf Course opened six of its nine holes last weekend.
Palmer, usually the first local 18-hole track to open each season, will allow golfers to hit the first tee on a first-come-first-serve basis at 9 a.m., Wednesday. Green fees will be $15 to play hole Nos. 1 through 7 and 14 through 18. Tee time reservations are available for the weekend.
The recent string of sunny days has been good for the course, said Palmer's director of golf, George Collum III, and course conditions are improving daily. Still, he isn't anticipating all permanent greens being ready immediately.
"We'll have a few temps here and there as we work on things," he said.
There won't be any temporary greens in use at Settlers Bay, where the front nine is sure to be open Friday. It's possible the back nine will be ready as well, said course superintendent Amos Stephens, and that would mean 18 permanent greens in play.
"They'll be mowed on Thursday and they'll be putting on them Friday," Stephens said. "We're pretty proud of the conditions we provide."
Settlers Bay started using bent grass on its greens two years ago, which Stephens said is the key to being able to play on them so early.
"Bent grass is able to handle the winter," he said.
Fishhook manager Skip Pelletier said this winter dumped more snow than he has ever seen on his course, forcing him to open later than ever. He hopes to have all nine holes ready by Friday.
"We're clear," Pelletier said. "The only thing holding me up is mud puddles."
Reach Jeremy Peters at email@example.com or 257-4335.
Charging $15 to play hole Nos. 1 through 7 and 14 through 18. Rates will increase as more holes become available. Visit palmergolfcourse.com for information on regular rates.
Charging regular 18-hole rates of $35 for adults, $30 for seniors and $20 for juniors 17 and younger. Visit settlersbay.com for full list of rates.
Charging $6 for six holes, $10 for 12 holes and $12 for 18 holes. Visit fishhookgolfcourse.com for a full list of rates.