Marquette, Alger County golf courses still covered in snow, not close to opening

MARQUETTE – Mother Nature will have the final say, of course, and she and Old Man Winter haven’t been kind to local golf courses of late.

A survey of links in Marquette and Alger counties shows play won’t be starting any time soon.

Snow still covers all six area courses, but National Weather Service forecasts for the next few days call for temperatures to be in the mid-50s to mid-60s, which should facilitate a snow melt.

A look at the local courses:

Marquette Golf Club

Grounds superintendent Craig Moore said there’s no target date for the MGC to open for the season.

“You can see some grass in the high valleys and peaks, but there’s a foot of snow on the Heritage course and two feet on Greywalls,” he said.

Moore said the courses might open within a couple of weeks after the snow is gone depending how soon they dry out.

“It’ll all depend on how wet they are,” he said, adding MGC might be able to open its driving range next week.

Wawonowin Country Club

General manager Ryan Tunteri estimates there’s “close to two feet” of snow on the ground at the Champion course.

“We’re starting to see some grass in spots, so we’re seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “But we need a miracle to get going and we’re hoping to open the middle of May.

“We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature.”

Tunteri said how much the ground is saturated with water will go a long way in determining when Wawonowin is ready.

“It all depends on how quick it dries out,” he said. “We need a handful of days for the course to dry.”

Tunteri said Wawonowin opened March 26 last year.

Red Fox Run

The Gwinn course is not ready to open anytime soon, general manager Gene Parlato said.

“We still have 2-3 feet of snow. We’re looking (to open) the first or second week of May,” he said. “We’re paying close attention to the (weather) forecasts.

“We know everyone is anxious to start, but we don’t want any damage to the greens.”

Parlato said Red Fox Run has “good drainage,” so warm temperatures and any subsequent snow melt shouldn’t leave standing water on the course.

“Mother Nature’s a big player (in when we start),” Parlato said.

Pictured Rocks Golf Club

Manager Traci Prunick said the Munising course “has more snow than anyone.”

“We’ve got 2-2 1/2 feet on the ground, with drifts of 5-6 feet,” she said. “Not long ago, inside the clubhouse, you couldn’t see the outside through the windows (due to snow cover).”

Prunick said the Pictured Rocks layout is likely two weeks away from seeing any links action.

“We’re hoping for the 10th of May,” she said, adding golf leagues there were supposed to get under this coming Wednesday.

“We opened March 19 last year,” she said. “This year, it’s the winter that just won’t go away.”

NMU Golf Course

The Chocolay Township layout has “lots of snow,” general manager Glen Rochester said. “You can’t walk on the course.”

But he’s hoping to open the driving range and at least nine holes by late next week.

“If we get the (warmer) weather that’s forecast the next few days, it will take 4-5 days to melt the snow,” he said. “Then, it will take 1-2 days to get the greens ready.

“The frost hasn’t left the ground and there will be a pooling of water. We’ll have to wait for the sloppiness to subside.”

Rochester, who said calls are coming in every day as to the availability of the course, added the NMU layout opened March 30 last year.

Gentz’s Homestead

Co-owner Cathy Gentz is hoping to have the course’s driving range open Monday, but is unsure of the opening date for the nine-hole layout itself.

“There’s still a lot of snow,” she said. “On the fairways in the woods, there’s more snow there.

“But it’s going fast, especially with warm temperatures (predicted) this weekend.”

Gentz said the course may be open for walking in mid-May.

“It may be longer for carts, though,” she said, adding she has received a few phone calls about the availability of the course’s driving range.

“Most people know (the situation), though,” she said.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.