Golfers 'out in droves' as mild December weather hits Ottawa, Gatineau

At least five golf courses remain open in Ottawa-Gatineau as December temperatures continue to hover above the 0 C mark.

As temperatures hover above 0 C, at least 5 local courses remain open

A golfer tees off at the Kingsway Park Golf and Country Club in Gatineau on Dec. 5, 2015. Mild weather has meant the golf season in the nation's capital has lasted much longer than normal. (CBC Ottawa)

Mark Tite has golfed for more than four decades, but he's never stepped onto an Ottawa fairway this late in the season.

"I thought I'd beat a record last week by playing on the 27th of November," said Tite, who was out playing a round Saturday at Ottawa's Pine View Golf Course.

"But this is by far the latest in the season that I've ever played. And from what I understand, we might be playing next week as well."

Unseasonably warm temperatures across eastern and southern Ontario this fall have extended the golf season into December for the first time in years.

Sunday's high for Ottawa was 7 C, with the forecast calling for above-zero temperatures for the rest of the week.

Ottawa golfer Mark Tite says he's played the sport for 42 years but he's never hit the links this late in the year before. (CBC Ottawa)

At least five courses in Ottawa remain open — and for those that have kept the greens and fairways in playable condition, business has been brisk.

About 200 golfers packed Pine View's course on Saturday, vying for fewer-than-normal tee times since the sun rises much later and sets much earlier in December than in the summer, said course owner Don Costello.

Golfers 'coming out in droves'

"I guess it's a question of supply and demand, and there's very little supply at the moment," said Costello. "But we're open and we're entertaining golfers, and they're coming out in droves."

According to Club Executive Golf, which arranges golfing excursions around the Ottawa-Gatineau region, at least four other local golf courses remain open:

  • Kingsway Park Golf and Country Club 
  • Champlain Golf Club
  • Falcon Ridge Golf Club (both their nine-hole and 18-hole courses)

Golfing in December does pose a few challenges, says Tite. For one, he always keeps a softer "compression" golf ball in his pocket so it stays warm and flies farther. 

Tite also says he's been bringing his clubs into the house to keep them from getting too cold. But even if the greens do remain green, golfing in single digit temperatures still isn't the same as teeing off on a balmy summer day.

"You're usually hitting 10-15 yards less," says Tite. "And that's with no wind."


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