'Anxious to get started': Golfers enjoy early start to season in Minnesota

A golfer prepares to take a swing at a driving range.
Tim Kunz of Roseville brought his son Curtis to Island Lake Golf Course in Shoreview to take advantage of the earlier than usual opening for this year’s golf season on Sunday.
Nicole Ki | MPR News

Rich Andersen is prepping the grounds at the Island Lake Golf Course in Shoreview a month earlier than expected.

He’s been the grounds superintendent for about 30 years. The typical time to open for golfing season is sometime in April, but Andersen said the Shoreview course opened last weekend.

“We were pretty much full most of the day on both days,” he said. “So it was a lot of people who are super excited to be out. A lot of people in short pants and, I don't know that it was that warm for me to wear shorts, but it was very, very busy here last weekend.”

Early Sunday morning, Anderson was tinkering with golf carts and machinery ahead of the first golfer’s tee time. In the days and weeks ahead, he’d love to see rain.

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“All we want it to do is to thaw out enough so that the turf isn't frozen,” he said. “So that's what we're waiting for, for it to warm up enough in the next five days.”

A son and father stand near a golfing drive with equipment.
Tim Kunz of Roseville poses with his son Curtis for a photo at Island Lake Golf Course in Shoreview on Sunday.
Nicole Ki | MPR News

Just before noon, a handful of golfers like Tom Kunz of Roseville and his school-aged son Curtis showed up to get their tee-time in. For them, golfing is a father-son activity. Last year, Kunz was shoveling snow around this time.

“I'm a diehard golfer and to be able to play in January, February, March is unheard of,” Kunz said. “I mean, this is like a once in a lifetime opportunity. So that's why we're out here and we love the sport. Love the game.”

Others, like Jesse Moore of Robbinsdale, were trying out the golf course for the first time. He brought his friend, Grant Keeley, who was playing for the first time this year.

They were both excited to be out and wanted to take advantage of the warm weather.

“The weather is just crazy,” Moore said. “It's not something you see in Minnesota here.”

A man stands ready to swing a ball.
Grant Keeley and his friend, Jesse Moore, putt golf balls at the Island Lake Golf Course in Shoreview on Sunday.
Nicole Ki | MPR News