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Weather delays golf course openings, leaving region's duffers fore-lorn

Golf season is here. Oh, wait no it's not.

The courses are open -- whoops, closed today. Next week, maybe?

Avid golfers can't help but be teed off at the cold, rainy April, which has led to the schizophrenic openings and delays of golf courses throughout the region.

Kenmore resident Don Flaig, 73, gets season passes to the Sheridan and Brighton golf courses in the Town of Tonawanda every year. After spending the month of March in Florida, he says he returns to the area ready to keep on swinging his clubs.

"I could go tomorrow -- but I can't because of the weather," he said. "You get in a groove, and you're hoping they'd be open now, and they're not."

Some municipal golf courses recently announced delays in openings by another week. Others went ahead and opened a week or two ago, only to find themselves intermittently closing because of soggy greens.

Flaig, who routinely plays a round with two buddies every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, fondly recalled last year's far-more-pleasant April.

"It was a beautiful year for golf," he said.

What a difference a year makes.

In Amherst, Highway Superintendent Robert Anderson said the Audubon Golf Course, the Audubon Par 3 and the Oakwood Golf Course would not open Friday, as originally announced. Instead, they'll open next Friday.

It should be warmer by then, Anderson said, and golfers are less likely to do damage to the recently reconfigured Audubon course.

"All we need is a couple of days of wind and no rain," he said. "It gets that mush layer off the top."

Amherst courses usually open in mid-April, though a week's delay isn't unusual, he said. A two-week delay, however, certainly is.

The Town of Tonawanda golf courses at Sheridan Park and Brighton Park are also delayed in opening. When can golfers grab their bags and head to the fairways?

"God only knows," said Nick Rich, a cashier at the Paddock Chevrolet Golf Dome, which houses the town's indoor driving range. "Last year, we were open already [by this date]."

Many municipal courses are apparently betting that next weekend will be warmer and brighter, even though some precipitation is still expected for much of the coming week.

The Buffalo golf courses run by the Olmsted Parks Conservancy -- in Delaware Park, Cazenovia Park and South Park -- are expected to open next Friday. So is the Beaver Island State Park Golf Course.

Not every course is closed, however.

Some opened a week or two ago, but have been closed intermittently because of wet weather..

The Town of Hamburg Golf Course opened April 15, but has been closed a number of days since then.

The same goes for the 27-hole Deerwood Golf Course in North Tonawanda. It opened two weeks ago but also has been forced to close some days because of uncooperative weather, aid Dick Jaeger, a seasonal employee there.

Even on days when the course has been open, the ground has been too soft to allow golfers to rent carts.

"We're just hoping for some dry weather," he said.