Golf in mid-December, in Buffalo?
Even CBS News has taken notice, sending a news crew to town this week to document the topsy-turvy weather.
“My first guys were out there at 8:10 this morning,” Pam Wisniewski, an attendant at Grover Cleveland Golf Course, said Friday. “They’re thrilled to be doing it, and they come in all bubbly. It’s less than two weeks before Christmas, and they’re golfing.”
“We’re sold out tomorrow and Sunday. It’s nuts, but it’s great for us,” said Ben Catlin, a golf professional working at Buffalo Tournament Club in Lancaster. “People put the clubs away, and now they’re bringing them back out of the garage.”
Local golfers are getting bonus days on the links because the courses are dry due to little rain and no snow. Then add the downright balmy air throughout the region, where temperatures were expected to crest at 58 degrees Friday.
How unusual is that?
The normal high is 37, and the normal low 25, way below the mid-40s expected in the evening, according to the National Weather Service.
Peter Phelps doesn’t recall golf on Dec. 11 in his 24 years at the Pro Shop at Dande Farms Country Club in Akron. Some golfers, he said, played Friday partly for the novelty of it.
Jim Fiske, general manager of Links at Ivy Ridge in Akron, said golfers were excited to get outside at a time when department stores are playing Christmas music.
“It’s almost 60 out there, and they can’t get over the temperature. I’m totally booked,” Fiske said.
The temperature should be even warmer this weekend, said meteorologist Jim Mitchell, with the high expected to reach the 60s. That trend will carry over into Monday, before a strong front brings rain, strong winds and lower temperatures.
Temperatures are expected to cool into the 40s on Tuesday, but rebound Wednesday and Thursday into the 50s, Mitchell said.
That’s not good news for the Niagara Frontier’s ski lodges.
For the past 20 years, Holiday Valley in Ellicottville has averaged opening slopes on Dec. 5. Now, the ski lifts will be lucky to reopen Christmas weekend, said Jane Eshbaugh, director of marketing.
And Holiday Valley’s golf course – the only one in Ellicottville – is not able to capitalize.
Because part of the course is under the ski slopes, it was put away for the winter in anticipation of the ski business. And when that will start is very much a guess.
“We are very patient. When you’re in the ski business, you are an eternal optimist,” Eshbaugh said. “You keep looking at the weather forecast and see if there is any inkling of change.”