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KOTTSICK: Think spring, think golf

I am keeping my golf clubs crossed and hoping for an early start to the golf season.

After the flood of 2011, the city and the golf course have been on a roller coaster. With the help of Minot Junior Golf and the Minot Park District Souris Valley was put back together and the Wee Links was also replanted. Things were back to some normalcy and then bang – the dike work began. We had to revamp a few holes during the construction, but the holes have now been rebuilt and should be better than before. We are shooting for midsummer to open the new holes, and it will be exciting.

The Jack Hoeven Wee Links looks like a war zone, but we have been assured that it will be closed only for the 2019 season. We are hoping those deadlines can be met. During the entire construction I cannot say enough about the support from Dusty Zimmerman and Curtis DeVeny and the rest of the crew, from Ackerman-Estvold Engineering to the tremendous support from the Minot Park District. I would also like to thank our staff at Souris Valley and the Jack Hoeven Wee Links. And we all would like to thank the golfers for sticking with us through the construction. We really do appreciate the loyalty.

If you feel like hitting a few balls before spring, the Minot State Bubble is open on Sunday nights (starting at 7:30 p.m.), and you can hit real golf balls off mats from the 50-yard line to the end zone. Junior golfers can hit balls for free from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is a great thing for golfers to loosen up a little before spring.

More exciting news for Souris Valley this summer; we are going to participate in Youth on Course. We are currently trying to get as many North Dakota courses on board with this great program for kids and courses. Check it out on their website at Youthoncourse.org. If you have any desire to sign up, please get in touch with me at Souris Valley.

Minot Junior Golf will again be sponsoring 50 percent of junior season tickets. Also, juniors can purchase a large bucket of range balls for only $2.

We will also be having our free Saturday morning golf lessons. All of our programs will be posted on the Minot Parks and Rec website before spring.

Lastly, this season there are some new golf rules. Golf is finally starting to wake up, and the United States Golf Association (USGA) is finally trying to make the rules easier and hopefully speed up the pace of play. If you watch golf on television, then you may have noticed that players can now leave the flagstick in the hole when they are on the putting surface. I have been a little shocked to see the best players in the world leave the flagstick in while putting. Well, if it works and speeds up the game at the same time, then that’s great.

I will be covering the new rules in my articles as spring approaches. We will also be hosting a rules seminar at Souris Valley later this spring.

I know its early, but once we start hearing the Masters’ theme song on the television, it’s hard not to start thinking about all those potential birdies.

This is the opinion of Steve Kottsick. He is the Director of Golf for the Souris Valley Golf Course in Minot.

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