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Unseasonably warm weather boosts golf games (Dec 9)

Since Thanksgiving, northern Utah weather has been unseasonably warm, with temperatures hovering in the 30s at night and 50s during the day.

But Todd Brenkman, PGA professional for Ogden City’s El Monte and Mount Ogden golf courses, is not complaining.

“Weather is the number one factor in our business. The nature of the (golf) business is day-to-day. We shut down for snow one day, and fire it up the next,” Brenkman said, noting that near-freezing temperatures usually don’t deter diehard enthusiasts.

“Generally this time of the year, the real avid golfer will play whether it’s 35 degrees or 55,” Brenkman said, noting that those folks tend to hit the course on weekdays. But the recent string of sunny, warm days has increased business on weekends as well, Brenkman added.

Denny DeAgostine hits a few practice putts with his wife Debbie DeAgostine at Schneiter’s Riverside Golf Course. The course was fairly busy for the time of year and the golfers seemed in good spirits to be out enjoying such great weather in December. Photo taken in Riverdale on December 8, 2014.

Steve Fishburn, business recruitment/relationship manager for Ogden City, falls into that “avid golfer” category. His most recent tee time was this past Saturday at the Ogden Golf & Country Club, when the mercury rose to a balmy 58 degrees.

“It was a spectacular day and a great round of golf,” Fishburn said. “And it’s quality golf. You’re not out there in four layers of clothing, it’s shirt-sleeve weather.”

That extended golf season means more golfers but less course maintenance. According to Brenkman, grass on his courses has gone dormant so there’s no need to water.

“But the putting surfaces are great,” Fishburn said. “Normally, this time of the year people are anticipating going to St. George to play golf, But the weather is allowing that revenue to stay here.”

At this point, no one knows whether Christmas will bring snow or more rounds of golf.

Lisa Verzella, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, said that area weather has been in a steady pattern since Thanksgiving.

“Usually by this time it budges, but it’s standing still and delivering warm temperatures,” Verzella said.

Saturday’s 58-degree weather tied with the record high set on Dec. 6, 1987, Verzella said, while last Thursday’s 59-degree high broke the old record of 58 on Dec. 4, 1980.

Lower temperatures and precipitation are expected to arrive this weekend, bringing some snow to the mountains – “Half a foot maybe, to freshen things up.” Verzella said.

Unseasonably warm, dry weather in December can be a mixed bag – allowing for unexpected hours to recreate outdoors, but also raising concerns about snowpack and spring runoff.

“We’ve had dry years in the past, and the spout turns on in January or February, and a few years where very wet Aprils and Mays filled our reservoirs,” Verzella said. “It’s a concern, but there’s not much we can do about it.”

Tommy Webber, also an avid golfer and owner of ERA Skyline Real Estate, acknowledged the area’s need for moisture, but said he’s appreciated the mild weather.

“I’ve had the chance to get a few more rounds in than normal, and I’ve heard from many people how enjoyable it has been to be golfing this time of the year,” Webber said. “If the weather holds up for another couple weeks, I’ll probably try to attempt skiing and golfing in the same day.”

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or cmckitrick@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.

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