SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Elmwood Golf Course in SIoux Falls opened all 27 holes Friday. Much of the course had been closed because of the wet conditions. Despite a harsh winter followed by spring flooding, golfers have actually been able to hit the links earlier this year than last year. That has the company that runs the public courses in Sioux Falls hopeful for a successful season. We caught up with some early birdies to see what’s driving them to the greens.
Prairie Green golfers like Bob Boone of Sioux Falls had to rely on their long game of patience to get them through a winter layoff from the course.
“I’ve been anticipating this for five, six months, so it’s great,” Boone said
Cold and snow limited early rounds in 2018. Golfers were lucky to get out at all last April. Despite less than ideal weather this spring, business is already picking up. Sioux Falls Golf is seeing a jump in memberships.
“In large part, we’ve created that young executive pass which is 40 and under, that’s been very, very popular,” Justin Arlt of Sioux Falls Golf said.
It’s those under-40 golfers that are a key to the future success of the sport. 23-year-old touring pro Parker Klitzke took up the sport as a boy. But many people his age never grew up with the game.
“I feel that a lot of younger kids don’t really think of golf as the sport they want to play. They all want to play basketball or football because that’s what their friends are doing,” Sioux Falls tour professional Parker Kltizke said.
Many young players simply don’t have the time to spend an afternoon on the course.
“If you’re out here, as quickly as it’s going to be is four hours for 18-holes, that’s a huge time commitment for people and for parents to drop their kids off,” Sioux Falls golfer Will Grevlos said.
Technology is helping speed up the game for Sioux Falls Golf. Each cart is equipped with GPS so they can alert golfers whether or not they need to pick up the pace.
“And so anytime we see a logjam we can get ahead of it and staff run out and pinpoint those areas and keep things moving,” Arlt said.
Sioux Falls Golf hopes to add another club to its bag of technology later this summer with the debut of a free app that allows players to check-in and pay their green fees online.
“So make it simple, make it efficient, make it customer-friendly, that’s the technology available in the golf industry, and we want to be part of,” Arlt said.
The Sanford International also teed-up renewed interest in golf. The afterglow of last fall’s tournament hasn’t faded in the minds of many golfers. They say all those pros putting the golfing spotlight on Sioux Falls have them fired up to play more often this year.
“I think it has a great impact on golfers and those who probably don’t golf as much, but if they go out there and they see the kind of golf that can be played, it inspires you, it does me and I think a majority of people are inspired by that kind of thing, Boone said.
“People of all ages play golf and so having guys of a similar age out there, being able to relate to them in that way and just watching them play, I think is really cool,” Kltizke said.
Weather conditions are often less than ideal this early in the season. But golfers say they can work through the headwinds by focusing on getting the rust off and their game on.
Walk-up golf at Kuehn Park and Elmwood is another way to make golfing more convenient for people on-the-go. For information on golf rates at all three city courses, we have a link to the Sioux Falls Golf website