A cold, snowy and wet past two months has not been kind to the weather-dependent sports until this week.
Minor ball and soccer have been limited to indoor practice, while local golf courses have been open sporadically the last two weeks in between rain and snow storms.
However, the slightly warmer and drier weather of the past five days has seen golfers getting out on area courses, something that pleased Rob MacPherson, head pro and general manager at the Ponoka Golf Club.
“This spring has been a lot of hurry up and wait,” he said.
“We have still seen golfers coming out, but golfers will come out more in cool spring temperatures than they will in September or October. It’s better now and everything is running full steam ahead.”
The course has come through the winter in good shape, with MacPherson adding the credit belongs to the course superintendent, and both the pro shop and restaurant — with a new menu — open regular hours.
One highlight for the course is it will play host to the province’s best amateur male golfers on July 18 to 21 at the 2017 Sun Life Financial Alberta Mens Amateur Championship.
“People can come watch the 120 top amateur men in Alberta from 20 to 50 years old, this will include a lot of players who will come back home from U.S. colleges,” he stated.
Kicking off maybe
For Ponoka Minor Soccer, the snow and rain has meant spring has been an epic fail with practices being cancelled or moved to school gyms if the space can be found.
President Rob McArthur hoped the fields could be lined in time for the house league teams to start the season earlier this week.
“Lining is happening frantically and with the start of the season here, it’s putting us under the gun,” he said, adding that work is normally done over two weeks and well in advance of the season.
“Our U10 has to move for at least two weeks as the (Ponoka Elementary) fields are still a swamp. We also still don’t have the thumbs up to use the Lucas Heights pitches for our older teams as it’s too wet.”
That has put pressure on Ponoka’s competitive teams and saw the cancellation of the annual Sunbreaker tournament in Camrose.
“The issue is our competitive teams have not been able to train. There is limited gym space and our teams will be starting the season unprepared for the most part. There is no good substitute for getting out on the pitch when it comes to training,” he stated.
And with the Camrose tournament cancelled, the chance to get rid of any rust was lost and while gym time helps, it doesn’t quite cut it.
“Thankfully, our competitors in other communities are in the same boat, but the need for more gym space in Ponoka is apparent.”
Ponoka Minor Ball is the other organization that has been affected by the wet spring, having to stay indoors practising much longer than normal. It isn’t known when games will begin, but some teams have been able to get out on the diamonds this past week to prepare.