Open for business: Golf course is one of first in area to do so

Published 9:48 am Thursday, April 10, 2014

FREEBORN — Spring is here, the temperature is rising, the snow has melted and golf courses are opening. Oak View Golf Club opened Sunday to play with carts.

Oak View, which has been around since 1969 and is at the intersection of County Roads 8 and 25 about five miles from Manchester, Freeborn and Alden, is traditionally one of the first courses in the state to open. That fact is something the people who work at Oak View pride themselves on, according to manager Matt Hallman.

Hallman, who is entering his eighth season at the course, said work at the course, including sharpening of blades and cleaning of the clubhouse, started up in the beginning of March. Preparation of the course began as the white stuff melted.

Email newsletter signup

“We make sure the equipment is ready to go for when the snow does melt,” Hallman said. “The clubhouse is my part of the job. We do a thorough spring clean and make sure that’s ready to go, along with ordering products.”

Course superintendent Dave Sime tends to let the greens grow out before the winter, which helps cut down the time needed to groom them in spring.

“As soon as the snow is gone we like to open,” Hallman said. “We have the reputation in the area of being one of the earliest courses to open, and even in the state we are one of the first ones to open. That’s because Dave does such a good job preparing in the fall. So as soon as the snow is gone and the frost is out of the ground a little bit, we’ll open up.”

Being open early helps business because golfers are eager to get out and play when there aren’t a lot of options.

“We pride ourselves on getting open early so we can get golfers out there as soon as possible,” Hallman said.

Websites like help inform golfers around the state which courses are open.

“Last year and this year have unusual weather years, but in years prior to that we’ve had players come down from Duluth,” Hallman said. “They drive all the way down here just to play 18 holes or 27 holes of golf on a weekend because we’re one of the first ones open.”

Opening early does mean that golfers will damage the course, which isn’t a big deal to the management at Oak View.

“Sime’s quote is ‘It’ll heal up,’” Hallman said. “It doesn’t take long for a little bit of damage to fairways and green to heal up once the grass becomes not dormant and starts growing.”