SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Beverly

March 24, 2012

Open fore business

(Continued)

Guy said they played Middleton Golf Course five times in February and have been out twice in Peabody.

"It's unbelievable. I remember (The Meadow) opened about three years ago on March 10, and we played a little then," Guy said. "It was warm, but not this warm. Then, the whole month of April, every other day it rained. We got washed out for about six to eight weeks into May.

"This is unheard of; there's no restrictions on the carts, and we're driving wherever we want to. They said it was going to be full, but nobody was around us today. We didn't get pushed or run up anyone's back."

Olde Salem Greens opened last weekend and had a full parking lot yesterday afternoon.

One of the struggles of opening early is that courses aren't dealing with a full complement of employees. Olde Salem Greens was without a starter yesterday, so golfers were lined up at the first tee waiting their turn.

"It hit us so quickly that we're still trying to get everybody in place. We have a skeleton crew trying to get it all together," Olde Salem Greens golf manager Scott MacDonald said. "Originally, you think the first week or two you go short staff anyway, but when you get 70- to 80-degree weather, you have to have somebody in place quickly."

Much like Beverly Golf & Tennis and The Meadow, Olde Salem Greens is already receiving positive feedback. Course Superintendent Paul Lever did a lot of work to the first hole, cutting back growth and working on the tee box. Golfers have taken notice.

MacDonald, who is in his first year as golf manager at Olde Salem Greens, is excited about the fast start to spring.

"It's a great start to the year," MacDonald said. "With the wetness last spring and the spring before, what a great start to be able to open up and get in this early."

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