Among the objectives of Play Golf Minnesota Week — a joint effort of the Minnesota PGA and the Minnesota Golf Association — is to act as an unofficial start to the serious golf season in Minnesota.

Usually, however, golfers have been on local courses for weeks — or even more than a month in the case of last year — before the program, which begins Saturday, gets underway. This year?

“Our opener is going to actually coincide with the opener,” Tom Ryan, executive director of the MGA, said Tuesday with a chuckle.

Like other Minnesotans, Ryan has been forced to grin and bear an unusually long winter, which has cut into the golf season in a way few remember experiencing.

“It’s as late as I’ve seen it, and I’ve been here for 12 years,” Ryan said. “Talking to people who have been around a lot longer than me, it’s as bad or as close to the latest as it has been. … Last year we were playing in mid-March. Even private clubs last year were having record early starts.”

It’s been nothing of the sort this year, with cold, rain, snow and everything in between keeping most people off of local courses. Ryan said he sneaked in a round two weeks ago during a brief warm-up; otherwise, it’s been nothing but hoping and wishing.

But better times are on the way. With forecast high temperatures in the 70s on Saturday and Sunday, Play Golf Minnesota Week might just be coming at the perfect time.

Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove is putting on a junior girls’ clinic on Sunday, while the Chaska Town Course is hosting a PGA Junior Golf Summit on May 4. Several local courses are offering discounted rounds as part of the week, which will also feature free club fittings and golf lessons, and various fundraising events. Other deals can be found at

“A lot of courses in [the Twin Cities] have started to take tee times for the weekend,” Ryan said. “It won’t be dry. It won’t be primo conditions.”

But it will be warm. And it will be golf.


michael rand