As folks celebrate important festivals that herald the arrival of Spring, some thoughts danced a merry tarantella through my mind this Sunday morning. For golf course owners, the first month of the golf season has been a battle. Given the state of droughts in some parts of the world and the wildfires that burn in Texas, the last thing anyone will wish away is rainfall. I was out at Diamond Hawk on Saturday for a meeting and saw the puddles that saturated portions of rough and fairway and empathized with the owners, grounds crew and golf staff.

-This could be one rainy summer, or it could be one filled with golf played over grounds that Superintendents can control, thanks to the healthy rainfall we’ve had thus far;

-It is a buyer’s market in western New York public golf. We have upscale courses to be had for an affordable rate at the right time, the right day. We have old standards that offer a great product with the services that only experts in the field, with years of experience, can offer. And we have municipal courses that provide accessible golf to members of their municipality for a song;

-It’s a Walker Cup year and that means that the game’s best USA amateurs will arrive at Niagara Falls country club in July for the Porter Cup, vying for a spot on the American side. The GB & I force will have been selected before then and USA captain James Holtgrieve will have his eye on a short list of players to round out his squad;

-We can only wish for a repeat of last year’s International Junior Masters at East Aurora country club. Local hero Jon Clark’s triumphant march to the championship should serve as a motivating force for all area junior golfers. The IJM is the pinnacle of competitive junior golf in Buffalo-Niagara and will host a local qualifier in May (visit their site for details.)

-The year’s first two majors brought golf spectators to their feet. Stacy Lewis gathered in her first LPGA victory over 72 holes at the Nabisco Championship, while another South African, Charl Schwartzel, came from unheralded ranks to don the green coat of the Masters champion. While we all like a Tiger conquer from time to time, I think that his run of championships has made many of us want for a true Cinderella story;

-Despite all the equipment purchases we make this year, the answers are still in the dirt. I’ve seen it first-hand, as Chris Whitcomb, The Mouth That Roars, has gone from a frustrated golfer to a capable one, after five lessons with a local pro. There is no substitute for hard work, not white drivers, yellow golf balls, longer tees or a bionic glove.