You've heard of island greens, such as the famous 17th at the TPC Stadium Course in Florida or the one
at the new Sunbrook Course in St. George. Now we bring you the world's first floating green, which opened this month at a resort course just up the pike in Idaho.The floating green is on the par-3 14th hole at the 6,309-yard Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course, The 14,000-square-foot green is suspended in Lake Coeur d'Alene on plastic and concrete blocks. You can't walk to the green. It is reachable only by a small tug called "Putter."
What really makes the hole unique is the fact that you never know the exact distance to the hole. Below-water tracks allow the tee-to-hole distance to vary from 75 yards to 175 yards.
"We move it from day to day," said assistant pro Clint Sullivan. "We can push it out to 175 for the low handicap groups." Sullivan said there are plenty of lost balls but no more than those island greens or hole with large lakes in front.
If you want to experience the floating green, it doesn't come cheaply. Resort visitors pay $69.50 in greens fees, which covers 18 holes and a cart. The public price is $107. And on June 1, prices will increase to $75 and $115. Oh, and a fore-caddy is provided for each group, presumably to make sure no one gets stuck out on the island green.BAD WEATHER BLUES: Just as lack of snow in the fall kills the ski business, too much snow in the spring does the same to the golf business.
The miserable spring weather is cutting receipts at all the golf courses along the Wasatch Front. Gary Healy, the head pro at Murray Parkway, says his course loses as much as $6,000 a day on days like Saturday when the snow covers the fairways.
"If it's just rain that's a different story, but you can't play in snow," he says.
Healy estimates that he was down $20,000 in March and will be down about $40,000 in April due to the crummy weather. But Healy points out that the courses have become a bit spoiled in recent years when the drought cycle helped create record receipts at the courses.
"It's actually just a little worse than normal this year," Healy said of the wet spring weather.
On the other hand, golf discount houses don't mind the bad weather too much. They get the golfers who have nowhere else to go on Saturdays. "We've been swamped the past two days," said Brad Rayburn, a salesman at Uinta Golf, looking around his crowded store Saturday.NEAR MISS: By finishing in a tie for 26th place at the Masters two weeks ago, Jay Don Blake earned $10,200 after a respectable 74-72-68-71-285 total. Boy what he'd do to have gotten just one shot one back that week.
If Blake had finished at 284 he would have been among the top 24 finishers, which would have guaranteed him a return trip to Augusta next year. Now he'll have to find another way to come back to the one of the most restrictive golf tournaments in the world.
Among the possibilities: stay among the top 30 money-winners this year; win another tournament before next April; finish in the top 16 at the U.S. Open; or finish in the top 8 at the PGA.TOURNEY CORNER: Last week: Ogden's Tom Bashford and Chris Dahlberg won the Nibley Park Best Ball last week for the second consecutive year with a 59. Dave Darby and Ted Hawkins were the net winners with a 53. The Kanab Best Ball winners were Kanazana and Saiki (no first names available), a couple of Japanese students living in the area, who combined for a 135 total.
This week: The Spanish Oaks Open kicks off the local professional season with a pro-am Friday and a 36-hole tournament Saturday and Sunday. The Canyonlands Amateur at Moab Saturday and Sunday as is the Function at the Junction Couples Tournament at Mt. Carmel. The Murray Parkway 2-Man Chicago and Millard County Amateur at Sunset View are Saturday and the Skyway Best Ball is Sunday.STRAY SHOTS: Assuming there's no snow on the ground, the front nine of the Westridge Golf Course in West Valley is scheduled to open Monday . . . The Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation is sponsoring junior golf camps for ages 9 to 17 June 17 through Aug. 16. Each camp is two hours a day for one week. Call 972-7837 for more information . . . Judge Memorial High School is hosting a golf tournament June 17 at Park City Golf Course to raise funds for the school's athletic program. Cost is $95. Contact Sonny Tangaro at 363-8895 . . . The Clubs For Kids Program continues this year at Nibley Park. The course will take any of your old clubs off your hands and cut them down to size to fit younger golfers. On May 25, the clubs will be distributed to needy kids.