I don’t want to jinx anything, but it looks like the bad winter weather could skip our region.
I hope the golf course pros don’t beat me for that statement.
But when you compare this winter (Nov. 1, 2017 to present day) to last winter (November 2016 to March 1, 2017) it’s been a cakewalk.
Matt Mandell, the head pro at Canyon Lakes, reminded me that his course lost 83 days last winter to bad weather.
“At one point, it was 73 of 76 (days) lost,” said Mandell. “Pretty incredible. Worst I have ever seen in my 40 years in town.”
Joe Creager, the head pro and general manager at Columbia Point Golf Course in Richland, said his course lost 75 days last year.
That’s a lot of winter rounds of golf lost.
“On a normal basis, we see 80 rounds of golf a day if we don’t have a huge delay,” said Mandell, “and maybe 60 (rounds) if frost is an issue.”
Now it hasn’t been that bad this winter. But it’s still been a down season.
“We lost a week this year in between Christmas and New Year’s,” said Creager. “Typically, we lose a week to 21 days.”
Between frost and snow, Mandell says Canyon Lakes has lost 23 days this winter. That was, he says, as many days lost as the entire winter seasons in 2014, ‘15 and ‘16 combined.
“So (in the last two years) we’ve lost almost 100 days of golf to weather,” he said. “It normally takes us 15 years to compile 100 (lost) days total. I hope global warming kicks in soon so we start not losing this much time.”
He’s back ... Well, he’s closer: Chris Isaacson, who was the long-time general manager and head pro at Tri-City Country Club, left in 2015 for Emerald Valley Golf & Resort in Creswell, Ore. Isaacson, a 1978 Kamiakin graduate, spent 2 1/2 years there before becoming the head pro last month at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla. Wine Valley’s first pro, John Thorsnes, has moved to Bend Golf & Country Club.
Zintel Creek update: Clint Ables, the head pro at Zintel Creek Golf Club (formerly Tri-City Country Club) says that the count of golf members is up to 201. That’s in comparison to just 150 in October, so the club is moving in the right direction.
“Good weather will help us these next few months,” said Ables about the club’s effort to bring more golfers in.
According to Randy Stemp, part of the new management team at Zintel Creek, the restaurant remodel is 90 percent done. The restaurant will be open to the public.
“We should start training staff on Feb. 12,” he said. “With luck, we’ll have a soft opening around Feb. 16 for our members, and then have it open to the public a week or so later.”
Former Tri-Cities Fever member Steven Whitehead has the spotlight on him this Super Bowl week. He was featured in a great story by Herald staffer Annie Fowler this week on his personal training with Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (who signed a $52 million extension earlier this season with the Eagles).
Whitehead is at a crossroads on whether to stay in the Tri-Cities and keep working with the area’s youth, or step up into the big time and train more professional athletes than just Jeffery.
But he’s not surprised that he’s getting the chance to work with NFL players.
“We envisioned (working with NFL players) when we first started this (in 2012),” Whitehead said. “We didn’t know how it was going to happen.”
When he says “we” he’s also talking about the trainers who work with him at Elite Ambitions Training in the Richland Y area.
“I wouldn’t have any chance to do what I’m doing without Vaalyn Jackson’s help,” he said. “It just wouldn’t be feasible.”
Whitehead said he loves working with his clients in the Tri-Cities, and for now he’s staying in the area.
“Alshon has asked me to move closer to him a couple of times already,” said Whitehead. “And I’ve said no. But we’re just taking it one day at a time here.”
More Fever stuff: Adam Shackleford is already living in Grand Island, Neb., getting ready for the upcoming Indoor Football League season that begins later this month. But it’ll be the first time in a while “Shack” won’t be a head coach. He’ll be the Nebraska Danger’s assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, working under new head coach Mark Stoute. Shackleford was the Tri-Cities Fever head coach from 2010-15 before moving to Spokane in 2016 to be the Spokane Empire head coach for two seasons before the franchise folded.
He, his wife and two sons have a home in Spokane Valley.
And a third Fever item: Thomas Ford played for the Fever during the team’s run to the National Indoor Football League championship in 2005. The last four years he’s been the head football coach at Stadium High School in Tacoma. Ford was hired last month to be the head coach at Simon Fraser University, where he’ll get to coach former Kamiakin running back Jethro Questad.