‘Driving’ into Spring

Published 12:12 am Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jimmy Harrelson of Birmingham tries for a bogey on Thursday at Evans Barnes Golf Course. | Kendra Bolling/Star-News

Winter has come and gone, and local residents are anxious to get outside and soak up the warm, spring sun.

Local golfers are saying, “so long” to cold weather and “hello” to greens and tees.

While many golf courses re-open for the springtime, locally, the Evans Barnes course stays open year round

Regardless, local golfers say springtime is the prime time for golfing because the weather is immaculate.

“I play off and on during the weekdays, it’s the best time to come,” said Wayne Harrelson. “Springtime brings the best temperatures. I’ve been golfing for 25 years, and I love to get out and enjoy the time.”

Daphne’s Don Perry, who was at Evans Barnes Thursday, said he golfs “every time he gets a chance.”

“The best time is during the spring weather,” he said.

Perry’s brother-in-law Jimmy Harrelson from Birmingham said he golfs all year, all along.

“I got it bad,” he said. “Spring is the best time, though.”

Heather Ellis, who was practicing her driving skills, said she plays when her husband asks her, but agreed that spring is the best time.

Cody Brannon said he plays every weekend when he’s not working offshore.

Wayne Knox, who is an avid golfer and works part-time at the course, agreed.

“The best time to play is after March 21,” he said. “But we’ve been known to play as soon as the frost wears off.”

Knox and Lewis Jones are part of the old timer’s golf association.

“We play on Mondays and Fridays,” Jones said. “We tee-off at 8:30, but true golfers play all day long.”

The old timer’s have 15-20 members, Jones said.

“We’ll even let the youngsters play, but they have to tee-off on the harder level,” he said.

The men said the city’s course is one of the best courses they play on.

“They’re doing a hell of a job,” they said. “We play a lot of courses and this is definitely one of the best we play.”

And the old timers aren’t the only ones who enjoy playing. On average 25-30 people come during the year, and on peak weekends, 50-100 play.

“It gets us old folks outside,” Jones said. “We walk 5-10 miles in the woods looking for our ball. It’s something for us semi-retired guys to do.”

“We love to be ‘b-s-ing’ with our so-called friends,” Knox said. “We give good, free advice to anyone who wants to play, but not lessons. We want young people to get interested because they’re the future generation of golfers.”

Story and photos by Kendra Bolling