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Snowbirds bring life to courses on cloudy days

When bad weather keeps year-round residents away, Timber Oaks pro Suzanne Pace says she can county on seasonal residents to help offset losses.

Suzanne Pace always figures she will lose two to three days of play per month because of inclement weather during the winter months.

The Timber Oaks Golf Club head professional also knows that when the weather becomes too cold or too rainy for year-round residents _ like it did last week and earlier this week _ her clientele often helps prevent what could be larger losses.

"I'm very grateful that our state depends on northern players, because if we had to depend on those of us that have lived here for a while and have become acclimated to the higher temperatures, I would rather be owning a movie theater," Pace said.

Still, when temperatures dropped to the low 50s last week, followed by a cold rain Monday and Tuesday, so did traffic on local golf courses.

Pace estimated a 20 percent decrease in business the last seven days.

"Most of my cancellations were my members who live here and you kind of expect that," she said. "They don't directly affect your daily revenue when you're a semi-public course.

"You get a lot of the hearty ones that do come out and stick it out. You have hot chocolate waiting for them and coffee and you try to have a kettle of soup on for them."

At Seven Springs Golf and Country Club, head professional Steve Purviance said rain usually wipes out about 90 percent of his business and cold weather usually affects 35-40 percent.

"Your sales for the golf shop and the restaurant and lounge, all those peripheral fields, are driven by people coming out to play golf," he said.

"So when they're not here, you feel it everywhere."

FLORIDA GOLF SHOW CHALLENGE: No. 2-seeded Timber Greens (Matt Cote and Devin Dahlgren) trailed No. 3 Seven Springs (Purviance and Mike Glenn) by three with three holes remaining, but ended up winning on the second playoff hole last Wednesday to advance to the finals of the Florida Golf Show Challenge.

Timber Greens will play Westchase in two weeks at Timber Greens Country Club. Westchase (Jon Mansfield, Eric Haus) beat No. 2-seeded Summerfield 2 and 1 to advance to the final.

COMING UP: Timber Oaks will play host to the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division tournament on Feb. 27. The pro-am is expected to draw club professionals from as far away as Sarasota and Orlando.

Scotland Yards will play host to a Rotary Club open scramble on Feb. 19. For more information, call (352) 567-7600.

The Sherman Hills Golf Academy is hosting a school for women with handicaps of 25 or above Feb. 28-March 1.

Marion Walker, the 1996 LPGA professional of the year and head pro at Sherman Hills Golf Course, and Valerie Brown, director of instruction at Sherman Hills, will lead the school. The cost is $300 per person and includes 18 hours of instruction, lunch each day, on-course instruction and range balls. For more information, call (352) 544-0990.

ACES: Saddlebrook resident Dorothy Britton aced the 124-yard 12th hole at Brooksville Golf and Country Club on Jan. 4. By doing so, she became the first person to get a hole-in-one this year at the course. Marty Kollross aced the 108-yard 11th hole at The Links on Jan. 27 using a 9-iron.

_ Kevin Kelly is the Pasco Times golf writer. Got a feature story idea, results or Local Link suggestions? Call (727) 869-6237, send e-mail to kkellysptimes.com, or send a fax to (727) 869-6233.

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