Let’s face it, golf equipment isn’t typically a use-it-right-now Christmas present in Maine.

But this year’s weather has been anything but typical, so golfers who were lucky enough to get new clubs on Sunday could have tried them out on Wednesday.

Nonesuch River Golf Club in Scarborough, for instance, sent an email to members Wednesday morning to let them know the club was open, even though there was snow on the ground Tuesday.

“I was gone for a couple of days and thought that was it (for the season), but I came back and it was warm, so we opened,” said Jim Fairbanks, golf professional at the club. “It was soaking wet, but we were open.”

Fairbanks said Nonesuch tends to stretch the golf season in Maine, but December tee times are still a rarity.

“Much of the time, we’re the first golf course to open in Maine and the last to close,” he said. “We kind of pride ourselves on that.”

Fairbanks said frost is the real threat for a course. Golfers walking on grass that’s coated with frost break off blades, and the damage lasts a long time. With Wednesday’s temperatures climbing to the low 50s, that was no problem.

“If the frost goes away and people want to play, we let them play,” Fairbanks said, noting that the course once opened on Jan. 21 during a warm spell nine years ago.

Of course, winter rules apply. That allows a player to move the ball from a bare spot to a little more favorable lie — without taking an unfair advantage, of course.

Fairbanks said he’s pretty easygoing on that score.

“This time of year, you’re just playing golf,” he said. “Tee it up anywhere.”

A few other golf courses were unofficially open.

Robyn Violette, clubhouse manager of the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth, said the course officially closed earlier this month, nearly a month later than normal, but members could have gotten in a couple of holes on Wednesday.

She said the greens have been prepared for winter and are roped off, but the greenskeeper left pins out in the fairways near the greens. That meant members could play — even if their putting will have to wait until the weather warms again.

The forecast suggests that won’t be anytime soon.

Wednesday’s high of 52 was a good 20 degrees above normal but short of the record for the date, 57, set in 1949, said James Brown, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Today’s record is safe as well, Brown said. With a cold front expected to blow in, “we’ll be lucky to get out of the 20s,” he said.

More December-like weather will arrive on Friday, with light snow and temperatures topping out in the mid-30s, although some rain may mix in along the coast, Brown said.

That may make Fairbanks’ job a little more complicated. He said he leans toward opening if the temperature is forecast to rise above 35 degrees or so. But snow on the ground eliminates some of that leeway.

“If it really snows and the snow’s going to stay, that’s when we close,” he said.

 

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