Soldiers Field Memorial Golf Course and driving range at Northern Hills to open Saturday

Mar. 1—ROCHESTER — Golf season is back in swing as Rochester Parks and Recreation plans to open Soldiers Field Memorial Golf Course and Northern Hills Golf Course driving range at noon on Saturday, March 2, 2024.

The clubhouses at Soldiers Field, 244 Soldiers Field SW, and Northern Hills, 4721 West Circle Drive NW, will be open for annual pass sales. Passes can also be purchased online or at the Parks & Recreation office at City Hall, 201 Fourth St. SE, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays

Lead Golf Pro Jeff Gorman said weather conditions provide challenges in opening for the season.

"Each course has different elevations, and exposure to the sun which affects the readiness of the ground for foot and cart traffic," he said in a statement announcing the first openings. "If we move too early, any divot or ball mark on the greens will not recover until June or July. It's not just a matter of the soil being frost free, we need the temps to rise high enough to support turf growth."

Rochester Parks and Recreation staff have been taking advantage of the mild weather to prepare for the opening at each of the city's four municipal golf courses: Eastwood, Soldiers Field, Northern Hills and Hadley Creek. Plans to open the other courses will be announced soon, and courses are expected to close and reopen based on early spring changes in temperature.

Last year the golf courses experienced some needed improvements, including a new entrance road at Northern Hills and updated irrigation systems and Eastwood and Hadley Creek.

"We received a positive response from city leadership to recommendations made during a two-year review of golf operations," Parks and Recreation Director Paul Widman said. "This support has enhanced our ability to meet the expectations of the golf community."

As part of a plan to sustain the four municipal golf courses, fee adjustments were implemented in 2023. The response to the fees and the excellent golfing weather led to a season-end profit of $94,131, nearly double what was projected.

Fees will increase gradually over the next two seasons

to achieve a projected $250,000 in profit by the end of 2025. The plan also includes a $250,000 annual match from the City's general fund to the golf operating and capital budget. The combined investment promises to deliver necessary repairs and improvements and provide a quality experience for golfers.