OGDEN -- Local golf professionals and course managers credit favorable weather and economic improvement as major reasons why more golfers are hitting the links in Northern Utah.
In a July report issued by the Professional Golfers' Association of America, June 2012 marked the eighth consecutive month that golf rounds increased nationwide when compared with 2011 data.
Utah recorded the second-highest June increase in the country for rounds-played at 12.3 percent.
"The weather year in general for 2012 so far has been about as perfect for golf as you could get," Mount Ogden and El Monte golf course manager and PGA pro Todd Brenkman said. "From spring through fall has been the most perfect weather situation I've ever seen."
Brenkman also pointed out that soggy spring weather in 2010 and 2011 slowed the pace for the season to get started in those years and "it almost felt like we didn't get going until the end of June."
For the calendar year, Brenkman reported that El Monte had seen a 19 percent increase in 9-hole rounds and a 13 percent overall revenue increase while Mount Ogden logged 29 percent revenue growth with a 24 percent increase in rounds played.
"That really helped boost the numbers, because the prior two years were about as bad as they've ever been," Brenkman said.
It's not just sunny days that help pack the links though, Brenkman noted, getting good days at the right time of year (especially when the days are long) has a big impact.
"If you can start golfers as early as six in the morning and run them until 7 p.m. and get 300 nine-hole rounds in a day, that's pretty solid."
Brenkman also points to improvements -- particularly at Mount Ogden -- and new offerings like instructional clinics, family golf nights, date night specials on Fridays and free kids with a paying adult on Thursdays that has also helped boost patronage through a season that is still going strong.
Davis Park PGA pro Brad Stone said his course has seen an eight percent increase over 2011 and anticipates he'll see plenty more golfers take advantage of their fall/winter rates.
"We haven't seen a 12-percent increase," Stone said. "But with the weather being so nice and the economy more people have been out to play."
Stone said starting last Thursday, Davis Park and Valley View golf courses offer an anytime rate through the spring of $29 for 18 holes plus cart.
Davis Park was also in the news recently as Stone's assistant pro Zach Johnson finished at -6, tied for sixth place (with assistant pro Joe Summerhays from Glen Eagle in Syracuse) at the 36th annual PGA Assistant Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
"Not only does Zach take care of his responsibilities here, he's just an accomplished player and we're fortunate to have him," Stone said.
Both Stone and Brenkman are quick to point out that the season is far from over and with all the deals available at local courses there's plenty of incentive to fit in a few rounds before the snow is here to stay.
Brenkman said the two courses (Davis Park and Valley View) he's responsible for closed and re-opened 3-4 times last year from November to February.
"Everything we do in terms of a closing date is determined by weather," Brenk-man said. "This time of year you'll get snowstorms that come through and the snow will melt and we'll re-open. The only time we close is when it snows deep enough that we can't get it back open anytime soon. We'll open whenever it's even remotely playable."