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Cold Weather Dampens Spring Fun At Golf Courses

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- For Minnesota's struggling golf industry, spring can't come soon enough.

In a post-Tiger Woods world, with the U.S. losing an estimated 1 million golfers a year, course owners find themselves struggling to compete. Which means the more April tee times, the better.

"Ask anybody and they will tell you -- we will take all the business we can get right now," said Dr. William "Doc" Doebler, owner of Mississippi Dunes Golf Links in Cottage Grove. "Considering how things have been over the past 6-7 years, golf needs every break it can get right now."

That is exactly why Doebler spent days alongside greens-keeping crews earlier this month, clearing snow from greens, tees and bunkers.

Mississippi Dunes also benefits from its soil. Being so close to the river, water drains easily leaving the course relatively dry, sometimes even minutes after a rainfall.

"We work really hard every year to be the first to open and the last to close," Doebler said. "No snow is a really great sight."

Snow is not the only shoveling Doebler has done this year. He spent most of the winter digging, orchestrating changes at the course that has become a hidden gem among golf enthusiasts since opening in 1995.

Doebler has also opened up other streams of revenue, hosting weddings, and private parties. This spring, the course will open up an amphitheater to host concerts.

"If we're going to compete, we have to make this the best course in the Twin Cities," Doebler said. "But we also have to make sure non-golfers have a reason to come and enjoy themselves."

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