The snow is melting, the fever is rising and this season's area golf schedule does not disappoint, with tournaments galore for talented juniors, women sluggers and men's U.S. Open hopefuls.
Asked if anybody was at his Laytownsville course, Dave Walker, a pro who helps consolidate the Middle Atlantic PGA scheduled, replied: "Yeah, I've got people out here, but they're ice skating on the pond, not golfing."
Despite rumors that winter will last until July, the MAPGA gets the dimpled ball rolling April 14 at Montclair with the first of a seemingly endless stream fo Monday and Friday pro-ams.
Tommy Smack, the smacker from Caroline, has been the man to beat for the last five years in the MAGPA.
The sectional championship will be held Aug. 28-30 at Ivy Hill In Forest, Va.
The U.S. Open on June 15-18, is scheduled for Cherry Hills in Denver. The last time it was held there, a young Arnold Palmer drove the first green on the final day, two putted for a birdie and went on to win with a final-round 65.
This spring's local U.S. Open 36-hole qualifying will be held May 22 at Manor and Argyle. The final-phase test will be June 6 at Bethesda Country Club, also 36 holes.
Golfers vying for the Women's District championship June 19-23 at lush Congressional are breathing a sigh of relief now that Sue Keeney, who won three of the last four years, has moved to Florida and turned pro. But competition from younger players Amy Geithner, Sally Voss an Vikki Staton may distract veterans' back-swings.
The D.C. Golf Association scheduled begins May 2 with the Steinem Lawrenson Memorial at Woodmont. The District Amateur is slated July 20-23 at Kenwood.
The Middle Atlantic Golf Association tees it up with its senior team championship at Burning Tree on May 16. The leaves will be falling Oct. 5-8 for that section's men's championship at Washington Golf and Country Club.
The Virginia State Golf Association Men's Open will be held locally at Reston Golf and Country Club.
Marty West of Columbia, top-ranked amateur in the area, will lead his club, April 8 through April 23, in the Maryland State Golf Association team matches.
The Maryland Open will held July 10-12 at the tight Manor course and the Maryland Amateur is at Talbot Country Club in Easton, Md.
Snow-haired Frank Emmet begins his 51st year birddogging the "off the streets and on the fairways" area junior program, one of the nation's finest. These youngsters can play and a raft of tournaments allows them to show their style. Jack Skilling, off to University of North Carolina on a golf scholarship next fall, won the Chevy Chase Club men's championship at 14 years of age. Barry MacCarthy of Ireton won the first Bermuda Junior Invitational last year at Port Royal in Southampton, Bermuda. This year's qualifiers receive free food and housing.
For the second year, the active Virginia State Golf Association will hold a tournament for the "in between" group - 34 to 54 years of age. A field to rival the usual 240 for its senior tournament is expected at Hot Springs, Sept 22-24.
The seniors are well represented, with all area golf associations staging championships for the 55-and-over set.
The Free State Seniors Golf Association holds its annual championship Oct. 12-14 at the tricky Robert Trent Jones layout in Ocean Pines, Ocean City, Md.
Now, if the weather will cooperate.