Soggy summer bad for crops, okay for mini golf


by Trevor Greenway on July 22, 2009

July 22, 2009 – With all the rain we have been having as of late in Wakefield and Chelsea, Quebec, some area business aren’t doing as well as normal, but the owners say it’s par for the course and that they have to make the best of it.


July 22 front page

Pierre Wistaff of Dunderosa Golf Club in Chelsea said that while his golf numbers are suffering quite a bit, his mini golf numbers are spiking.

“Last Saturday there were more than 400 people who played mini golf,” said Wistaff, referring to July 11, which forecasted isolated showers throughout the day. The mini golf doesn’t get affected by the weather like golf does.”

Wistaff said that it’s not so much of the weather that causes people to avoid making tee times, but it’s the forecast. He added that when the forecast calls for a rainy day, he sees a major drop in tee time numbers.

“When calling for rain, the numbers drop 60 or 70 per cent,” he said.” It’s very drastic.”

Wistaff said that his whole business on the golf side relies heavily on the forecast, but he added that if the projected temperatures are wrong, people still fulfill their reservations.

“If they are calling for a beautiful day, we have lots of reservations,” said Wistaff. “And if it turns out to be miserable, they still show up.”

His new mini golf course, which opened in May of this year, has been constantly swamped, despite rain and cold temperatures and he says it’s all because of the time factor.

“When you come here it takes an hour on average,” he said.

“It’s not like a full game of golf where you are out for three or four hours.”

Daniel Demay, employee at Dundee’s mini golf said that he has seen kids play in the full-blown rain before and they finished their game.

“I have seen groups of kids soaking wet and they still play,” he said.” Even if the course is wet, they can still play because it’s not real grass.”

Marie Claude Beaudoin and her daughter Laurie of Gatineau checked out the forecast before they decided to go mini golfing and even though it was projecting isolated showers throughout the afternoon, they decided to take a chance and squeak a quick mini golf game in.

“We decided to come to spend a little time in the sun before the rain comes,” said Marie Claude.

Golf is not the only business taking a hit, but farmers are starting to get a bit worried for several reasons. Neil Woods of Woods Farms in Lacelles said that his gardens are about two weeks behind where they should be, not because of rain, but because of cool temperatures during the day.

“My lettuce is staying too wet and rotting,” said Woods.

Although some of his crops aren’t doing so well, he did say that the cooler temperatures are great for herbs and other vegetables in his garden.

“My garlic is doing really well,” he said.” And the sugar snap peas are staying longer in production.”

Being two weeks behind in his garden might also have something to do with an early June hailstorm that ripped through his garden.

“We lost 25 per cent of our garden,” he said. “But there’s not much you can do about it.”

Woods’ zucchini and squash plants were completely destroyed by the storm, but he feels it’s all part of the game.

Woods is also starting to get a bit worried about his hay, but he is still in better shape than he was last year, as he has already cut 150 bales of hay.

According to Environment Canada, the average temperature for June in Chelsea was 18 C with 86.2 mm of rain. The average temperature for July so far has been 20.7 C with 92.1 mm of rain that has fallen so far. Next week’s forecast look like more rain is coming with temperatures around 22 or 23 C.