In Alaska, Golf Beats The Iditarod

The Iditarod—Alaska’s famous, 1,000-plus-mile sled-dog race—began this past weekend. Not big news, since the race is always run in early March. But this year, it started one day after the opening of the 49th state’s golf season.

Palmer Golf Course in Anchorage, usually the first course to open in state, opened seven holes on Friday, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. That’s two-and-a-half weeks earlier than last year’s opening, which was the earliest in history until now. “We’ve been open in January and February before, but only for a day or two,” said George Collum, the director of golf.

This past February, Anchorage temperatures reached the upper 40s, 15-20 degrees warmer than usual; on January 2nd, when the historical average is 23, the thermometer read 46. Golfers shouldn’t expect temps above 40 for the next few weeks—if you believe the weatherman—but die-hards are expected to take advantage of the slightly warmer than average readings. “If the weather keeps going, we could open all 18 holes next week,” said Collum. By the way, when the Iditarod started, it did so on snow that had been trucked in from further north.