Story by SSgt James Richardson on 04/06/2017The magnolias are in full bloom, the grass shines bright green in the sun and a thin layer of neon-yellow pollen coats everything in sight. Ah, yes! It's spring. The time of year when crisp, cool mornings give way to warm, sunny afternoons and weekends allow for the freedom of pastel shirts and a round of 18.
With the spring sun radiating though windows and the calming coverage of the Master's Golf Tournament on television, it's all too easy to get lost with a false sense of warmer times. Even the most weather-hardened person can be tricked into wanting to play a round. However, a quick look outside will remind everyone this is not Augusta, Georgia; we are in Alaska, where spring consists of 15 degree temperatures and the occasional snow-fall.
The seasons in Alaska make it extremely difficult to keep a consistent golf game but Moose Run Golf Course general manager Donald Kramer insists, all is not lost. "Currently, folks can go to Arctic Oasis and use the golf simulator to work on swing memory on the driving range, or even play a round of golf on one of their favorite courses."
In the back of Arctic Oasis, the golf simulator offers golfers the freedom to practice their swing without enduring Alaska's mood swings.
"For the golfer who is out there to improve their game, I would recommend putting it in range mode, hit a few shots then put on your favorite golf course and have fun," Kramer said. "It's one of the better ways to keep your game going during the long winter months."
The golf simulator has been an attractive, easy-to-use luxury for many to keep their game in top form for more than 15 years.
"Simply touch the icon and the system boots up," Karl Croft, Director of Arctic Oasis Community Center said. "Load players, select from 28 different courses, enter playing parameters then touch launch and play away."
It's easy to be skeptical of any simulator, especially ones that gauge athletic ability, but golf simulators are very accurate in measuring every aspect of a golf swing and ball flight.
The thing Croft likes the most about the simulator, is the realism, he said. "You can watch the ball travel and once it lands you get an updated screen that tells you how far you are from the pin, what the slope looks like and the terrain of where your ball landed."
It might be hard to think about golf when JBER just collected upwards of six inches of snow but Kramer would like you to.
"I'm really trying to push squadron events this year, we had a lot of outside tournaments last year but I'd really like to increase the military involvement to help raise money for the various booster clubs," Kramer said. "It's a very fun and easy way to raise money."
Planning an event is stressful to say the least but the staff at Moose Run Golf Course said they try to make it as easy as possible.
"We are glad to assist the tournament director get started, we can help market the event, and find outside players," said Kramer. "If you are motivated, it's easy to have a successful event."
Moose Run Golf Course is expected to open the second week of May. When they do, expect a lot of good changes to the course and clubhouse.
"We are very excited to open this year, we put in a lot of hard work over the winter to increase the overall experience," said Kramer. "We are bringing in golfboards (electronic skateboard with a spot for your golf bag), we rebuilt the website to make it more user-friendly, we now have an Apple and Android app, and we will have a new snack shack."
As the golf world descends upon Augusta, Georgia for the PGA Tour's first major tournament and views of Amen Corner bring a rush of spring fever to the most casual of fans, keep in mind that JBER offers several options to keep golf in your life during the long Alaska winters.