After a brutally cold winter that seemed as if it would never end, spring may finally be here to stay.
Temperatures reached 60 degrees in early April, which was music to the ears of business owners who depend on warm weather sales and the Milwaukee County Parks Department, which opened its golf courses about a week or two later than in years past.
"We're certainly behind on revenue targets because of the late start to spring, but we will be very busy as demand builds because everyone has been cooped up during the winter," said Milwaukee County Golf Services Manager Chet Hendrickson.
While the weekend of April 5-6 was the first weekend of the year deemed suitable for golfing, Hendrickson said, the more zealous golfers refused to fall victim to Mother Nature's wintry wrath. More than 700 rounds of golf already have been played at Lincoln Golf Course in Glendale, he said.
"Once we get all the snow and water off of the courses, we have golfers champing to get out there by the droves," he said. "If it's in the 30s with no wind, we will get enough golfers where it warrants us being there and opening the clubhouse."
The long winter has been rough on other outdoor hobbyists, like gardeners. Bayside Garden Center's landscape designer Eva Lisa Neske said local green thumbs are eager to get out and dig around in their garden.
"Everyone has been stuck in their house all winter, and I think everyone has had enough of it," she said. "Now that the weather is breaking, they are excited to get out there in the garden."
The five-month hibernation period has been especially hard for those who find happiness in outdoor hobbies.
"We need to do those few things we have that make us happy," said Laurie Groh, a mental health therapist at Shoreside Therapies in Whitefish Bay. "We have a lot of responsibilities in our lives, and without hobbies, that really changes our perspective on our whole life."
In addition to the hibernation mind set, the lack of sunlight during the winter also affects a person's mood – especially if that person is prone to depression.
"This was probably the first year where the winter really had an effect on my clients," Groh said. "My clients with depression felt like they couldn't get to the grocery store or do the things they needed to do. But on the few bright days that we have had, I could see in their eyes that they were happier or more uplifted."
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