Playing golf on a frozen lake? And nine-holes at that? Anything is possible, so it seems, as those at Spring Valley State Park east of Pioche enjoy a round of Ice Hole Golf each winter.
This past Saturday was their third annual event. Played with a regular golf club, usually a chipper, players hit a tennis ball down the frozen fairway, then tried to get the ball in the hole cut in ice. Park Ranger Ben Johnson didn’t make it easy either, often putting obstacles at each hole similar to miniature golf. Very high scores at any given hole are the norm.
People came from Las Vegas, Henderson, as well as Lincoln County. Sandy Love and Ken Dohlen from the Vegas area said they came two years ago and had such a fun time they wanted to do it again. “We went to Fire and Ice in Ely the next day and had a great time at both events.” Terri Wray and Jim Glidden, also Vegas residents said, “It’s a hoot to get outside and do a winter sport, as in golf.” Does that mean ice football will come later?
Johnson said they didn’t have the event in 2015 because the ice at Eagle Valley Reservoir was not thick enough. This year it is, averaging between 12-22 inches in most places, a bit less along the shore. “We want to get people out of the house and come out and participate. We even have a pool table on ice, which is kind of unusual because it uses croquet balls and mallets, instead of pool balls and cues.”
He said ice golf is not unique. “Back east they do it quite a bit, especially on the Great Lakes. And I have heard even real golf balls are used, just painted orange. But I think we are the only place in Nevada that has such an event, which is a nine-hole course. I didn’t see any such thing listed online elsewhere.”
Some people come out for the ice fishing. Johnson said they were catching rainbow trout, brown trout, tiger trout, even crawdads for those who might want to fish on the bottom. The reservoir ranges in depth from 16-35 feet.
Twelve-year old Kennedy Keiley of Henderson came up with her family and neighbors to go fishing and later rabbit hunting. It was the first time she had been to Eagle Valley and her dad said “she wouldn’t shut up about coming all week long.”
“I think it’s really cool,” she said. “I did catch one.”
Cody Rutterbush, 11, of Henderson, said he caught five fish, “but we just catch them and release most of them.”
On Sunday, there was a Frisbee golf tournament, a horseshoe contest on the ice and a hole-in-one contest.
Proceeds from the event go toward the free fishing day the state parks have for the kids in June.