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Golfers play final game on Buffalo Valley course

VIDEO: Golfers play final game on Buffalo Valley course

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}Sunday marked the last day that the Buffalo Valley golf course was open for play.UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. -

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}Johnson city commissioners voted in August to close the course at the end of 2017. The city was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year operating the course.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}Nine golfers braved the below freezing temperatures Sunday for one last round on their course.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"We just wanted to play the golf course one last time," long time golfer Joe Avento said.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"I understand why they're doing it, but I played a lot of golf here over the years, learned to play golf here, and it's a little sad," fellow golfer James Pickering said.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}Pickering played at Buffalo Valley for 40 years. For him and his sons, who joined him Sunday, it was a special course.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}Normally golfers avoid cold weather, since it can freeze the ground. But Avento and his friends were determined to play one last game.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"Balls not going to roll as true on the greens,” Pickering said, regarding the cold. “You may get some strange bounces in the fairway, but overall it's not bad."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"We've been known to go out and play in some pretty rotten weather from time to time,” Avento said. “We didn't think that was going to bother us. We are about four holes into this right now, it's not that bad at all. It's 25 degrees. There's no wind, and we're having a good time."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}Avento started playing at Buffalo Valley 30 years ago.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"I remember when I moved here from Wisconsin in 1987, came out here and played a tournament,” Avento said. “I'd never played mountain golf before."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}He said he has improved since then, but this game was not about winning.

{p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"I know everybody wants to play well while we're out here playing, but nobody's getting too upset about a bad shot. We're just trying to have some fun and ring out 2017 with a round at Buffalo Valley."

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