The Vail Valley Golf Report
Courtesy of www.eagleranchgolf.com
May 19, 2009 —
Near record temperatures will welcome this Memorial Day week as river flows are peaking and yes, people are still skiing. Way to go Williams Family (see The O. Report A-Basin blog).
I for one am happy that summer seems to finally be upon us. And with that, golf in the Vail Valley is in full swing.
Vail Golf Club has 10 holes open, while Eagle-Vail Golf Course looks to open all 18 holes by Friday, May 22.
League golf has begun at many courses, including Eagle Ranch, which saw a record 71 competitors play in the first Men's League event. Eagle Ranch Men's League plays every Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m., excluding the Fourth of July holiday.
Ladies League is every Thursday at Eagle Ranch, and ladies wanting to play 18 holes tee off from 8:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. The nine-hole league plays from 4:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. every Thursday.
Finally, Eagle Ranch Golf Club is hosting a Friday Afternoon Club beginning in June, with drink specials along with discounted lessons for those in need.
"It's going to be the hizzie," according to head professional Pascal Begin, who is excited to for F.A.C. -- not only for the drink specials, but also to give a bit of golf knowledge at a lower price.
"Come visit the bar with the best view of the Gore Range," said Director of Golf Jeff Boyer, poking a little fun at counterpart Alice Plain in Vail.
The Eagle Ranch F.A.C. is open to anyone, regardless of golf ability, age, or height.
For more information on any of the activities happening at Eagle Ranch Golf Club, visit www.eagleranchgolf.com or call (970) 328-2882.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend! See you on the lynx.
Courtesy of the Club at Cordillera www.cordillera-vail.com
May 4, 2009 —
Snow showers are visible at the highest peaks as I write, but here on the valley floors spring has sprung. And down-valley golf courses such as Eagle Ranch and Cotton Ranch have seen golfers for the past few weeks.
Eagle-Vail Golf Course has its usual 10 holes open, and the Vail Golf Club opened its driving range this past week. And as snow riders store all things winter, Sonnenalp Golf Club's annual Vail Valley Scratch Match Tournament is just around the corner.
The 9th Annual Scratch Match is a summer-long, match-play tournament for not-so-hacking hackers that's open to anyone in Eagle, Summit, Lake, Routt and Pitkin counties with a USGA handicap index of 12.0 or lower.
The idea is to congregate the Western Slope's best players to compete in a 64-person match-play tournament with the winners moving on and the losers ... well, you know.
Held at one of the Vail Valley's finest courses, Sonnenalp Golf Club, the $90 entry fee gets golfers a qualifying round, first-round play and any subsequent rounds that may follow.
The 2008 Vail Valley Scratch Match saw its first ever full field event with a total of 67 participants.
"The goal for 2009 and the long-term future is to never have under 64 players again," according to George Hart, assistant golf professional and tournament director for the VVSMT.
Past champions include Jaime Olson, Todd Novak, Mitch Perry and reigning Colorado Golf Association Senior Match Play Champion Ken Sady.
Slowly becoming a must-play tournament for the low handicappers in the valley, this year's event looks to be on its way to breaking entry and payout records.
Qualifying dates are Saturday, May 16, and Wednesday, May 20. Both days tee times will begin at 11:30 a.m.
For more information or to sign up, contact the Sonnenalp Golf Club at (970) 477-5372. See you on the lynx (Vail humor).
Photo by Dan Davis realvail.com/ResortGuides/18/The-2008-Vail-golf-guide.html
September 7, 2008 —
Fall is a wonderful time of year in the Valley, kids are in school, the boys of the gridiron are back for another season, and the colors on the scrub brush and aspen trees begin to show.
It’s also a great time to get in discounted golf on some of the state’s best courses. Here in the Vail Valley we have an abundance of golf courses, and with a hot summer trailing behind us, all of them are in great shape. And as summer winds down discounted rates are almost a guarantee at the public courses: Vail, Eagle-Vail, and Eagle Ranch.
Semi-private courses will also open their doors for the remainder of the golf season. Sonnenalp and Cotton Ranch both have specials going on until closing (usually around the end of October) and the best thing is all of these courses are playing their best.
Catching discounted rates on great golf courses only happens in the fall, especially after this past winter. Superintendents have had months of growing time, and greens and fairways are in far better shape than they are in the spring. So I suggest getting out there and spanking whitey around.
My favorite courses to play in the fall are numerous, but with a newborn baby, I have a short leash. If you only play one course in the fall make it Eagle-Vail, that's right, Eagle-Vail. Often not on the top of my list for player friendly courses (lots of hazards and houses) but an autumn gem in the Vail Valley. A friendly staff sends you on your way through the Eagle-Vail housing district (my old HOOD) taking golfers across the Eagle River twice. Elevated tee boxes and water lined fairways await you as golfers finally end up in the Stone Creek drainage area. Holes 15-18 are absolutely magical when the aspen leaves are peaking, almost too bright to look at on the right days.
Vail Golf Club is my second choice for the very same reasons, friendly staff, great rates and an easy course to walk. Holes 13 and 14 butt up against one of the largest aspen groves in the state, and home to great ice climbing in the winter. Don't forget to have a drink at the bar afterwards, it is by far one of the best views in Vail as a large window looks right over the 18th fairway and the Gore Range.
My final choice would be Sonnenalp Golf Club. For me it’s close to home (remember the short leash?) and it’s always in great shape. The greens at Sonnenalp are some of the fastest in the state, and if you can get a tee time after 1 p.m. the rates are cheap.
Also don't forget about our friends in the “banana belt”. Eagle Ranch and Cotton Ranch have great weather in the autumn and both courses stay open a couple of weeks longer than those closer to Vail.
As a side note, don't forget to ask the golf shop when the maintenance crew plans on aerating (punching) the greens, once this process is done, it means it’s close to closing, and time to wax the boards.
For information and phone numbers please visit the link here at realvail.com listed under the golf guide. This guide has phone numbers and web addresses to reach any club in the Valley. Enjoy the best time of year in the Valley, and keep it in the short grass.
July 23, 2008 —
As the "Dog Days" of summer fetch hot temperatures in the Mid-West and Southeastern part of the country, our own Vail Valley begins to prepare for the monsoon season – not exactly the type of monsoons you relate to Southeast Asia, which are known to drop feet of rain in just days, but stormy afternoon weather none the less.
For golfers, the increase in thunderstorms means an increase in lightning. Colorado ranks as one of the top states for lightning strikes and deaths just behind Florida, and afternoon thunderstorms will be the norm for the remainder of the golf season until temperatures decrease in late September.
If you’re like me, the afternoon is the only time to play, but it’s also the time of day when thunderstorms have had time to develop and are ready to explode.
Here are a few tips to keep you out of harm’s way.
1) Ask the staff of the course you are playing what their lightning policy is and if they have a detection system. Some will require you to seek shelter if lightning is near, some will allow you to play at your own risk.
2) If you see lightning and you’re on the golf course, it's time to seek shelter. Lightning can strike from as far as 50 miles away, meaning if it’s close enough to see its close enough to kill.
3) Make a mental note of where the lightning shelters are located on the course as you play. Mountain thunderstorms can move in quickly, so it’s a good idea to have a route to a shelter or the clubhouse.
4) Finally, if you feel the least bit uncomfortable with the weather situation, and your group is willing to take the risk, don't be afraid to stand your ground. Tell your friends there is always another day to play golf, testing God's will with a metal club in your hand can spell disaster, besides, most of the storms that roll through will be gone within the hour, just stock up on beer and wait it out.
Also, the National Weather Service has an experimental "lightning potential index" that will give readers an idea of the threat of lightning for a 36 hour period, check it out at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/gjt/?n=lightningpotentialindex.
Keep it in the short grass.