Most golfers have a bucket list of dream courses they want to play: Pebble Beach, Augusta National, TPC Sawgrass, St. Andrews, the Blue Monster at Doral, the list goes on. Now, avid golfers across the U.S. might soon be adding to their lists a course that’s well known to Summit County players.
Last month Golfweek magazine ranked the Breckenridge Golf Club No. 25 on its annual list of top 50 municipal courses.
“They’re in the elite 1 percent,” Bradley S. Klein, editor in charge of the Golfweek’s Best Course ranking program, said explaining the magazine’s evaluation process. “That’s pretty impressive.”
“It’s a real honor,” Breckenridge course pro Erroll Miller said of the award. The Jack Nicklaus-designed course moved up from last year’s No. 34 ranking.
Of roughly 1,300 municipal courses nationwide, the magazine narrowed its list to around 175, Klein said, which were each evaluated by members of an international ratings committee.
Course evaluators focused strictly on the courses, using a list of rating categories that included course layout, condition, quality of hazards, hole variety and memorability. Amenities like the quality of the clubhouse or food and beverage offerings were not considered.
The evaluation culminated with an overall category ranking that Klein described as, “How cool was it to spend four or four and a half hours on the course?”
The list put Breckenridge in the same conversation with a number of courses that regularly appear on the PGA Tour, including three that have either hosted or will host the U.S. Open — Bethpage Black (ranked No. 1), Chambers Bay (No. 2) and Torrey Pines (No. 4).
Klein said it’s part of a growing trend nationwide of public courses closing the gap on their private counterparts.
“Public courses have suffered unfairly,” Klein said. “The standards of municipal golf have gotten a lot higher. It’s a much more professional approach now.”
But for locals like Bevan Hardy who considers Breckenridge his home course, the honor comes as less of a surprise.
“I’ve played a lot of golf,” he said, adding that Breckenridge was easily up there with any course he’d played. “We — as Breckenridge residents — are so fortunate to have this course. Whenever I bring friends, they’re always so impressed.”
Hardy also put a twist on the old saying that describes golf as a good walk spoiled.
“Here it’s still a good walk,” he said of Breckenridge.
Note: While open to public play, Summit County’s other courses — The Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks, Copper Creek and Keystone’s Ranch and River courses — are independently owned and operated, making them ineligible for the list.