Tee Time: The Raven Golf Course in Silverthorne, Colorado
July 6, 2016
The Raven at Three Peaks
What: An 18 hole course (Par 72) on the north end of Silverthorne, originally built in the late ‘80s and redesigned in 2001 to highlight natural hazards, relatively forgiving fairways and stunning views of the surrounding peaks
Where: 2929 Golden Eagle Rd. in Silverthorne
Green fees: $55 and up (Summit resident), $79 and up (non-resident)
All green fees include a cart and access to the on-site practice facilities. For reservations, current greens fees and course maps, see the club website at http://www.ravenatthreepeaks.com
At The Raven, birdies and eagles and even ravens are just about as common as moose and bears.
Sure, it's a cheesy golf pun, and sure, any mountain course comes with the promise of an occasional wildlife sighting. But at Silverthorne's sole golf club, the fairways and greens butt up against the edge of Eagles Nest Wilderness, an untouched slice of Summit County where local animals tend to settle.
That is, until they curiously wander down to the front and back nines. And they do so often, head PGA pro Bud Gazaway says, particularly early and late in the season.
At Par 72, the club (known officially as The Raven at Three Peaks) is straightforward in terms of par and distance. The course was built in the late '80s and revamped in 2001 to highlight the natural surroundings and, of course, give golfers a challenge on par with neighboring courses. (Another bad pun.)
Like wildlife, Hole 15 is often overlooked — the next three holes are considered the club's toughest — but if you manage to play it just right, you'll be bragging about a gorgeous approach and finish for weeks to come.
Stats: Par 4 — 415 yards (back tees), 329 yards (men), 247 yards (women)
Hole 15 may get overlooked, but it's one of Gazaway's all-time favorites for a simple reason: Just about anyone can play it like a pro.
The hole features a slight dogleg to the left, with very little elevation change from the tee box and only a slight uphill to the green. It's on the short end of the Par 4 spectrum, but between bunkers to the right and trees to the left, it demands a precision drive.
After navigating the early hazards, the fairway opens up for a clear shot at the large, oblong green. Behind the green is a large hill, and that's the key to notching a late-round birdie. Gazaway plays into the hill, PGA Tour-style, then lets gravity and geography do the rest.
"This isn't a difficult hole or the most picturesque, but it's one that everyone enjoys playing," Gazaway says. "That's really the start of the finish on the course, and I think the hole was beautifully made to set up our final three."
The trick to the approach? Club up slightly and aim directly for the hill. With the right touch, Gazaway says the ball rolls back to the pin and sticks on the green for a shoe-in birdie.
Hazards: Be wary of fairway bunkers from the tee. There's also a small creek running directly in front of the green.
Pro tip: The tee shot is critical for setting up a birdie approach. "If I were to explain this as a caddie, I'd say aim at the bunkers, hit a little draw for the middle-left of the fairway, then aim at the pin," Gazaway says. "Hit your ball at the hill behind the green and watch it come right back to the hole."
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