Cordillera returns to the golfing landscape |

Cordillera returns to the golfing landscape

Chris Freud
Special to the Daily

Fazio, Irwin, Nicklaus.

It’s quite the lineup and they’re all in one place.

Welcome to the Club at Cordillera in Edwards and environs.

“I would say that’s a powerful lineup,” Cordillera general manager Mike Henritze said. “That’s out No. 1 competitive advantage as a club. We have three unique, very good golf courses. One’s at 7,000 feet. One’s at 8,000 feet. One’s at 9,000 feet.”

And after the recent real estate slump, Cordillera is back. The Valley Course is already open and the Summit Course is shooting for a June 15 start, weather depending. The original Cordillera course, Mountain, will be closed for maintenance this year although its clubhouse, the Timber Hearth Grille, will be open as will its practice facilities.

But the bigger picture is that Eagle County’s only 54-hole facility is under new management, Troon Prive, the private-club arm of Troon management. For those familiar with the golf industry, Troon is an established company, whose roster of golf courses worldwide is superb.

Henritze himself comes to Cordillera, having worked most recently at The Ridge at Castle Pines and Troon North down in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Tom Fazio-designed Valley Course gets the most play because of its lower altitude, even though the conditions remain pristine. Like most Fazio courses, this is mental game.

Repeat after us, there really is a fairway out there, people.

“When you get out (into the fairway), there is actually quite a bit of space,” Henritze said. “But the golf course looks more difficult from the tee. It’s one of Fazio’s optics. It’s the same as the approaches to the greens. They look tiny, but when you get up there, they’re fine. It’s a course that makes you think.”

The Valley features deep bunkers, beautiful views of Beaver Creek and slick greens.

While it will not be open this season, the Mountain Course should remain on one’s “to-do” list. Hale Irwin is a University of Colorado alumnus and the Buff’s course looks like it.

Many courses in the county use elevation change, primarily big drops and slow climbs, but the Mountain Course uses both sides of the altitude coin. The uphill holes at the Mountain play longer, providing a challenge for all.

“Most golfers struggle to get the ball airborne,” Henritze said. “You can’t get intimidated. Hale Irwin is all about trusting your game. Take an extra club because it’s uphill, but trust it.”

And while, this is like comparing fine vintages of champagne, Cordillera’s Summit Course is one not to be missed. Jack Nicklaus opened the course he designed by hitting a persimmon wood and still broke 70 on his design.

That’s no mean feat.

“The Summit is unique,” Henritze said. “You just don’t have Jack Nicklaus Signature courses at 9,000 feet. The vistas from every tee are phenomenal. The golf course is difficult. Jack Nicklaus courses even in the middle of Florida are tough. But it’s fun to play at 9,000 feet.”

Before you think these three courses are going to give your handicap a beating, keep in mind that they all have multiple sets of tees to provide the proper challenge for golfers of all abilities.

The three courses at Cordillera are a private, but public play is open to guests staying at certain resorts in Vail and Beaver Creek.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.