Mount Massive Golf Course in Leadville: A gem ‘above’ them all
June 24, 2014
For golfers who like to cross things off their bucket lists, Mount Massive Golf Course offers a unique opportunity. At 9,680 feet, the nine-hole course on the outskirts of Leadville is the highest in the nation — that's 1,000 feet of elevation per hole, plus a little extra.
Another asset found at Mount Massive Golf Course is solitude. Fewer than 30 miles from the Interstate 70 turn-off at Copper, the same stunning mountain views as nearby courses are available, but without the crowds and cars.
"It's just a short drive, but a world away from the I-70 corridor," said Craig Stuller, general manager and self-proclaimed "head golf guy" at Mount Massive. "We're it, we're the only thing out here; there aren't any houses or condos or interstates."
Stuller epitomizes the laid-back feel and community atmosphere of the golf course. A member of the Leadville community since 1989, he often introduces himself as "Craig with the golf course" and says he enjoys his job. Community is important at the course, not only for the atmosphere it brings but because the community owns it. It's run by Mount Massive Golf Club Inc., a nonprofit organization with elected one-year members, mostly locals with a few hailing from nearby counties.
Built in the 1930s, the course has been updated and improved over the years, yet always remained in local hands. That is one reason that it lends itself to a more relaxed, familiar atmosphere.
"I think it's a neat thing, because it gives the golf a different flavor," Stuller said.
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Carts are not required on the course and golfers are encouraged to walk the links and enjoy the natural surroundings. It's also open at night and a popular schedule includes playing nine holes in the evening, having dinner at the food and beverage operation (a little grill serving items like green chili) and then playing another round of night ball.
The surrounding scenery is inescapable, adding an extra element to the game.
"Each hole is so unique," Stuller said, that it's hard to pick a favorite. He eventually concedes that No. 6 might be his, "because you're playing right into the face of Mount Massive."
The course hosts a long season, opening around May 1 and continuing through mid-October. It offers lower rates than nearby courses, with discounts available for locals. This year it will be continuing a program started last summer offering a county pass for individuals hailing from the five nearby counties — Summit, Lake, Park, Eagle and Chaffee. More deals throughout the season are announced on Facebook and in an email newsletter.
Stuller emphasizes that while Mount Massive Golf Course is "a little off the beaten path," it's also "a quick, convenient getaway," whether golfers are coming from Vail, Summit or even Denver. It's easy to come up for an evening round, or stay for the weekend and explore the historic town of Leadville.
After the golf season ends, the nearby Nordic center offers cross-country and Nordic skiing. "We don't go away in winter," Stuller said.
More information, such as rates and tee time bookings, can be found online at http://www.mtmassivegolf.com.