Tee Time: Breckenridge Golf Club’s Bragging Beaver Course | SummitDaily.com

Tee Time: Breckenridge Golf Club’s Bragging Beaver Course

Hole 9 on the Beaver Course at Breckenridge Golf Club. The 195-yard Par 3 is the prime canditate for a hole-in-one — if you can pinpoint the tiny green. The club is scheduled to open two courses, the Beaver 9 and Elk 9, by Memorial day. The Bear 9 will open soon after when irrigation work is finished.

There's something slightly intimidating about a Jack Nicklaus course in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

Breckenridge Golf Club is home to 27 holes on three courses, all designed by the golf legend to complement narrow valley corridors and stunning vistas of the nearby Tenmile Range.

Sure, Nicklaus has his name on more than a few of Colorado's most prestigious High Country courses — the Summit Course at Cordillera in Edwards is another prime example of his alpine expertise — but ask head PGA pro Erroll Miller and he'll tell you Breckenridge is special, particularly the Beaver Course.

Built in 1987, the Beaver is one of the club's original Nines, finished just two years after the original Bear Course. The Beaver is easily the narrowest course in Breckenridge, filled with tight, straight fairways lined on both sides by marshy wetlands. Add plenty of bunkers, relatively small greens and, of course, beaver ponds, and it can be an unforgiving Nine for golfers without pinpoint accuracy.

But once the mechanics dialed in, Miller says the course is a hidden gem. And one of the finest examples comes at the very end with Hole 9, itself a hidden gem.

Beaver Hole 9

Recommended Stories For You

Par 3 — 195 yards (men), 120 yards (women)

Why does Erroll love the often-overlooked Hole 9? Two words: bragging rights.

"On any par 3, there's always the opportunity for the hole-in-one," says Erroll, who's been club pro since Bear opened in 1985. "That's one thing I like about it. If you have the pin hunted and the shot in your bag, go for it. Then you have something to brag about for the rest of your life."

Beaver Hole 9 is made for glory shots, or at least glory attempts. The green is large and slightly downhill from the tee box, with hardly any blind spots on the approach.

But an otherwise simple approach is complicated by hazards, including a beaver pond in the front and two bunkers in the back. Miller terms it an "island green" in the mountains — lay it short and you're in the water, play it long and you're in the sand, with very little

And that's not all. Given the hole's location — it sits high over the surrounding valley with gorgeous views of north Tenmile Range — wind is a constant enemy. When playing from the back tees, it can swirl and gust, similar to playing at Augusta National in Georgia.

Yet with the right touch, a hole-in-one is always an option and a birdie is more than manageable. Just be ready to pay up if you can't quite find the middle of the green.

"It's a 9 hole that can be a money hole when there are wagers on the line," Miller says. "You don't just want to throw it away. Play smart, and when there are wagers on the line, play to the middle."

Pro tip: Be careful with club selection. Common knowledge says to club down for an elevation drop, but don't forget the unpredictable wind. Miller throws grass in the air three or four times before his shot to gauge the wind direction and speed.

Beaver Course at Breckenridge Golf Club

What: One of two original Nines at the club, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course is known for narrow fairways lined with thick wetlands

Where: 200 Clubhouse Dr. in Breckenridge (off Tiger Run Road)

Green fees: $43 for nine holes, walking

Phone: 970-453-9104

For reservations, current greens fees and course maps, see the club website at http://www.breckenridgegolfclub.com.