Tee Time: Hole 16 at The Raven at Three Peaks in Silverthorne
If you haven’t hit the links yet this summer, you’ve been missing out.Mother Nature brought dry, sunny conditions to all of Summit County this June, giving golfers perfect weather to play early and late through the summer equinox. The heat also turned greens and fairways into whip-fast corridors with little forgiveness, especially if you hit too far from the tee box or rolled too long on the green.But a rash of rainstorms the week after Fourth of July brought much-needed moisture to all of the county’s courses, including Silverthorne’s hometown links: Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks. Lush, green grass could mean a little more forgiveness this month — good news for your handicap — and it also means the fairways are now lined with multi-colored wildflowers that have been dormant through the heat wave. All mountain golf courses are beautiful, but this one is something special.Before visiting Raven ($55 after 4 p.m. for residents), scout the rolling Par 5 on Hole 16, complete with signature elevation changes that make this course so unique — and challenging.Hole 16 | Par 5 601 yards (back tees), 549 yards (ladies tees)When a PGA pro tells you to “grip it and rip it” on a Par 5, you listen. Former Raven Golf Club pro Bud Gazaway wouldn’t play Hole 16 at his home course any other way. There’s a slight right-hand dogleg, he said, but the tee box is nearly in line with the green as you play slightly downhill over a gentle, rolling fairway.“There’s just not much in your way as you drive from the tee box,” he said of the 601-yard Par 5. “The fairway is lined with trees through the middle, but it’s a generous fairway. You just have to grip it and rip it, baby.”It’s a nice change of pace for a mountain Par 5, which usually feature at least one water hazard (think Hole 11) or massive elevation changes with plenty of trees. But, like Gazaway said, Hole 16 is pretty straightforward — a blessing late in the round, when a manageable birdie could mean the difference between a respectable score and a throwaway round.Come autumn, when Raven is usually the only Summit County course still open for a full 18, it only helps that the hole is stunning.“Standing from the 16 tee box, you can see as far north along Highway 9 as you want,” he says. “You get Ute Pass in the distance and all the aspens up close. It’s just a very vibrant vista out there.”Tip sheet Hazards: The green can be tricky. Again, there are hardly any trees or other hazards on the hole, and, like the fairway, the green is large and forgiving (it’s The Raven’s largest at 42 yards long). But it’s multi-tiered and lined on the backside with a large ravine that nearly “drops off the face of the earth,” the pro said.Pro tip: Grip it and rip it, simple enough. Hit long and hard on the approach — Gazaway said you can catch a speed slide down the right center of the fairway to reach the green in two strokes — but be careful when you get close to the pin.Editor’s note: This article originally printed in September 2016.
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