Summit County golf courses see unprecedented demand during summer of COVID-19 |

Summit County golf courses see unprecedented demand during summer of COVID-19

Copper Creek golf pro Zach Dobrota plays at the 18-hole golf course at Copper Mountain Resort earlier this summer.
Photo from Zach Dobrota

What a summer it was for the sport of golf across the country. And Summit County was no exception.

Copper Creek Golf Course at Copper Mountain Resort is one the local golf courses that will close for the season this weekend. At Copper Creek, head golf professional Zach Dobrota said he’s seen record-breaking numbers of golfers at the 18-hole course.

“In July and August … there were fewer than a dozen days where we didn’t fill every single tee time at the golf course, which is pretty rare for any golf course,” Dobrota said Friday. “Even now, the tee sheet is 80% full.”

Dobrota said the course saw a spike in interest from the public rather than passholders. He estimated tee times booked by the public were up from 60% last year to 90% this year.

“We definitely got a lot more public play,” Dobrota said. “A lot more people were from out of town, a lot of visitors, a lot from Denver. And probably 30% of rounds this summer were from out of state.”

The sentiment for this surge in demand for the sport is consistent across the Summit County golf courses. Retiring Breckenridge Golf Club head professional Erroll Miller said the 27-hole Breckenridge course also saw a spike in the sport but not as large as the 20% increase in demand that was seen nationwide in the peak of summer.

“Which is unbelievable,” Miller said.

In Breckenridge, Miller said resident rounds were up 10% and guest rounds were up 5%. He also said Breckenridge driving range reservations were up 20%.

“We’re sold out through Sunday, our last day,” Miller said.

Miller said the course will stick with the Oct. 4 closing date despite the demand because the course could “use a breather” with nighttime temperatures dipping into the 20s.

Miller also pointed to industrywide sales of golf clubs as an indication the sport will retain consumers in the years to come.

Rainey Chase, golf professional at The Raven at Three Peaks in Silverthorne, said he’s noticed an uptick in lessons for beginners and returners to the sport.

Chase said the course peaked at 250 rounds on the most busy days this summer, up from a high of 180 rounds on the busiest days last summer. And he said the demand was consistent, rarely dipping below 200 rounds a day, nearly double the less busy days from last summer. Chase said many of those golfers were playing their first round at The Raven.

“We thought we’d slow down after Labor Day, but we’ve not slowed down at all,” Chase said.

The Raven will extend its season “until the snow flies,” Chase said, though the course will close from Monday, Oct. 5, through Thursday, Oct. 8, for some aeration work.

Phillip Tobias, the PGA director of Keystone Golf, wrote in an email that Keystone’s River Course has seen an increase in interest like other courses. Despite the nationwide surge in interest, Keystone opened only its 18-hole River Course this summer while not opening the Ranch Course.

Keystone spokesperson Loryn Roberson said the Ranch remained closed in order to dedicate resources to the River Course while implementing novel coronavirus safety practices and procedures.

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