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Local greens have a mid-summer sheen

Shauna Farnell

If nothing else reaped any benefits from the weak winter and early thaw this year, the local greens did.

Almost every golf course in the area has or will open ahead of schedule this season thanks to the dry spring.

“We’re green, they’re green, everybody’s just green and ready to go,” said Dan Guinle, marketing manager at the Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks in Silverthorne, which was the first course in Summit County to open May 3.

“Usually, this time of year, the grass is hard and brown,” he said. “If you compare this year’s development of the fairways, boxes and everything else on the greens, we are about five to six weeks ahead of where we were last year.”

Guinle said tee sheets at the Raven are also at least twice as full as they were at the end of May 2001.

“It’s exceeded our wildest expectations,” he said. “We shouldn’t even be open now, No. 1, but the lean snow year got everyone pumped up for summer time. People are just lining up wanting to come out here.”

The Raven is installing a practice facility to open next month, just in time for the Watson-McCaffrey Golf tournament June 13.

The Raven isn’t the only green that skipped its grey phase this season. The Mt. Massive Golf Course in Leadville has been open since April 27. Despite being the highest golf course in North America at an elevation of 9,860 feet, Mt. Massive also is ahead of schedule and is being improved by a newly installed, $500,000 irrigation system.

“The weather was nice enough to clear us off soon,” said Mt. Massive Golf Course general manager Craig Stuller. “We’re right in the Arkansas River Valley, so things got pretty warm up here early.”

This weekend marks the season opening of the River Course at Keystone and also the Breckenridge course. The Breckenridge Golf Club opens Friday with greens in peak-season shape, according to course representatives.

“We usually open Memorial Day weekend, but we’re opening a week early because things are so dry,” said Breck Golf Club assistant manager Justin Scott. “Our greens and tees and fairways are in perfect condition – probably mid-season condition.”

The Keystone River Course opens Saturday, and tee times are already disappearing.

“Our phones have been ringing off the hook,” said Keystone golf pro Stever Keiser. “I’ve talked to a lot of people going to Denver to play golf down there. We’re opening the River course a week or so early. We’re expecting a fair amount of business.”

The Keystone Ranch Golf Course will open May 25, and the Copper Creek Golf Course will open May 27.

“We’ve got a little more to focus on, changing over from a ski resort to a golf course,” said Copper Mountain spokesman Ben Friedland. “The No. 2 fairway is a ski run in the winter, and our elevation is higher than other courses around the county.

“With the last of skiing over, people are really focused on summer activities now. The golf courses are looking spectacular.”

Local Golf Course Info.

Mt. Massive – Opened April 27. An 18-hole round costs $28 or $18 for nine holes. The course in located next to Turquoise Lake in the Arkansas River Valley in Leadville. To book tee times, call (719) 486-2176.

The Raven at Three Peaks – Opened May 3. Value season prices for an 18-hole round are $69 Monday-Thursday and $84 Friday-Sunday through June 20. Thereafter, prices are $109 Monday-Thursday and $119 Friday-Sunday. To book a tee time, call (970) 262-3636.

Breckenridge Golf Club – Opens Friday. The prices of an 18-hole round is $55 walking and $70 with a cart until June 15. To book tee times, call (970) 453-9104 or visit http://www.breckenridgegolfclub.com.

Keystone River and Ranch Courses – The River Course opens Saturday. The Ranch Course opens May 25. The May cost for a round of 18 is $65. In June, cost goes up to $90 for Keystone guests and $95 for the general public. There is also a Keystone five-play card for $225 available Friday through June 14 that can be used throughout the season with same-day tee times after 12 p.m. and several golf-and-stay packages available at http://www.keystoneresort.com. To book a tee time at the River Course, call (970) 496-1520; at the Ranch Course, call (970) 496-4250.

Copper Creek – Opens May 24. An 18-hole round at Copper costs $60 until June 28, when the price goes up to $79. Season passes are available for $979. An eight-round, non-transferrable pass is available for $359 and can be used throughout the season at the Copper Creek or the Raven course. Each use at the Raven course takes two rounds off the pass, and each at Copper takes one. There is also a Copper Creek transferrable four-round pass for $199. Both passes are available at local Safeway and City Market stores. To book tee times at Copper, call (970)968-3333 or visit http://www.coppersummer.com.


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