Tee Time: Hole 8, The Raven at Three Peak’s money hole
The Raven at Three Peaks
What: An 18 hole course (Par 72) on the north end of Silverthorne, originally built in the late ‘80s and redesigned in 2001 to highlight natural hazards, relatively forgiving fairways and stunning views of the surrounding peaks
Where: 2929 Golden Eagle Rd. in Silverthorne
Green fees: $55 and up (Summit resident), $79 and up (non-resident)
All green fees include a cart and access to the on-site practice facilities. For reservations, current greens fees and course maps, see the club website at http://www.ravenatthreepeaks.com.
It’s almost like The Raven was made for fall.
Found just north of Silverthorne, the course (full name Raven at Three Peaks) is nestled at the base of Red Peak and Buffalo Mountain. It butts right up against the Eagles Nest Wilderness — nearly 130,000 acres of untouched alpine forest — and plays host to deer, moose and the occasional bear throughout the season.
With so much wilderness just steps from the fairways, The Raven is one of the most picturesque courses in Colorado come autumn. You’ll find aspens lining the greens, with colorful underbrush exploding into bright reds and oranges along the fairways and banks of several small creeks.
It’s just too bad those aspens and ravines also double as hazards. Natural splendor on the links is only window dressing once you hit the ball, and The Raven is more demanding because of Mother Nature. It’s not quite as tight and wooded as Breckenridge Golf Club to the south, but the Par 5s are often longer and the Par 3s can be tricky.
And Hole 8 is one of the trickiest.
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Par 3 — 184 yards (back tees), 134 yards (front tees)
There’s a reason golf in the mountain can humble even elite players, and it all has to do with the elevation. Hole 8 is the very definition of an elevated mountain hole, dropping some 120 feet over a scant 184 yards from the back tees. It’s the highest elevated tee box at The Raven and easily one of the highest in the nation.
“It’s a challenging hole,” course PGA pro Bud Gazaway said. “You can’t be long, and you can’t be left. Accuracy is a premium on this one.”
The combination of short yardage and extreme vertical makes Hole 8 the only official betting hole at the course. On weekends (and weekdays during peak season), bet up to $100 on your tee shot for the chance to double your money. Make it on the green — a relatively large and forgiving one, although it slants dangerously from right to left — and you win a payout. Miss it, and you get your money back as a voucher for the pro shop. It beats losing a bet to your devious friends.
Hazards: Roughly 120 feet of vertical drop. It sounds simple, but the hole layout makes the vertical even more intimidating. Aspens and a ravine buttress the green to the back, left and front, with bunkers on the right and downhill side of the green.
Pro tip: Play to the middle.
“Don’t be sucker for the pin,” Gazaway said. With so many ways to lose a ball, simply hitting and sticking the green is smart. He also recommends playing about 30 yards short to account for the drop. Use a pitching wedge or nine iron, depending on the wind.
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