Time to get the golf clubs out of storage and hit the range to shake the winter rust off that swing. Summit County spring seems to have sprung, finally, and with it local golf courses are working to follow suit.
The Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks, leads the way again this year in Summit County. The club’s front nine and practice area are open as of Friday. Course director Mark Nickel also expects the back nine to be open as early as mid-week.
“We have the best sun exposure and good drainage,” he said, explaining why Raven is able to open before other area courses. He credits the club’s hillside location for its fast drainage. Courses in valleys will have more of an issue with snowmelt drainage.
Because of recent snow the Raven course opened a full month later than last year, but last year was more of an exception due to low snowfall.
Nickel says that because of the increased snow pack, the greens and fairways are already in much better shape than they were last year. There is currently a cart-path-only restriction, as the fairways are still fairly wet. He anticipates the rule could be lifted later this week.
“We try to get open as quick as we can,” he said. For the Raven it generally takes a week or two to get the course prepared to open. The crews primarily have to prep greens, fairways and bunkers. Some area courses like Copper Creek also work on snow removal to get the grass ready.
Other courses may delay opening to give the grass a chance to grow a little more, Nickel said. He says warmer nights make it possible for the grass to start growing much faster.
The Keystone River Course is scheduled to open Friday, May 17. It is unclear at this time, if it will be able to open the full 18-hole course or start with the front nine. The Keystone Ranch course is scheduled to open May 31, according to an automated message. The course pro Phillip Tobias could not be reached for comment.
The 27-hole Jack Nickelas-designed Breckenridge Golf Club courses are scheduled to be open in the third or fourth week in May. And the Copper Creek course at Copper Mountain plans to open June 14. Grounds crews will be on hand this week preparing the course.
A number of courses in the Vail Valley are up and running. As of Saturday, Vail Golf Club had six holes open, Eagle Vail 10 holes. Beaver Creek Golf Club opened to the public Friday.
The nine-hole Mount Massive course outside of Leadville is also open for the season.
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