The Raven soars in Silverthorne
summit daily news
SILVERTHORNE – There’s an old saying that it never rains on a golf course. Obviously, it’s not a fact; it’s just a way of saying that weather can’t stop you from getting out and swatting some.
I kept reminding myself of that phrase as I drove through driving rain Monday morning to play 18 holes at the Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks. It was going to be my first 18 of the year, not to mention my first time playing the mountain track in Silverthorne. So needless to say, only a tornado could have kept me from at least trying to get a round in.
I guess I was rewarded for my enthusiasm. I showed up to an empty parking lot – a strange sight for a golf course, but a great sign for a speedy round. (It turns out the weather caused numerous cancellations that morning). And even though I was covered head to toe in rain gear, the precipitation had just stopped when I walked up to the clubhouse.
Now, I should probably mention a few things that, in my experience Monday, completely separated the Raven from a lot of courses I’ve played. First, I was greeted at the curb by a guy who’d already figured out my name from my tee time and promptly took my bag to a cart and latched it on. Then, I was given a food and beverage card, something I’ve never even heard of at a golf course. This card, as you might guess, gives you free food and drinks (nonalcoholic) while you’re at the course. This would include breakfast before the round, lunch afterward or a few snacks while playing. And did I mention it’s free?
None of that, however, compared to the golf course.
Quick track fact: The course was designed by the team of Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and my fellow Minnesota native and British Open champ Tom Lehman. (The layout is definitely prettier than Lehman’s lunging swing, with lush fairways sliced between evergreens and aspen, all while the Gore Range sits in view.)
Anyway, I started my round as the only person on the golf course, at least in terms of people playing it. So, I stood on the first tee hearing nothing but my feet crunching the grass and seeing nothing but the gorgeous 426-yard, way-downhill, dog-legged-left par-4 in front of me.
After finding the opening fairway – a feat that greatly surprised me – the first thing I noticed was how full and thick the fairways were. I haven’t lived in the mountains all that long, but I know that courses usually take a few months to get green. Not the Raven, though.
I worked my way through the first few holes without too much drama, that is, until I stepped over a putt on the fourth green. Hunched over a 6-foot look at my first birdie of the day, two foxes came greenside to see what I was up to. I backed off the putt, watched them watching me, then stepped back to promptly pull it left of the hole. Unimpressed with my effort, the foxes trotted off to check a nearby pond.
After making it through a round at the Raven, I’ve got to say that it doesn’t have too many breather holes, especially from the back tees. The sixth hole, a seemingly easy par 5, handed me my first bogey, despite being only 250 yards out for my second shot. The eighth, though only 184 yards, feels like you’re hitting down a cliff to the tiny par-3 green. Both par-5s on the back nine (holes 11 and 16) are right at 600 yards long from the tips, and the par-3s measure 237 yards (the 12th) and 213 yards (14).
That’s not to say it’s a brutally tough course, because it’s actually remarkably fair. The fairways are large, as are the greens. The putting surface is so smooth, you feel like you can roll it in from anywhere.
I finished my round with a pretty tidy scorecard in my pocket, and I was remarkably dry despite threatening clouds all around. It’s like I said, “It never rains on a golf course.”
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