Patience key for getting golf courses open in Steamboat |

Patience key for getting golf courses open in Steamboat

Local courses prepare, hope for better weather

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs Scott Ptach warms up on the driving range at Haymaker Golf Course in Steamboat Springs. Steamboat's cool, wet spring has made getting area courses open for business a challenge.
John F. Russell

— Dedicated golfers are of a different breed.

It's like the great PGA Tour commercial of a guy sitting in the pouring rain, when another golfer comes up and asks, "You a single?"

Of course, when a spring sets in like the one Steamboat has seen — sighs of, "Can you believe this weather," seem to start every conversation — patience starts to run thin.

But if golfers think it's bad, imagine what it has been like trying to get the courses ready.

"We want to do a sun dance for all the courses in town," Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club Director Brian Thorne said.

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It has been that type of spring.

Haymaker Golf Course opened Friday and Rollingstone hopes to open Monday.

Those dates are later than typical. In 2010, Haymaker opened May 11, and Rollingstone opened May 8.

This year, Haymaker still had snow May 10. On May 2, Rollingstone had 30 inches on the back nine.

And while that snow has melted, the cloud cover and rain have made it difficult to get the courses open.

"It's been heinous," Haymaker Superintendent Bill Whelihan said. "Everybody is grouchy. It's just been so wet."

Whelihan, who has seen Haymaker grow from its infancy, said he can't remember a spring like this.

He remembers the dry spring of 1998 and the wet one of 1984 but said this one is in a different category.

Whelihan said he preaches patience, but even this spring has been tough on him. He said while waiting for the weather to get better, he and his staff have done a lot of little jobs around the course.

They have painted spots in the clubhouse, they've cleaned up the cart paths, and they've cleaned up the shop.

But after awhile, Whelihan said, that stuff gets old.

"Bill is so seasoned that, in that sense, he's much more patient than I am," said Haymaker Director of Golf and Instruction Luke Brosterhous. "He's had to reassure me countless times, when I think, 'Gosh, are we ever going to open?'

"His ability to look at the situation for what it is has been great."

Closer to the mountain at Rollingstone, things have been tougher with more snow.

"We just need two or three days of sun or wind," Thorne said. "But for three weeks now, we haven't had it."

It will eventually get nicer, and when it does, the fairways and greens across Routt County surely will have a verdant tint to them.

"If we get last year's fall, we'll be pretty happy," Thorne said. "I think it's already going to be a short summer, but hopefully we're able to play golf through October."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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