Steamboat golf courses slowly reopen after snowstorm
October 7, 2013
Steamboat Springs — The late-week storm that dumped more than a foot of snow on Steamboat Springs forced some early closures for area golf courses, but most of the links aren't keeping their doors locked for long.
Steamboat Golf Club shut down when the snow accumulated and the temperatures dropped below freezing, but it reopened the course to the public Sunday morning. Likewise, Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club at the base of Mount Werner shut down but plans to at least open its front nine by Wednesday, Director of Golf Brian Thorne said.
Haymaker Golf Course on the southern-most end of town shut down first thing Friday but reopened its practice areas and driving range Monday morning. Haymaker employee Ryan Luttrell said the entire course likely would reopen Wednesday.
Thorne, who has been in Steamboat since 2005, said he and his assistant never have seen winter conditions like Thursday and Friday quite this early in the season. He said Rollingstone Ranch tries to weather the inclement conditions as long as possible, but the staff does circle a tentative shutdown date each year.
"Typically, I do the third Sunday in October," Thorne said. "We'll keep it open when we can. The 27th was kind of our D-Day this year though."
Steamboat Golf Club incoming General Manager Seann Conway said his course takes similar action, setting a tentative date for the Sunday closest to Halloween, which is Nov. 3. But because Steamboat Golf Club is the farthest west and lowest elevation of all the local courses, Conway said it can attract golfers later into the season — even members from other Steamboat clubs.
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"Sunday was a little light; folks didn't quite believe we were open," Conway said about the course's reopening. "But now the word has gotten out, we were really busy today. We saw some members from the Rollingstone Ranch and some surrounding courses out. It's just a beautiful day to be out. It's great weather."
But as the golf-friendly weather begins to fade, at least a few courses will be operating at special rates to squeeze the last little bit of play they can. Steamboat Golf Club will drop to $35 for 18 holes and $24 for nine holes starting Thursday. Rollingstone Ranch also is running a locals-only special of $75 every day of the week.
As wintry conditions have ascended on the valley, course general managers are gearing up operations to preserve their courses for the dormant months ahead. Some employee and pro shop hours have been cut down slightly, but maintenance crews don't have much time to rest.
"The guys are busy. The outside staff is busy getting the course prepared for winter," Conway said. "The crew will stay busy getting the course ready to be put to bed for the winter season."
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