Steamboat Springs Smiles rarely adorn the faces of golfers disappointed in their score. That is, unless you are 12 and missing school because of an 8:30 a.m. tee time with Dad.
"I didn't know I was going until this morning when my dad woke me up," Paul Innes said.
Wednesday was the opening day at Haymaker, and David Innes and his son represented half of the first foursome to hit the city course this season. Men and women have been known to skip work for a round, so Innes got out of school for nine holes.
"He's going right back," said the elder Innes. "The reason he's out here is because he gets straight A's."
The younger Innes, who is a golf junkie, didn't feel his score was so favorable, but the grin served as a suitable disguise. Dad, however, got another chance. He came back for a 2:40 p.m. tee time.
"It's great," David Innes said fresh off the No. 9 green. "The course is beautiful. It's better this year than any other."
Haymaker opened in August 1997, and ever since golf pro Hank Franks said the 18-hole course has continued upgrading. This year Haymaker will feature a state-of-the-art computer inventory system and lush fairways and greens assuming the weather cooperates.
Haymaker joins the Steamboat Golf Club as the only other course ready for business. The Steamboat Golf Club opened April 17, and golf pro Chip Chevlin said his course welcomed players first because the meltoff is faster on the less-exposed course.
In fact, the Steamboat Golf Club has already hosted The Shoot-out, a 60-player tournament.
The driving range at Catamount Ranch and Club also hosted several golf lovers Wednesday, but the course isn't scheduled to open until May 21. Jim Miller said that remains a tentative date.
"The course weathered extremely well this winter," he said. "We may open a little earlier for members if the weather continues to cooperate."
The other course of interest to locals is the Steamboat Sheraton, and golf pro Gary Crawford said it is opening this Saturday. The Sheraton is running a spring special $35 to walk 18 holes and $50 to ride until Memorial Day.
"I think everybody is anxious to play," he said. "We're busy putting out trash cans and ball washers and mowing the grass because it's growing like crazy. We are a cross-country touring center in the winter so everything needs to come out of my office. I'm busy doing that."
He is hoping he can hit the course on Saturday and shake the rust out of his short game, but he promised he wouldn't be out earlier because it's "tough to play when we tell our members they can't play."
Crawford thought he would probably shoot in the mid-70s his first time out.
Yeah, maybe everyone else does deserve a head start.