From U.S. Highway 40 the lush fairways and manicured greens of the Haymaker golf course look inviting.
"People who just drive by want to know why we're not open," said Hank Franks, the course pro. "We are close, but it's not quite there yet, and we don't want to damage the course by putting people out there too early."
Franks said the wet spring storm, which passed through the valley last week leaving nearly 2 feet of snow in its wake, pushed the course's opening date back a bit. He said the fairways have been too wet to complete final maintenance, which is needed before the course can open.
The Haymaker Golf Management Committee, which has the final say on when the course opens, had been optimistic about May 1, but chairman John Vanderbloemen said the storm forced a change in plans. The committee will meet this week and re-evaluate the opening.
"We are going to take a look on Thursday," Vanderbloemen said. "We had fully expected to open on May 1, so I don't think the opening can be that far away."
Despite the delay, Franks said the pro shop and his programs are ready to roll whenever the season begins. He is hoping to see the pro shop open this weekend along with the driving range.
Vanderbloemen said no decisions have been reached on the driving range's opening. But Vanderbloemen said that will be decided Thursday, as well.
Most of the club's junior programs will open in mid-May along with several opportunities for adult players. Haymaker will offer four-day, and two-day programs for adults beginning May 12 and running through May 18. The same programs will be offered in June, July and August this year.
Private and semiprivate lessons will be offered all summer, but the group golf instruction programs are one of the best values at the course.
Golfers can sign up for either the four-day series, which runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday for $180 or the two-day session, held Tuesday and Thursday, for $90.
The classes in the four-day sessions are limited to 10 students and run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Students will be instructed on full swing, short game and trouble shots. They also will take part in a nine-hole scramble.
The two-day series runs from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. The sessions will cover both the full swing and short game.
Instructors include Tim Fuhrer, Dave Keesee, Nina Krats, Ryan Barclay, Kristal Hodge and Dennis Johnson.
Other group and private lessons will be offered during the summer and range in price from $70 an hour for a private lesson to $440 for five hours of instruction with a group of two to four people.
Golfers also can choose other features including custom club finishing, two-day group instruction and video analysis.
Franks said Haymaker also offers junior golfers a chance to get into the game through a summer long series of junior programs.
The first introductory sessions of the year will take place May 17 and then again May 31. There will be instructional camps June 9-13 and a playing camp July 14-18.
Haymaker will hold its junior Golf Championship on July 29.
For a complete list of times and dates for the junior program stop by the Haymaker Golf shop or visit haymakerjuniorgolf.com.
In addition to its local junior programs, Haymaker will continue to host the Haywhacker junior Golf tournament. This year, however, that tournament will be run by the Colorado Junior Golf Association and will be open only to members of that group.
Franks said he expects the field to be full for the June 18-19 tournament and that it should bring 156 junior golfers and their families to Steamboat.
"We are expecting to have a great summer at Haymaker," Franks said. "The course looks great and it should be ready to go soon."
-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org