Golf Digest once again has honored the inviting fairways and greens of the Catamount Ranch & Club.
The magazine, one of the most respected voices in the sport, rated the Steamboat Springs course No. 8 in the state for 2005-06.
It is the second time the Tom Weiskopf-designed course has cracked the top-10, and this year, it's up two spots from its 10th-place ranking in 2003-04.
"We are very excited about these rankings," said Jim Miller, club manager at Catamount. "It's a great honor to be in Golf Digest because it's a benchmark of the golfing industry."
Built in 2000, the private course east of downtown Steamboat entices golfers with a varied course layout.
The front nine, which lingers along the Walton Creek drainage, features several links-style holes as well as fairways surrounded by aspen and pine trees.
The back nine takes golfers up the side of a mountain and features holes that incorporate the valley's steep pitches and mountain scenery.
Andrew Katcher, director of corporate communications for Golf Digest Companies, said the rankings have been an important function since the magazine began in 1966.
That was the first year Golf Digest published America's 100 Greatest Golf Course rankings. The magazine's Best in State was established a few years later and is a supplement to the national rankings.
"Golf Digest is about where to play, how to play and what to play," Katcher said.
Katcher said the rankings come out every two years and are the work of more than 800 panelists from around the country who visit, play and score each of the courses.
Scores are based on shot value, resistance to scoring, design variety, course conditioning, memorability, aesthetics, ambience and walkability.
Golf courses often are separated fractions of a point when the scores are tallied, he said. But after the scores tabulated, the magazine recognizes the top-ranked courses in the country and each state.
This year, Castle Pines Golf Club in Castle Rock is ranked No. 1 in the state. Cherry Hills fell to No. 2, and the exclusive Sanctuary golf course in Sedalia is ranked third.
The Golf Club and Redlands Mesa, a public golf course in Grand Junction designed by Jim Engh, is ranked fourth.
Columbine County Club in Littleton is No. 5, Tom Fazio's Red Sky Golf Club in Wolcott is No. 6, and the County Club of the Rockies in Edwards is No. 7.
The previously unranked Red Sky Golf Club in Wolcott and the Broadmoor Golf Club East in Colorado Springs rounded out the top 10.
Miller shared credit for Catamount's ranking with head golf professional Tom Taylor and course superintendent Lenny Kline.
Miller said Catamount's ranking is good for the club and a good reflection on the quality of golf in the Steamboat area.
He said other quality courses, such as Haymaker Golf Course, the Sheraton Golf Club and the Steamboat Golf Club, attract golfers to the area.
"I think that when a course in our valley makes this list, it is a testament to the strength of golf in the entire valley," Miller said. "I think people come here, and we are recognized because we have four quality courses in the valley."