Steamboat Springs The thick layer of snow in the Steamboat area is a reminder that golf season is still more than a month away.
But the high temperatures have many people itching to get back on the course.
Haymaker professional Hank Franks said the record snow this winter will hinder any possibility of an early opening, but he thinks the course should be ready to go by May 1. The driving range could be open as early as April 24.
"The snow is melting pretty fast right now," Franks said. "It's always hard to predict when we are going to open, but it always seems to be right around the 1st of May. Players might notice some piles of snow around the clubhouse, but it should all be off the course by then."
The situation is much the same for the other three courses in Steamboat
The Catamount Ranch & Club golf course is expected to open in the middle of May said Jim Miller, club manager at Catamount Ranch & Club.
"The snow is still pretty deep," he said. "We need a nice steady, slow thaw and we will be fine."
The Steamboat Sheraton Golf Resort also is hoping for higher temperatures. Its mountain location usually makes it one of the last courses to melt, but superintendent John Haller said it should be open within a few days of the other Steamboat courses.
"We are shooting for the first part of May," Haller said. "That's the target, but you never know what's going to happen with the weather."
Traditionally, the first course to open is the Steamboat Golf Club, west of town. It tends to get less snow than some of the other courses in town.
"We should be open by the third week of April at the earliest and the fourth week at the latest," Superintendent Tom Houk said.
The course still has two or three feet of snow in most places. But Houk said the snow has been removed from the putting and chipping greens and that area should be ready to go when the clubhouse opens in mid-April.
Houk said the lower temperatures this winter have resulted in more snow on the course. He said it's hard to predict when it will be open, but if conditions continue to warm up he thinks April is a possibility.