Craig resident Doreen McIntyre has high praise for Yampa Valley Golf Course in Craig.
“This is the best course in Northwest Colorado,” she said.
Doreen, 67, and her husband, Ed, played golf with friends Jim and Linda Showalter on Saturday, the first day the local course has been open this year.
“This is the first we have been outside to play golf since October,” she said. “I usually come out here and play three times a week and my husband may play four times a week.”
Jim, 66, said the Craig course greened up fast.
“The greens were a little slow (Saturday), but that will come as the year goes on,” he said. “The snow is gone and we just really wanted to get out here and play.”
While snow covered the ground Sunday morning in Craig, Saturday showed signs of the looming season change to spring.
About 115 people took advantage of the weather and the new golf season’s opening day Saturday.
Jason Back, who became the course’s new golf professional Jan. 1, said when the sunshine came out and the snow stayed away, course officials worked hard to get tees, greens and rough ready for play.
“We will run into days we are open and other times when we are closed for a few days because of weather,” he said. “I am happy we were able to get all 18 holes open one day earlier than we had expected.
“I know we’ll have dedicated players who will be out there in good and bad weather.”
Back said almost half of the 115 players were from out of town, most of them from Steamboat Springs.
The out-of-town play is what makes opening the course in early April worth it, he said.
“We open before a lot of golf courses, so we get a lot of play we don’t get later in the season,” Back said. “It helps our revenue.”
Accompanying the opening of the course was a newly remodeled pro shop.
Along with a full remodel to the interior, Back said the shop would introduce a few new product lines for customers.
The shop will offer Oakley sunglasses, Adams and Ogio golf clubs, and new clothing lines such as Adidas and FootJoy.
“We wanted to provide a variety of options for any type of player,” Back said. “We also have non-golf merchandise like antler lamps for the players who have everything they need for golf.”
Back said the course would host its first tournament May 14 — the Dirthog Scramble.
The four-person scramble, Back said, is for both men and women this year — it was for men only in the past — and part of the proceeds will be used to upgrade the golf course.
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