FORE! Inside Steamboat’s disc golf scene
August 2, 2017
This story originally ran in Steamboat Living magazine.
While Steamboat might not be known as Disc Golf Town USA, joining its four more conventional golf courses are several more for those preferring to birdie with discs instead of drivers.
"It's getting more and more followers," says Jordan Como, 30, former president of the Steamboat Area Disc Golf League. "Every time I play on a Saturday afternoon I see other people on the courses."
Three sites in town let you toss Frisbees down a fairway, with another course on private land off County Road 179 outside Oak Creek.
Town's first disc golf course — and the first one ever located on a Colorado Mountain College campus—is a nine-hole course at CMC offering great views of town and the Yampa Valley. Open to the public and designed by Dan Schaffrick and George Bagwell, the original course was built in 1992 off the backside of the soccer field (current site of Hill Hall) with tee-off markers and wooden posts. It was eventually upgraded with metal targets, tee boxes and fairways, and after the residence hall was built in 1997, two holes were moved and the course reset.
"We urge players to have spotters to keep an eye on discs with the rugged terrain," says CMC public information officer Debbie Crawford, who also advises that campus policies apply—no smoking, drinking or pets.
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An on-again-off-again affair due to beetle kill mitigation, Steamboat Ski Area also has a 19-hole course, beginning at the bottom of the Thunderhead lift. Caveat: get good at throwing around trees. Opening in 2007, it closed for several years for logging before reopening in 2014. But there are still plenty of hazards to hit. "It's about a three-mile hike to complete the whole course," says Como. "I'm usually pretty exhausted by the end."
Steamboat II has a four-year-old, nine-hole course. Free and open to the public, it's located on the open space between Steamboat II and Silver Spur and managed by the Steamboat II Metro District Parks and Recreation department. "It gets a lot of use in the spring when there is not much else open," says adjacent homeowner Tim Murphy. "When the courses at the college and on the mountain open people stop coming out here. The grass gets tall and it becomes hard to find your Frisbee."
The 18-hole Haybro Red Tail Disc Golf Course near Oak Creek is also popular, with an "honor-fee system" to compensate its private landowner. "It's actually a really good course," says Como.
Como adds that he kept statistics for last year's club, showing 85 unique players hitting local courses over the summer, "plus maybe another 100 or so who play casually." They play weekly singles and doubles rounds, entering their scores on the club's website with winners crowned each year. While this might not match the numbers of nearby Eagle County, whose club tallies 200 members, Como says the disc-spinning sport is catching on in Steamboat.
"It's a great excuse to get outside," he says, inviting newcomers to visit the club's Facebook page to get involved. "It's like hiking with an objective."