Vail Valley golf courses in great shape after long, wet winter

By David O. Williams
June 17, 2011

Vail's lingering winter weather that kept things snowy through most of May has had an interesting and positive side effect on the local golf courses. True, it delayed opening at some of the higher-elevation courses, but now that they're all open and in full swing, the greens have never been greener, nor the surrounding scenery more spectacular.

East Vail, for instance, home to the public Vail Golf Club, looks a little like the north shore of Kauai, with the waterfalls that form the famous “Fang” ice-climbing routes in the winter now gushing with spring runoff and surrounded by lush, green vegetation.

Officials at Vail Resorts say “the colors of summer are in bloom and the brilliant green courses at the Beaver Creek Golf Club and Red Sky Golf Club are prime for play heading into Father's Day weekend. Generous snowfall this winter has led to ideal course conditions.”

The ski company in the summer offers three semi-private 18-hole courses: Beaver Creek and both the Norman Course and the Fazio Course at Red Sky Ranch just outside of Wolcott. All three are semi-private with some limited guest play based on availability.

Red Sky Ranch.

This weekend may be the perfect opportunity. With summer crowds not quite here en masse, Beaver Creek and Red Sky are offering the Father's Day Junior Golf Special, with free play for kids ages 7-18 with a paying adult from Friday, June 17, to Sunday, June 19.

Besides the Vail Golf Club, the valley has three more public courses: the Eagle-Vail Golf Club (includes the very enjoyable Willow Creek Par Three) in Eagle-Vail; the Eagle Ranch Golf Club in Eagle; and the Gypsum Creek Golf Club in Gypsum.

Then there are five semi-private courses, including Beaver Creek and Red Sky. The two others are the Sonnenalp Golf Club in Edwards and the Brightwater Club in Gypsum. The valley also has four fully private courses operating this summer: Country Club of the Rockies at Arrowhead in Edwards; Eagle Springs in Wolcott; Adams Rib in Eagle and the Cordillera Valley Course near Edwards. The Cordillera Mountain and Summit courses won't be open because of an ongoing legal dispute between the owner and some of the homeowners.

The Vail Valley's golf options range from fairly benign to seriously challenging – all at altitudes between 6,500 and 9,000 feet. The list of course designers is a who's who in the golf game: Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Tom Fazio, Hale Irwin, Robert Trend Jones, Jr., and Tom Weiskopf.

The local chamber does a pretty good job rounding up all the options and giving some sense of the courses. Go to

Editor's note: This originally appeared as a blog on

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