Back in the swing: Area golf courses open next week, Haymaker expands driving range
The golf season is set to tee off next week as Haymaker Golf Course, Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club and Catamount Ranch & Club open to join the Steamboat Golf Club, giving local golfers reason to celebrate.
“We just aerified the greens, so for the first couple of weeks, the greens will be bumpy and sandy,” said Cody Hasten, the head golf professional at Haymaker. “We’re happy about the way the course came out of winter, and we’re excited for the year.”
Haymaker, which is slated to open Tuesday, May 17, is also in the process of expanding the tee box for its driving range.
“The demand has been so high in the past several seasons on the driving range,” Hasten said. “And as our junior programs and our instruction clinics have increased over the past several years, we needed to do this.”
This spring, as the snow melted, crews started work on the project, which will expand the area by 70%. The expansion should also help meet the growing demand, and it will allow staff to rotate using different areas of the driving range tee box, making it a better experience for golfers.
The improvements are expected to be completed by the end of the month, allowing golfers to practice their swings using mats. Ideally, the grass will be fully grown in by July 1.
Improvement work is not the only reason golfers have needed to be patient this spring. Hasten said several late storms brought much needed moisture to the area, but also delayed the opening of courses.
However, the wait will end this week with Haymaker slated to open, followed by the Rollingstone Ranch & Club opening its front nine Wednesday, May 18, and Catamount Ranch & Club opening Friday, May 20. Catamount opened its driving range on Friday, May 13.
The start of the season is always a happy time, Hasten said, but this year will be special as Haymaker celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The celebration of the course’s opening will be marked by locals week, starting with a kickoff party on May 20. On May 25, the course will offer $25 greens fees to celebrate the milestone.
“You can come out and play for $25 on that day,” Hasten said. “In celebration of our 25th anniversary, we will also have all kinds of fun drawings and raffles throughout the week.”
He said his phones have been ringing off the hook the past several days, as golfers have already been calling in to reserve slots for the first day of the season. Golfers can request tee times up to 10 days in advance.
“We’re pretty well booked up for opening day. There are still spots available, but it’s certainly filling up pretty quickly,” Hasten said. “Everyone’s excited for opening day, and the rest of the week, there is some availability, for sure.”
Haymaker will be the second Steamboat Springs golf course to open its fairways and greens for the 2022 season. The Steamboat Golf Club, just west of downtown, opened for the season April 18, and assistant professional Josh Dunahoe said he has been busy booking tee times.
“The first few weeks were pretty busy. Everybody’s just getting out to get their fix,” Dunahoe said. “If the weather’s nice, we’re pretty much wall-to-wall on our tee sheets.”
He said the men’s club has already started on Wednesday afternoons and that women’s club is expected to start playing on Tuesday mornings at the end of May.
Rollingstone Ranch is slated to open the front nine on Wednesday, according to Graham McDaniel, golf course superintendent.
“Last year was pretty atypical because we were able to open up everything at the same time,” McDaniel said “This year is definitely kind of more of a normal year, and the back nine always just holds more snow longer, stays in the shade longer.”
The recent wet weather has also slowed the opening, but McDaniel was confident the front nine will be open by Wednesday and the whole course will open by the following Monday.
Hasten said Haymaker and many of the other local courses always hope to open the first couple of weeks in May to get the season rolling.
“We were originally hoping to get opened up sometime this week, but those last couple snowstorms kind of pushed everybody in the valley back a little bit, “ Hasten said. “But we are right on par. We’re not early, but we are also not too late.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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