Steamboat Golf Club tees up for 2016 |

Steamboat Golf Club tees up for 2016

Dan Schaffrick helps Thursday to prepare Steamboat Golf Club for its opening day for the season. Schaffrick, volunteering at the club, was one of a number of staff members working to get the nine-hole golf course ready. It opens Friday to club members, then Saturday to the public.

— It's still plenty early in the spring season for the Rocky Mountains, but it's late for the Steamboat Golf Club.

On Friday, the course will welcome its first golfers of 2016 — club members and their guests — before opening to the public on Saturday.

"Compared to recent years this is actually maybe a week past average," course general manager Shawn Conway said Thursday, taking a break from relentless preparation for the start of the season.

Steamboat Golf Club, located west of the city on U.S. Highway 40, is traditionally the first of the area courses to open, and the second in the northwest region of the state. That geography keeps it from getting quite as much snow as other courses in the city and allows it to dry off just a little more quickly.

Sometimes that means teeing up for the season before Steamboat Ski Area even closes. This year's robust winter didn't allow that, and last week's blast of winter weather pushed the opening back one week from what Conway had been hoping.

"We like to wait until we get into a consistent, predicable long-term forecast so we don't have to keep opening and closing," he said. "With the weather around here, you never know exactly. Once the course is completely drained off and we're clear of any snow and the forecast is favorable, we're ready."

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There's a bit more that goes into it.

Club crews try to take care of any major maintenance issues before opening simply because there will be few moments of daylight, if any at all, between spring's opening day and fall's snowfall in which to do any projects without golfers around. This year that meant moving a brush pile and taking care of a large downed limb.

There are an infinite number of small projects, too, from stocking the pro shop to setting up the tee markers.

Early season prices for a round on the course will start at $25 for nine holes. Another nine costs an extra $10. Regular season rates for $31 for nine holes and $45 for 18.

A $189 punch card offering 10 rounds is also currently available and will be through at least the month of April. It will be refillable for $199. The regular season price is $219.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9