Vail and Beaver Creek Golf

More Golf Courses Than Golfers at Vail

Is the Vail resort complex oversupplied with golf courses? You could make that argument, as several of the valley’s 17 public and private clubs have struggled enormously in the wake of the Great Recession.

But don’t paint with too broad a brush, warn several resort leaders in the Vail Valley.

“They’re not all the same,” said Johannes Faessler, owner of the Sonnenalp Resort of Vail and a companion golf club downvalley at Edwards. “There are different reasons why things happen to different clubs,” he told the Vail Daily’s Lauren Glendenning.

Even in the 1980s, a columnist for a now-defunct newspaper in Vail joked that someday it would be possible to golf continuously from Vail to Glenwood Canyon, a distance of nearly 80 kilometres.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, developers seemed determined to make that come true. There was even a proposal to build a golf course atop an abandoned landfill. At another location, a developer proposed to cap an old pile of mine tailings and create a golf course, as was done at Anaconda, Mont.

Then golfing, as had happened with tennis in the 1970s and skiing in the 1980s, started losing its luster. The growth flattened, nationally as well as at mountain resorts.

Those golf courses that suffered most substantially in the Vail area were those farthest from the ski slopes and resort centers of Vail and Beaver Creek. Brightwater, a project located south of Gypsum, about 72 kilometres from Vail, is now in bankruptcy. A beautiful course called Adam’s Rib, south of Eagle, reportedly sold very few memberships and has revised its fees.

Then came news that only one of four courses at Cordillera, a resort about 16 kilometres from Beaver Creek, would remain open. There are countersuits between the owner of the golf courses, David Wilhelm, and club members, who own property adjacent to the courses.

“Don’t let the Cordillera fiasco overshadow the fact that each one of these courses is doing better,” said Harry Frampton, managing partner of East West Partners. The Avon-based company most typically has built golf course-based higher-end real estate.

Frampton, an avid golfer, says there’s no better place to play golf in the United States than the Vail area. But there are two problems. First, the season lasts only three or four months. And second, he thinks too many of the golf courses are too hard for the average golfer, taking four to five hours to play, too much commitment when there are dozens of other things to do.

He also told the Vail Daily that in a survey of his company’s high-end real estate buyers, 20 per cent had been driven by golf. It’s still important, he said, but golf does not drive the economy of the Vail Valley.

What does during summer? Unlike winter, there is no dominant driver. The Vail Daily sites research done for the Vail municipal government that showed hiking was the top activity of summer visitors.

The percentage of summer visitors who had or planned to golf while in Vail had declined from 32 per cent in 2005 to less than 12 per cent in 2012.

50 Ways To Enjoy Vail

The US resort is celebrating its 50th birthday this year and has drawn up a list of 50 must-see events, activities, sights and more during the resorts 50th anniversary season. So, which one would you like to do most?

It was in 1962 than the early pioneers started skiing in Vail. It is now one of the largest ski resorts in the USA with more than 5,000 acres of skiable terrain.

There are seven back bowls that cover seven miles. It claims to have more groomed terrain than anywhere else in North America.

As its 50th birthday celebrations get underway there is a brand new state of the art gondola and a whole host of activities to get people in the mood.

And 50 experiences to enjoy…

Vail Valley Golf Courses

Elevate your game with Golf Vail Valley. The Vail Valley offers much more than an unforgettable game of golf, it is an extraordinary golf destination.

There are few places in the world where the game of golf can be played in such astounding natural beauty. Here, hospitality, impeccably manicured greens, spectacular backdrops and a love of the game come together to bring you a golf experience unlike any other. Best yet, golfing at altitude means you’re a drive away from one of the longest drives you’ll ever hit. Elevated greens and tees work to your advantage although even veteran golfers will find themselves clubbing up from hole to hole as the rugged mountain terrain dictates.

The region’s courses, many of which designed by the greats themselves such as Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., make formidable competitors to the area’s world-class skiing.

Courses range from the picturesque Vail Golf Club located at the base of the Gore Range at the foot of Vail Mountain to the beautiful mountainous course at EagleVail Golf Club. The golf season lasts a bit longer at the Arnold Palmer designed Eagle Ranch Golf Club. The Vail Valley is also home to a number of semi-private resort courses including Red Sky Ranch, Beaver Creek and Sonnenalp.

Click here for more information on the golf courses of Vail.

Vail’s 18th Hole Still Alive, For Now

The Vail Town Council voted Tuesday to postpone the decision about the realignment of the 18th hole at the Vail Golf Club — something many golfers and golf course-area residents strongly oppose and spoke out against for nearly two hours.

About 50 people packed into the Vail Town Council chambers Tuesday night to speak out against the realignment, which would change the 18th hole from a par 5 to a par 4 by moving the green to make room for the redesigned clubhouse and indoor/outdoor events space. Residents and golfers cited everything from decreased property values to an unsightly finishing area to safety concerns to a diminished golfing experience as the reasons they are against the proposal.

The conversation dates back to as early as January 2009, when the Vail Recreation District hired Phelps-Atkinson Golf Course Design, a Denver-based firm, to create a golf course master plan for the Vail Golf Club. Kevin Atkinson, the consultant, said Tuesday that his firm studied multiple ways to create more space around the clubhouse area, the so-called hub of the course — and this was well before the conversation of redesigning the clubhouse with town conference center funds came into play.

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