The Vail Valley is home to some of the finest golf courses in Colorado with designs by such world-renowned names as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Greg Norman, and Dave Pelz. If those names aren’t enough, there’s Palmer and Jones, Jr. as well. Golfing in Vail affords visiting and resident golfers with a kaleidoscope of choices with panoramic views and challenges galore. To find courses to put on your “must-play” list we’ve given a brief description of a few.
Beaver Creek Golf Club & Rendezvous Club
Designed by the famed course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the Beaver Creek Golf Club is one of the longest-established courses in the Vail Valley. Opened in 1992, the course is nestled against the slopes of Beaver Creek Mountain and is widely known for its tight, narrow fairways so a driver may not get much use.
Gypsum Creek Golf Course
Pete Dye designed the 18-hole Championship course at the Gypsum Creek Golf Course over the sage-covered mesa to provide players a challenge, all while set among the natural scenery of the area. Beware the par-5, 550 yard 15th hole, as with the prevailing winds the green is almost never reachable in two shots, and from there on the steep angles and drop-offs keep even the best player on their toes.
Red Sky Ranch Golf Club
The Red Sky Ranch Golf Club is a private membership club with a separate resort golf operation. Two courses make up the club, separately designed by renowned designers Tom Fazio and Greg Norman.
Photo from http://www.redskygolfclub.com/
The Fazio Course features a variety of terrain all set among the amazing vistas of Vail’s Back Bowls, and the Par-72 tract measures 7,113 yards. To clear the way through the open sage-covered hills and dense aspen forest, the design team relocated 23,000 native plants into nurseries for re-planting throughout the course.
The Norman Course skillfully allows the natural landscape to dictate the flow of play, with craggy outcropping, rugged ditches, and twisted knots of scrub oak that contribute to the wilderness feel of the 7,580-yard course. The experience is further enhanced by views of the Vail Valley sunset silhouetting the majesty of Castle Peak in the evening.
The Club at Cordillera (3 courses)
Four distinct courses make up the Club at Cordillera, each with its own unique characteristics and elevations. The Valley Course, nestled along the Eagle River is a Tom Fazio design that takes advantage of its southern exposure and features wide-open fairways but also challenges players with large, undulating fairways and greens. Colorado native Hale Irwin crafted the Mountain Course with holes carved into the rolling hillsides. A reflection of its name, the Summit Course was placed upon the highest point within Cordillera at an elevation of 9,200 feet. Designed by Jack Nicklaus the course affords golfers unparalleled views while traversing the undulating course. Finally, the Short Course, designed by renowned short-game guru Dave Pelz focuses on making each hole unique and challenging. Pelz, who is known as a master of the putter, designed the course to help anyone who plays to play better, as the course embraces 90 percent of the shots in golf, in about 25 percent of the time on a full 18-hole course.
Photos from Ben Dodd
Eagle Ranch Golf Club
Just 30 minutes from Vail in the small town of Eagle, Colorado is the Eagle Ranch Golf Club. The majestic Colorado Rocky Mountains serves as a dynamic setting for the Arnold Palmer Signature Design that opened in 2001 as part of a master-planned residential community.
EagleVail Golf Course
Set among what is internationally known as Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts, the EagleVail Golf Course offers 18 holes of challenging mountain golf for players of all skill levels. EagleVail was given national recognition in 2015 and 2017 as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary from Audubon International. The process of selection is a two-year intensive evaluation requiring demonstration of a high degree of environmental quality in seven specific areas.
Sonnenalp Golf Club
The 18-hole Sonnenalp Golf Club is an easily walkable championship golf course with an award-winning orientation that allows for dramatic morning and afternoon sun that highlights the stunning mountain views of the nearby Rocky Mountains. There are four tee positions ranging from 7,100 yards to 5,293 yards and offers unlimited play for members 7 days a week.
Photo from https://www.sonnenalpclub.com/golf
Beaver Creek Miniature Golf’
The Beaver Creek Miniature Golf Course smartly incorporates the natural slant of the mountains along with a few breaks to add a challenge. With the location in the mountains for a scenic background, the red brick wall surrounds the green turf with a handful of natural rock based obstacles.
Golf courses from https://www.vailvalleypartnership.com/business-listings/?term_id=230
Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer who loves to travel. He also writes about golf on his publication site, www.golfinfluence.com, where he shares some tips and tricks to improve your golf game.