Rest in peace, 18th Hole, Vail Golf Course, 1962-2013. After a long and drawn-out battle to save the beloved 18th, it seems that the life lines keeping her alive have been pulled. She is being euthanized this week. The heavy equipment is currently digging away at her beautiful fairway between the 200- and 150-yard markers.
The end is near. The green is still standing in all her majesty. She was loved by all ... the men’s, ladies’ and senior clubs that played the course. All the members of the club over the years. The guests that played her every summer. She was universally loved, save a few lawyers, town council members and safety experts. Cut down in the prime of her life at age 51, she should have been able to live long into the future. The matriarch of the Vail golf course if there ever was one.
But the heavy hand of a few were able to pull the plug on her in the name of safety/progress. More than a few tears will be shed in her memory. The 18th was a great layout. Birdies were granted, even eagles were seen on the hole occasionally. Pars were not routine, there was water in play, bunkers to be dealt with, the yardage and the westerly winds to be mastered, out of bounds markers, trees and bushes and last but not least the two-tiered green. She had it all. She could be unforgiving if you took her lightly — bogeys and worse would be meted out. You had to respect the old gal. She gave you great views from the tee box forward, or looking back toward the Gore Range.
A service won’t be held in her honor. Flowers will be accepted on the current 18th green or, in lieu of, a few Titleists. Donations will be accepted at “Prevent Cruelty To Great Golf Holes.”
So before the final heartbeat stops, go out and say goodbye to great old gal, “the 18th” as we knew her, and raise a toast to her and the memories she gave you. She will be sorely missed.