First of all, please accept my apologies for sending another letter to the editor about the golf clubhouse. Does anyone really care that the new No. 18 opened up with a cup hole cutting ceremony? I guess if you have tried to sell the public on the merits of a new clubhouse built for anyone but golfers you can sell a cup hole cutting ceremony as an event. The obvious desire to spin this public relations disaster into a news story deserves some equal press. No. 18 was a fantastic golf hole and a great finishing hole. It is now a stupid golf hole out of context with the rest of the course design. A Par 5 from the blue tees at only 443 yards is way too easy. The black tees at 507 yards impose a 190-plus yard carry into the prevailing wind with a 40-yard-wide landing area next to a third lake. The hole is now unfair to compete on between handicap golfers. This tricked-out tee shot will surely entertain some that don’t recall Jack Nicklaus or Tom Watson playing this hole for prize money.
Golf has a lot to do with traditions and rules. No ribbon cutting, cup hole cutting or mayor’s announcements will make this an improvement to the golf experience in Vail. They shortened the hole to accommodate outdoor event seating and B.S. the public on safety concerns. The clubhouse design remains in litigation as neighbors try to protect their back yards and Vail from overdevelopment.
Maybe the prevailing winds will change and tourism will win out over commercialization.