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Eagle Ranch, Gypsum Creek courses to open


The Eagle Ranch Golf Club is opening on Monday, followed by the Gypsum Creek Golf Course on Tuesday.

And before everyone stampedes to these two locations with golf fever, please keep in mind the following rules with regard to COVID-19.

• Social distancing remains in effect. Maintain 6 feet of distance from those in your group at all times.

• To that end, golf carts will be one per person, unless golfers are from the same household.

• Do not touch the flagstick. Yes, the USGA instituted the rule last season that flag may remain in while putting. It’s not an option now. No touching the pin and both courses will be using elevated cups to avoid everyone sticking their hands in a hole to retrieve their ball.

• There will be no water stations or restrooms on the course, so stock your golf bag with water and take care of the important issues beforehand.

• On the rare instance your golf ball may end up in a bunker — we all know you’re scratch golfers, so this doesn’t happen often — there are no rakes. Play it as best you can and foot-rake the sand for the golfers behind you.

• No high-five and no shaking hands. Yes, golf has its engrained customs — introducing yourself at the beginning, handshakes at the end. Please don’t. And even in the case of a hole-in-one, resist the temptation to have high-fives. Air-fives are fine.

• No more than four people in the pro shop.

• No walkups are allowed. Make your tee times in advance.

For tee times at Eagle Ranch, go to eagleranchgolf.com or call 970-328-2882. For tee times at Gypsum Creek, go to gypsumcreekgolf.com or call 970-524-6200.

Gypsum Creek Golf Course opens front nine

We have good news.

Seriously, as Vail Resorts shuts down for a week, seemingly every form of sports is shuttered and a trip to the grocery store seems like a real-life episode of “Survivor,” we need it.

We’ve got golf, people. Gypsum Creek’s front nine is open. Happy spring, Eagle County.

We’ll stipulate right now that your sports editor is weird on many counts. Yes, he’s an opera and classical-music loving guy who doesn’t ski or snowboard, doesn’t know how to ride a bike and occasionally goes on riffs talking about himself in the third person.

He is a completely unathletic human who fell in love with sports when he was 5. He does love golf, though. (Freud, stop with the third person.)

I bought a starter set of clubs from Walmart and got a huge Rodney Dangerfield bag for $5 my first summer here in 1998. (I also tried fishing, but that just ended up with me throwing sporting goods in the Eagle River, which ironically, would occur with golf as well.)

l don’t know how it happened, but I played my first round of golf at the Willow Creek Par-3 with Dan Thomas, who was a sportswriter with the Vail Trail at the time. This was probably quite forbidden as the two newspapers had a fierce rivalry. (The good news is that Dan now works on the copy desk here.)

I remember playing the eighth hole of the pitch-and-putt. It’s a 50-yard drop shot that’s about a quarter swing of a sand wedge. Just seeing the ball soar majestically and hearing that nice thunk and I was hooked.

Little did I know Gypsum Creek’s 17th — the course is hoping to open its back nine next week, Christy Martin said on Saturday —or EagleVail’s 10th and others awaited.

Golf is an inherently stupid game. To review, you are trying to hit a small white ball with oddly shaped mallets over lots of obstacles into a hole.

“You do this one time? Bleep, no. Eighteen bleeping times,” as Robin Williams’ classic not-suitable-for-work rant goes.

It’s nice to engross yourself in something completely meaningless. So-called normal life is tough enough. These days? Bring it on.

As a bit of a refresher, Gypsum Creek’s front nine is what a lot of us eastern Eagle County golfers call the old back nine. We’re talking the links, non-mesa nine, which is actually good because we’ve lost too many golf balls up there.

It’s cart path only if you’re riding even though the open nine is pretty walkable. Greens fees are $35. For more information call 970-524-6200 or go to www.gypsumcreekgolf.com.

WATCH: Ski & tee (skiing and golfing in the same day) with lifetime Vail Valley local Kevin Denton

With snow in the forecast, the season of skiing and golfing in the same day might be limited, until the spring. Vail native Kevin Denton, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, made some turns at Vail Mountain on Tuesday, Nov. 19, followed by nine holes of golf at Gypsum Creek Golf Course — with a little work mixed in between.

On the Hill is brought to you by The Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute

Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

9/11 Memorial Golf Tournament at EagleVail raises money to support 6 local high school students (photos)

On Sept. 11, a day of remembrance, local veterans, first responders as well as members of the community joined the EagleVail Golf Club in rallying for the annual 9/11 Never Forget Memorial Golf Tournament.

The tournament sold out with 120 golfers and 30 teams hitting the course, as well as bidding on over $10,000 in silent auction items and $1,000 worth of raffle prizes up for grabs.

“This tournament has only one real purpose — to make the world a better place by giving scholarships to our local kids for more education,” said local veteran Pete Thompson. “What an honorable purpose, and we’re glad to be here.”

Local entertainers Tony Gulizia and Helmut Fricker helped kick off the tournament.

“What an honor to be here,” Gulizia, of Vail Jazz, said before singing the National Anthem followed by a song with Fricker, who celebrated 50 years in the United States this summer.

Before hitting the course, a big thank-you was given to Buddy Sims, the chairman of the tournament, and his wife, Bonnie.

Sims said afterward that the golf tournament raised enough money to continue giving $2,000 each to students at six local high schools and then $500 for three years in college as follow-on scholarships.

For more information about the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10721 in Minturn, follow the group on Facebook.

Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography
Satellites 2 Images Photography

We are LIVE at the EagleVail Golf Club talking with Buddy Sims and Peter Thompson from VFW Post 10721 about the 9/11 Memorial Golf Tournament and the ceremony and the Pentagon limestone memorial at Freedom Park in Edwards. Local musicians, Helmut Fricker and Tony Gulizia kicked off the tournamnet with the Star Spangled Banner and other live tunes.

Posted by Vail Daily on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

The adventures of golfing elsewhere once in a while

Last weekend, I played 36 holes of golf.

This is not exactly breaking news. I meet people all over Eagle County who say, “You remember the time we played golf?” No, not exactly. I’m sure the comedy show that is my golf game is more memorable than you are. Sorry.

The newsy element of those 36 holes was that none of them were at EagleVail, Freud’s home away from home and home away from the newsroom.

On Day 1 of the weekend, my Sunday golfing buddy of nearly 20 years — we shall call him Austin, to preserve his anonymity, or not — got us on Red Sky Norman. On Day 2, I showed up at EagleVail, but the course was packed.

So, gasp, I went to Eagle Ranch.

During the winter, I never understand all the people with Epic Passes who go to Utah for Park City or out to Tahoe in California for Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood. “YO, PEOPLE, THERE’S A LOT OF TERRAIN AT VAIL, BEAVER CREEK, BRECK, AND KEYSTONE.”

Now I understand a little more. That and I take three weeks per summer to golf my brains out in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Break out of your rut

It is nice to break out of the routine, and I know a lot of golfers in Eagle County do the same as me. You have your season pass/membership at your golf course/club and just play there over and over.

Why not? It’s there. It’s fun. It’s easy. You know what shots you have to hit. It’s all good.

Except …

As much as I enjoy EagleVail’s funkiness — I like to call it character and local course knowledge — it’s good to get out and play something else.

Even if it kicks your butt, which is a way of saying I had a nice time at Red Sky Norman. It’s the most fun you can have three-putting pretty much every green.

I mean that in a good way. For those of us who play EagleVail, the greens are small because it’s a tight course. You get on the green, you know the break because you’re playing the darn course three times per week, and you two-putt.

Norman’s greens have their own freaking ZIP codes. I kept on thinking I was making a good chip onto the green only to see that my ball was, in fact, seemingly still a 9-iron away from the pin.

To be clear, I am not criticizing Red Sky. It’s fantastic golf. The fairways, tee boxes and so on are nicer than most people’s carpets in fancy homes. The views from the Norman were staggering. If you have the resources or know someone — thanks, Austin — you should give it a go.

The transition, though, from EagleVail to Red Sky just slaps you upside the head. Perhaps since they’re both public loops, comparing my experiences at EagleVail and Eagle Ranch is a better idea.

Although, then again, they’re completely different courses, which is the point of the exercise of playing different golf courses. It was such a novel concept playing greens that don’t bleed away from the fairways. (Again, at EagleVail, we call that character, not crazy course design.)

And holy cow, were the Eagle Ranch fairways firm. Freud loved himself some bounce, just as long as his Precept — the golf ball of champions, as I call it, or, the cheap ball at Walmart, as I also call it — didn’t go into the native grasses. Freud has other phrases for native grasses that can’t be printed in a family paper.

Perhaps the most startling difference between EagleVail and Eagle Ranch are the par-3s. At EagleVail, they’re short with the exception of No. 13, which has a green inhabited by Satan. (Again, we call that character, people.)

With the exception of the aforementioned 13th, EagleVail’s par-3s don’t play more than 141 yards. Eagle Ranch’s shortest par-3 played 146 yards, and it’s the evil 11th. I mean that in the nicest way, and I’m probably not the only one to refer to No. 11 in that fashion.

There’s a reason Eagle Ranch touts it as the shortest par-5 in the county and I parred it if you consider it a par-5.

Like a lot of upvalley golfers, I play Eagle Ranch in the spring and in the fall, so it was fantastic to take on the course’s finish, hole Nos. 16-18, in a howling wind during the high season. (As far as I’m concerned, it’s not Eagle Ranch without a breeze.)

As a 28-handicap, I doubled 16, got a fantastic bogey on 17 and tripled the last without losing my golf ball, for which I think I deserve a medal.

Welcome home

Not only is it fun to play different courses to break up your summer, but it also makes the return to ye olde home course a little sweeter. I may or may not have played golf on Friday at EagleVail — apparently, my editor reads the paper and I need plausible deniability.

It was so nice to be back. (OK, Freud, calm down. You hadn’t played your home course in one week. It wasn’t exactly like you were climbing Everest.) Huzzah, short par-3s and greens I actually understand. (Again, they’ve got character.)

So, get out of your rut. Play Vail — I always forget how lovely the Gore Range is. How do I forget that? Play EagleVail. As much as I joke about character, there is serious holy cow factor on a bunch of the tee shots. Play Eagle Ranch. It’s a great Arnold Palmer design with lots of different tees for players of all abilities. (Love the Chairman’s set.) Play Gypsum Creek. Since they flipped the nines I still confuse the holes, but they’re all still there, and the mesa will test just about anyone. (Talk about a stretch of holes where not losing your golf ball is an accomplishment.)

Go play because it will be snowing soon enough and then you can use your Epic Pass to ski in far-flung places.

Pro golfer says you can’t spell PGA without CBD these days

Scott McCarron has discovered a fountain of youth that has him rocketing up the record book of the PGA Tour Champions (formerly the Senior PGA Tour) — tying the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer with 10 career wins on the tour for golfers older than 50.

The secret to success for the only Gen X golfer on the senior circuit with double-digit wins, including a senior major in 2017? Cannabidiol, or CBD, and specifically the products of Colorado-based Functional Remedies.

“There’s no question,” McCarron said when asked if hemp oil has sparked his senior surge. “There’s kind of a of correlation for me starting the CBD a year and a half ago and just the way I feel now. I don’t feel as run down and as sore when I’m playing.”

A former regular PGA Tour pro, McCarron, 53, won three times on that circuit and recorded top-10 finishes in three of the four majors, including the Masters. He once ranked as high as 20th in the world. But injuries cost him playing time, and McCarron tried a wide variety of anti-inflammatories to recover and various sleep aids to combat sore, restless nights.

Nothing really seemed to work. Now he credits hemp-oil products — in the form of an eyedropper on his tongue or a 20-milligram capsule before bed and a topical roll-on for a sore wrist or elbow — with transforming his game late in life.

“I feel like I can play longer, I can practice longer, play week in and week out and not have that soreness that you might have to take a week off because your body needs recovery,” McCarron said. “Because (the CBD is) helping my sleep, it’s helping my body recover faster and better every night so that I feel good and then I can go ahead and play and perform at a high level.”

CBD catching on

Seemingly everyone is getting in on McCarron’s secret on the PGA Tour Champions.

“I think we’ve got nearly 50 guys on the Champions Tour using CBD oil and using Functional Remedies,” McCarron said. “And you’re starting to see a lot of guys on the regular tour. I just heard that Phil Mickelson is chewing a CBD gum all the time while he’s playing for his aches and pains. He’s got that rheumatoid arthritis and obviously (CBD is) helping him.”

Bubba Watson recently announced he uses CBD products, which have been removed from the list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency. CBD oil has very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

“Interesting thing about PGA, is that PGA Tour Champions doesn’t drug test, so most players don’t need to worry about it,” said Leland Radovanovic of Powerplant Global Strategies, a national consulting firm focused on the legal cannabis industry. “The PGA Tour does, but recently raised their nanogram limit for THC to 150 nanogram. I believe it was around 15 nanograms before. They follow (World Anti-Doping Agency’s) rules.”

Relief worth the gamble

McCarron says he’s heard more players on the regular tour are willing to roll the dice — not just on CBD but also on THC.

“THC is banned, but the levels are so high you would literally have to smoke pot going into drug testing to have a positive test,” McCarron said. “(The PGA) obviously has drug testing as stringent as the Olympics, so guys were hesitant at first (on CBD oil), but they’ve got 10 or 12 guys that are taking it. The tour just wants to make sure that whatever is in it will not give any positive drug tests. So as of right now, everything seems to be going fantastic with that.”

Leland points out that Superior, Colorado-based Functional Remedies for the first time sponsored the Rapiscan Systems Classic, a PGA Tour Champions event in southern Mississippi in late March.

Functional Remedies Chief Science Office Tim Gordon, who grew up in rural Ohio and moved to Colorado in 1996, has been studying and cultivating hemp for more than 30 years. He says he became more than just passionate about cannabis — making it his entire career focus — when he witnessed its transformative healing powers with a friend suffering the effects of chemotherapy.

Since then, Gordon has seen how regular consumption of CBD oil can help everyone from weekend warriors to professional golfers to ultramarathoners.

“I want to [change] mindsets here to understand cannabis just needs to be used almost like a vitamin — kind of preventative medicine in a way,” Gordon said. “Not just at the point of injury or treatment, but leading up to your everyday activity … supplying your body the cannabinoids that you need to be able to recover faster.”

Beyond golf, Gordon says CDB products are gaining acceptance across the spectrum of sports.

“Scott’s one of nearly 50 folks on the [senior] pro tour who are enjoying the benefits of Functional Remedies products,” Gordon said. “Besides all of those, we’re reaching folks in various pro sports -— anything from cycling to pro weightlifting. Everyone’s seeing the benefits, and it’s driving the demand for education and the demand for change.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis late last month signed a suite of new Colorado cannabis laws, including two bills (SB220 and SB240) aimed at aligning the state with the 2018 Federal Farm Bill and allowing for better state regulation of Colorado’s booming hemp industry.

Father’s Day weekend tradition: Local sports chiropractor helps out at US Open in Pebble Beach

Dr. Joel Dekanich, a sports chiropractor with Vail Integrative Medical Group, sat in his Vail Valley home watching the final two days of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, California, as Gary Woodland won his first major. The first two days of the four-day tournament, the third of four major golf championships, Dekanich was working with The Wellness Team at Pebble Beach, providing services to players, caddies and volunteers.

“You know who takes one for the team a lot of times is the caddie,” he said, “walking that course all day long and carrying a set of golf clubs.”

This was the fifth year that Dr. Joel Dekanich worked with The Wellness Team at the U.S. Open Championship. This year, the tournament was held in Pebble Beach, California.
Special to the Daily

In his fifth year providing medical relief at the U.S. Open, Dekanich brought his daughter with him.

“She just hung out and while I was working she would be around the course,” he said. “That’s a fun thing to be able to bring your kid to an event like that.”

Established in 1895, the U.S. Open took place earlier in June. For those keeping track at home, Tiger Woods finished tied for 21st.

“It’s a lot of fun. It has kind of become a tradition for me, and it’s the weekend of Father’s Day,” Dekanich said.

Dr. Joel Dekanich is a sports chiropractor with Vail Integrative Medical Group. During Father’s Day weekend, he was in California with his daughter at the 119th U.S. Open.
Special to the Daily

Dekanich also works with the Team USA Paralympic track and field team. In 2016, he went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to help Team USA.

Contact Dekanich at Vail Integrative Medical Group at 970-926-4600 and www.vailhealth.com. While he helps world-class golfers, he also helps locals.

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

Sonnenalp Club in Edwards stays ahead of the curve, doubles membership in 5 years

For five generations, the Faessler family has strived for and maintained the highest standards at their Sonnenalp resorts in Germany and Colorado. Now, the family is staying on the cutting edge with its improvements to the Sonnenalp Club in Edwards.

Thanks to a $6 million investment from the Faesslers into a fitness center and restaurant renovation at the club that also boasts a beautiful 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and more, the Sonnenalp Club is moving forward focused on family and sustainability.

Five years ago, the club had 220 golf members. Now, there’s 330 new fitness members and 240 golf members — more than doubling where the club was five years ago.

“It’s all Mr. Faessler and him having the vision to see the current model wasn’t working and looking around the country to see what is working,” said Jim Miller, general manager of the Sonnenalp Club. “That family-focused model is one that a lot of successful clubs are going toward.”

Sonnenalp Club’s preview membership allows people to try the club for 12 months without payment of an initial initiation fee.
Noah Wetzel | Special to the Daily

Recently, Sonnenalp Club hosted a dog days of summer event on the golf course, allowing members to hit the course with their dogs. The course also has golf boards and golf bikes as alternatives to carts. The club hosts holiday parties throughout the year, fun tournaments as well as a unique 5-hole short course — playing holes 10, 11 and 12 before playing from a hidden tee box back to 17 and then 18.

“I think the club dynamic is changing and it’s really fun,” said Miller, who’s seen the transformation in his three years with the club. “It’s going in the right direction.”

Sonnenalp is also on a roto for the Colorado State Amateur Tournament, returning to Edwards every five years.

Harvest restaurant at the Sonnenalp Club is also gaining momentum under chef Rosa Provoste, Miller said.

“Coming in two years ago, she’s really helped in getting us in the right direction.”

Through August, the club is offering a Discover Sonnenalp Club membership program, allowing people to preview the club for 12 months without the payment of an initial initiation fee. However, incentives are in place if you decide within 60 days to purchase a membership.

For more information about Sonnenalp Club or membership opportunities, visit www.sonnenalpclub.com.

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

EagleVail Golf Club debuts new fleet of carts featuring USB ports

Golfers hitting the course at EagleVail Golf Club this summer will notice a change in the fleet of carts, namely the addition of a USB port.

In addition to the helpful screen detailing distance and course information, as well as a way to pre-order food at the shop on hole 11, golfers can use a USB port in the cart to charge their phones, speakers or other electronics while on the course.

EagleVail Golf Club opened Friday for the season, starting with 10 holes. Grounds crews have done an impressive job preparing the course, with snow falling about a week ago.

Also new this year, coming to the Willow Creek Par 3 course — “fling golf.”

For more information or to book a tee time at EagleVail Golf Club, visit www.eaglevailgolfclub.com.

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow his adventures on the golf course on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.