Can’t wait till spring
First of all, the only “greens” found on the course are the balls – tennis balls – and the spray paint used to outline the putting surface in the snow. The bounces and rolls aren’t what linksters would call “true,” even though Nordic snowcat groomers were used to level the fairways.
Given a sunny day, course conditions can change rapidly, melting latecomers’ hopes for birdies. But that’s good, too, since most people don’t replace their snowball-sized divots.
And the polite golf clap is even more polite when muffled by mittens and gloves.
Gone since the days of Dillon’s Winter Carnival, snow golf was reborn Saturday at the town park on Buffalo Road. The event, tied in to the Rotary Club’s Ice Melt Contest, will hopefully put Dillon back on people’s winter activities map, said town events coordinator Sally Kroker.
“People know Dillon is a happening place in the summer, but it tends to fade from people’s minds in the winter,” Kroker said. “If you thought we couldn’t get any kookier than the Ice Princess, well … here you go. We hope this will become the cornerstone of winter events in the years to come.”
The course included one par 2, three par 3s and two par 4s. Keystone golf director Steve Corneillier designed the course, including the miniature-golf inspired chip-shot par 2 that was aced a couple times in the first hour.
If Saturday’s turnout was any indication, Kroker could be on to something. A steady stream of foursomes lined up to pay the $4 entry fee (which got participants Ice Melt Contest tickets). Proceeds will benefit local scholarships, Kroker said.
Silverthorne resident Dave Crangle brought his son, Drew, and Drew’s Summit High freshmen classmates Ryan Eberhart and Justin Green, out to test their ice-chipping skills. Crangle noted the game is much easier than the old Winter Carnival version.
“It’s a lot easier to swing without wearing cross country skis,” he said. “But it’s all luck of the roll.”
Green said his secret was staying out of the deep stuff – not the grass, but the snowbanks. Others were less optimistic about their ability to par holes.
Betty Naftz said she came out with her friends to support Dillon, the Rotary and the Ice Melt Contest. But only averaging one golf round a year (“and very poorly at that,” Naftz said), she decided to shoot for last place.
Event organizers set up prizes for gold, silver and bronze medals – and a tin can for last place.
“One of us should have that locked up,” Naftz said.
When results came in later in the day, it was indeed Naftz who was awarded the Tin Can, while Judy Hunt won the women’s division. For the men, Richard Grand was first in front of second-place finisher Jeff Kiewiet and Stephan Straight in third place. Mike Keller took home the Tin Can.
In the 14-and-under division, Tony Feldman was the winner, followed by Justin Hunt and Ryan Eberhart.