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Valley Valley recreation: Ski mornings, afternoon golf

Stuart Sciulli, left, and Ernest Bradley are all smiles as they navigate a Gypsum Creek Golf Course cart Feb. 21. The pair completed the local recreation trifecta when then spent the morning on the slopes, the mid day on the river and the afternoon on the golf course. Gypsum Creek opened for tis 20th season on Feb. 18.
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Need a tee time?

Tee times for the Gypsum Creek Golf Club can be booked on line at gypsumcreekgolf.com or by calling 970-524-6200. Early season prices, which may change as the season progresses and conditions change, are $35 for 18 holes with a cart Monday through Thursday or $42 Friday through Sunday. The twilight rate for rounds after 2:30 p.m. is $29 for 18 holes with a cart Monday through Thursday and $32 Friday through Sunday.

For current course conditions and other information, go to http://www.gypsumcreekgolf.com.

GYPSUM — When visitors hit the links at Gypsum Creek Golf Course during the early season, general manager Tom Buzbee frequently offers to shoot a photo of them wearing ski boots and holding golf clubs.

“They are all giddy,” Buzbee said.

Gypsum Creek is now open for its 20th season. The course opened for play Feb. 18 — a week earlier than last year’s Feb. 26 opening and almost two weeks later than the earliest opening day ever — Feb. 6 in 2015.

Snow covered the course earlier this week, but that didn’t dampen Buzbee’s early season enthusiasm.

“We played for nine days (before the latest snowfall) so I would call it a legitimate opening,” he said. “This will pass and people will be shocked by how much melts in two days. We will be playing again this weekend.”

Actually, for the serious enthusiasts who play on the Eagle Valley High School girls golf team, snow is not a barrier.

“We shoveled the snow off the driving range tees and the girls will be out practicing this afternoon,” Buzbee said.

Claim to Fame

The Gypsum Creek Golf Course celebrates its early opening date each spring. Hundreds of rounds have already been played at the course so far this year.

“We promote ski in the morning, golf in the afternoon. We tell all the concierge people up valley that when the snow gets slushy and people don’t want to ski, send them down here to golf,” Buzbee said. “There’s not many places in America that can pull that off. It’s our claim to fame.”

For the dedicated recreationalist, Buzbee suggests the local trifecta — ski in the morning, fish during the mid-day and golf in the afternoon. If someone is really up for a challenge, he noted they can throw in an evening of bowling.

Buzbee is a big believer in bringing fun back to the game of golf and a friendly clubhouse is where that starts. It’s also what brings people back to Gypsum Creek year after year.

First round of the season

Grant Murphy of Gypsum completed the first round at Gypsum Creek Feb. 18. A resident of the Chatfield Corners neighborhood, Murphy regularly drives past the course on his way home. A couple of weeks ago, he figured the course was dry enough to play.

“It was funny because that Saturday, I was trying to get some other people to play,” Murphy said. But his regular golfing buddies were busy, so he hit the links as a solo.

“I decided to go anyway so I could brag that I had played golf in Colorado in mid-February,” he said.

Murphy’s first round of the season was a couple of weeks ago, but it will only be one of many. Ever since the town of Gypsum took over ownership of Gypsum Creek (formerly Cotton Ranch Golf Club) Murphy and his wife have been season pass holders.

“We play a lot of golf,” he said. “After work is great. We can play nine holes or 12 holes or 22 holes. We just play until it gets dark,” he said.

As for present conditions at the course, Murphy said Gypsum Creek is looking good for 2017.

“The course is in really nice shape and the greens are rolling really well,” he said.

Caring for the course

Early season rounds can take a toll on the course, Buzbee said. Gypsum Creek requires carts to stay on the path in deference to those delicate spring turf conditions.

“The turf is pretty tough. When it goes to sleep in the winter, it doesn’t die, it goes dormant,” he said.

Greens are the most adaptable part of the course. “People are coming in and saying ‘Tom, the greens are putting really smooth right now,’” Buzbee said. “But divots now remain divots for a while. It takes some time for early season divots to recover.”

As duffers head out for their spring rounds, they will notice some construction at the course. During March, April and May work will be completed on a new $1.8 million irrigation system at the course.

Buzbee noted that half of the irrigation work was completed last year and crews will mobilize at the site again next week to complete the improvements.

“We will be closing one hole at a time and having players go to the next one. We will have a 17-hole golf course but players can play (the first hole) a second time to get their 18.”

Looking ahead, Buzbee is excited about the new irrigation system, saying it will do a better job watering the course while using less water than the previous system.


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