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Red Sky brings big names to valley golf

Tom Boyd

Chuck Cook golf academy open to publicQuestion: What do John Elway, Dan Marino, Mike Shanahan, and Greg Norman have in common?Answer: the Red Sky Ranch Golf Club in Wolcott, where the foursome will tee off as part of the opening ceremonies for the new Norman-designed 18-hole golf course there. It’s the second of two courses built at the private Red Sky facility, which offers memberships for an up-front fee of $175,000 and about $6,000 a year thereafter.The Norman course includes the new member clubhouse, and promises to be more challenging than the Tom Fazio-designed course, which opened last year along with the guest clubhouse. The Norman course is a 7,500-yard par 72, and the Fazio course is a forgiving 7,113-yard par 72.The fanfare for the Norman opening is by invitation only, but the football stars and Norman are rumored to be in town for the weekend, relaxing and enjoying life in the high country.Although Elway, Marino, Shanahan, Fazio and Norman certainly top out the list of big names associated with Red Sky, another name may bring more golfing prestige to the club than anyone else: Chuck Cook.Cook has moved his golf school to Red Sky, and Vail Resorts, which owns and operates Red Sky, recently announced that his golf academy is open to the public.”Now that the academy is open to the public, locals and out-of-town guests can enjoy specialized attention from one of the top golf teachers in the world,&quot said Jeff Hanson, director of golf for Red Sky Golf Club.Since the academy includes an on-course play section, this is also one of the rare ways for the general public to get out and play the Fazio and Norman courses at Red Sky.Cook, who was named by Golf Digest as one of the top 10 best teachers in 2002, has taught and worked with a series of well-known PGA professional, including Tom Kite, Payne Stewart, Corey Pavin, Bob Estes, Omar Uresti, and 1997 U.S. Amateur Champion Silvia Cavallieri.”Chuck Cook helped me raise my game to a new level,” Pavin raves on Cook’s Web site at http://www.golfspan.com/instructors/ccook. “Chuck helped me to ‘balance out,’ so to speak, my ball flight.”Cook’s clinics are about two or three days long, and feature customized classroom and practice instruction, including a 350-yard, double-ended practice facility and a short game area with three specialized greens.Beside signing up for a Cook clinic, joining Red Sky, or being invited by a member, the only way to get onto the Norman and Fazio courses is to stay at special Vail Resorts-owned properties (see break-out box). For an undisclosed extra fee, lodgers can play the courses and experience “member for a day” status.”We’re really dedicated to this idea of being a member for a day,” says Red Sky pro Chris Lai. “In the way that we treat people, the personalized service, and the atmosphere, we want guests to feel that this is their golf course.”Members and guests will alternate play on each day between the Fazio and the Norman course. With stellar greens, lots of playing space, gourmet food, and perks like a digital GPS map on golf carts, the Red Sky Ranch experience is certainly cushy, if not downright plush.Red Sky also recently announced the opening of the Silver Sage restaurant, located in the new, 24,000-square-foot Member Clubhouse. The restaurant is open to the public for evening dining beginning July 3.Chuck Cook golf academy scheduleTwo-day Academy ClinicsJune: 25-26 July: 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 30-31 Aug: 13-14, 20-21Sept: 3-4, 10-11, 17-18Three-day Academy ClinicsJune: 20-22, 27-29July: 4-6, 25-27Aug: 1-3, 8-10, 22-24Sept: 5-7, 12-14, 19-21Price of a two-day academy clinic is $1,195. Price of a three-day academy clinic is $1,895. Price includes all phases of the game instruction, including putting, short game, bunkers, pitching and full-swing; video instruction; take-home video; on-course play instruction on either the Tom Fazio course or Greg Norman course; daily lunch and refreshments and a complimentary gift bag. For more information or to book reservations for the Chuck Cook Golf Academy, call (970) 477-8400 or toll-free at (866) 873-3759.Here are the Vail Resorts managed properties that offer a membership for a day at Red Sky Ranch:The Lodge at VailThe Inn at Beaver CreekVail Marriott Mountain Resort & SpaThe Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor GulchThe Pines LodgeVail/Beaver Creek Resort Properties condominiums and private residences


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