Ski in the morning, golf in the afternoon
Gypsum Creek is still under snow now, but the course is traditionally first to open each spring
GYPSUM — While local recreationists revel in one of the best snow seasons in recent history, the folks at the Gypsum Creek Golf Course are already contemplating their 2019 season.
For the past five years, the course has been open for business by the end of February. With this winter’s solid blanket of snow covering the fairways and greens, a February opening isn’t looking likely this spring. Right now there are Nordic tracks crisscrossing the course and skiers and snowshoers trekking around the site report spotting mule deer, cranes and eagles.
“I still think we can be open by the first part of March so players can ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon,” said Christy Martin, Gypsum Creek Golf Club operations manager. “Generally speaking, we see about a 10-month season here in Gypsum.
As Gypsum Creek Golf Course looks ahead to its coming season, there are some changes afoot. Long time Director of Golf Tom Buzbee has departed, taking a new position in Boulder. While there is a new guy in charge at Gypsum Creek, you find a more senior employee.
“I was the first employee here,” said Gypsum Creek Golf Course Director of Golf Blake Scott. “I was 13 when they hired me to do pick up at the driving range.”
“I was on the first Eagle Valley High School golf team here,” Scott continued.
After he graduated from Eagle Valley High School (EVHS), he attended the San Diego Golf Academy. He went on to work at the Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch courses as well as courses in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Austin, Texas.
“Then I came back to the valley to take care of my family’s ranches seven years ago,” Scott said. Buzbee asked if he would be interested in a job at Gypsum Creek and Scott returned to the course.
“I feel so blessed that this is my home golf course and I get to work to keep this place sustainable and going for a long time,” Scott said.
Looking into 2019, Scott said the core mission at Gypsum Creek Golf Course will remain the same — working to grow new golfers. The crew tackles that mission with youth programs, special events and Colorado Golf Association ties.
“EVHS has the largest golf teams — both boys and girls — in the state of Colorado,” said Scott. “We are finding that our junior programs are giving us big numbers when the kids get to high school.”
This year, there were 35 boys and 33 girls participating in the Devils golf teams. Additionally, the course participates in the First Tee program and partners with Mountain Recreation to offer junior golf instruction.
But the course’s outreach isn’t limited to kids. Adult golfers of all abilities can learn the game, hone their skills and join friendly competition at the course.
“We just want everyone who comes out here to have a great time,” said Martin.
New year, new rules
Martin noted that the United States Golf Association has introduced 19 new rules for 2019 and the Gypsum course will launch its programming this year with a seminar to educate local golfers.
“The USGA and the Colorado Golf Association (CGA) are doing seminars all over the place to teach people about the new rules of golf,” said Martin. The Gypsum session is planned Thursday, Feb. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the course. The seminar costs $25 and includes lunch. For additional information visit http://www.coloradogolf.org.
Martin said the CGA will host a ladies clinic in Gypsum on June 8 that includes instruction on the various aspects of the game and a luncheon.
“I actually participated in one of these clinics at Pelican Lakes Golf Course on the Front Ranch,” said Martin. “It is a really fun class for everyone from the novice to someone who wants to refine the things they already know.”
On Sept. 7 and 8, a CGA women’s tournament is planned at the site.
“Then we have our own events here,” Martin said.
The first 2019 event at the Gypsum Golf Course will be the Frostbite Tournament, planned April 13 and 14. The tournament is a four-person scramble with special 8-inch holes installed for the event.
Closing out play at the course each year is the Fall Frost Tournament, planned in early November.
“The name says it all. Everything goes and we play no matter what the weather is like,” said Martin.
Various charity tournaments will also populate the course calendar and Martin and Scott hope to top 20,000 rounds played at the Pete Dye-designed course this year.
“Our rates are the most competitive in the valley,” Martin said.
Even though the course is under snow right now, Scott said anticipates great conditions at Gypsum Creek this year. He noted two years ago the town of Gypsum financed a massive remodel of the course’s irrigation system which resulted in a 40 percent reduction in water use and better playing conditions than ever.
“I think want I am most excited about is the condition of our golf course this year,” said Scott.
To learn more visit http://www.gypsumcreekgolf.com.
Chris Anthony’s documentary film project chronicles post-war activities of the 10th Mountain Division.