Eagle-Vail G.C. opens today | VailDaily.com

Eagle-Vail G.C. opens today

Special to the Daily The Eagle-Vail Golf Club opens today with 10 holes, including the par-5, 11th. This photo explains as well as it can be done that one should be very careful trying to get this green in two shots. Eagle-Vail is planning to open the rest of the course later this month.
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EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Just hit the ball straight.

Sure, that’s easier said than done, but it’s the key to a good round at the Eagle-Vail Golf Club, which opens up 10 holes today for the 2009 season with the course’s upper eight holes scheduled to start up later this month.

The bottom line at Eagle-Vail is to keep your shots on line because there is a lot of trouble packed into thi 6,591-yard course ” be it green-side bunkers, water or the forest.

“I heard someone say, ‘Don’t try to overpower Eagle-Vail. If you do, Eagle-Vail will win,'” Eagle-Vail head pro Ben Welsh said.

“It’s very playable for players of all abilities, The whole trend in golf coursers is making them longer. Eagle-Vail’s a shorter course that’s fun for someone who isn’t a long hitter, but still very challenging for an expert.”

For those looking to restart their game, Eagle-Vail is offering greens fees for $35 for 10 holes, including cart. The club is also selling season passes for Eagle-Vail residents and Eagle County golfers as well as punch cards and other plans.

The cart is your friend

In addition to a new driving range ball-dispensing machine, Eagle-Vail has a new fleet of carts this year. This is notable because, with apologies to purists of the game, one really does not want walk Eagle-Vail.

The course’s calling card is elevation change, which is made apparent by the 100-foot drop on the tee shot of the first hole, a 535-yard, par-5. After a long, dogleg right second, it’s through what the locals call Little Eisenhower Tunnel to four holes south of Highway 6.

As a disclaimer, I’m a passholder at Eagle-Vail, but at the same time, please take note that the greens on all four holes on this side of Highway 6 slide much more than you think toward the Eagle River.

No. 5 is a a short iron from 127 yards theoretically over the Eagle River to a small green guarded by two inviting bunkers. Six takes you right back over the Eagle with a reachable par-4. Why rafters, kayakers and fishermen use this stretch of the river is beyond the reasoning of the author.

Eagle-Vail turns west for the next four holes. Right on the par-5 eighth is the place to be for longer hitters trying to reach this one in two. The only problem with that is the fairway slopes to the right as well and toward Stone Creek. Eight has two greens ” a left and right. Please note the sign at the beginning of the hole for your approach.

For the next two holes it’s up into the mountains. The ninth is 425 yards and all downhill. While it’s tempting to pull driver and cut a little of the corner on this slight dogleg right par-4, keep in mind that the people who live along this hole have never seen the inside of a sporting good store for a reason. It’s wise to pull a long iron off the tee and leave yourself a manageable approach.

Do club down on 10 because it’s a long ways down on this dropping par-3. Front the white tees, use your 100-yard club. From the blues at 203 yards, it’s more like 150.

Coming home

The back nine unofficially opens with the par-5 11th. There’s lots of water on the right side on your approach. The surest way to big number here is to go for this in one in two. Three shots here, kids, unless you are on the PGA Tour. Trust your local sports editor.

Another reason to go easy on 11 is that there are two more par-5s on the back. The second par-5 ” No. 14 is long, but a total green light for birdies if you can get there. Do be below the pin here.

This starts a fantastic finish within an aspen grove. Beautiful most of the year, this stretch is must-play golf in the autumn. Nos. 15 and 16, both short par-4s with carries to elevated to greens guarded by water, generally determine whether you will reach your goal of breaking 100, 90 or 80.

On the last, a bookend downhill par-5, by all means, grip and rip. Birdie is possible to end your round on a high note.

To book a tee time or to purchase a season pass ” there is a reduced price for Eagle-Vail residents through May 15 ” call (970) 949-5267 or go to eaglevailgolfclub.com.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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