Royalty of sports realm opens Norman course |

Royalty of sports realm opens Norman course

Andrew Harley

Red Sky Ranch rolled out the lush, green carpet for four of mightiest kings of the athletic world Saturday.

Greg Norman, John Elway, Mike Shanahan and Dan Marino played the first official round of golf at Colorado’s first Greg Norman-designed course at Red Sky Ranch.

Marino, Elway and Shanahan played a three-man, best-ball scramble against Norman’s score. To make it even harder for himself, Norman gave the three the combined strokes of their handicaps.

Norman shot a 5-under 67 on his course, which plays 7,556 yards from the tips, and lost by one stroke.

“I played fairly well,” said Norman. “Not well enough to beat those other amateurs, though. Mike Shanahan played really well. I had to give him 13 strokes, when I should have only given him 6 or 7. He’s a coach, he stuck to his gameplan and surgically took me apart.”

Norman says he’s built approximately 39 golf courses, he’ll be building four more this year and has 17 more under contract.

For Elway, the round served as part of his 43rd-birthday party.

“We had a cake for him earlier,” said Marino. “He’s 43.”

“A young and spry 43,” said Elway, who won some money off of Marino from sidebets on a birdie game.

“He’s gonna need it to get home because he can’t find his wallet,” said Marino.

All four sporting gods received large checks to donate to their favorite charities.

“Greg did a great job with the golf course,” said Elway. “It’s high in the mountains, and the ball stays in the air for a long time, which makes tee shots a lot more fun. and Greg’s just a great guy, friendly. He gave us a couple of putting tips, which are always helpful.”

“(When it comes to putting) I’d choose John to take those long putts. I use a long putter now, but it’s taken me a long time and a lot of putters to get to this one,” said Marino.

The Norman course features narrow fairways, small greens and favors long hitters. The course includes a 24,000-square-foot member clubhouse with lunch for members only – dining is available to the public in the evenings. The clubhouse includes a full-service pro shop, outdoor swimming pool, a lounge and bar, locker rooms, two tennis courts, a member board room and a member-only driving range.

Andrew Harley is the sports writer for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 608 or by e-mail at

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