Vail Golf Club opens all 18 holes |

Vail Golf Club opens all 18 holes

SPT Vail Golf3 PU 7-6-07

VAIL, Colorado – It’s over and done.

Yes, the Vail Golf Club finished the renovation of its irrigation system toward the end of last season. The club opened nine holes last weekend and the full 18 this weekend, and the club is enjoying the benefits of the project.

“The fact that it’s finished is fantastic. It went more smoothly than anticipated,” Vail head professional Jeanne Sutherland said. “And the construction has been done really well. We have great turf and beautiful conditions.”

At Vail, the course is traditional, mostly laid out in front of the player. The Gore Creek is a constant presence and there’s plenty of challenge with four different sets of tees. What distinguishes Vail is very simple – the loop sits at the base of the Gore Range and views are outstanding.

“I think there are some of the most beautiful views is golf,” Sutherland said. “When you go from No. 6 to 13 and face the mountains, it’s incredible.”

Course tour

After a straight-forward opening hole to ease the golfer into the round, challenge lurks in on No. 2. It’s only 325 yards from the blue-square tees – the tips are called the black diamonds because this is still a ski town, even in the summer.

Golfers have to hit through a chute of trees and carry Gore Creek onto a thin fairway. The approach to a two-tiered greed is guarded by bunkers right.

“I like tough, short par-4s,” Sutherland said. “I think it’s a great formula. It looks pretty simple on the card, and it’s really anything but simple.”

There are new tee boxes on the par-3 third, but do watch this crowned green. Many a good looking tee shots are not as good when you get to the green. This one is hard to stick.

After two par-4s take you to the western limits of the course, it’s time for No. 6. Not only does this hole start the progression toward the Gore Range, but it’s No. 1 on the card.

Actually a par-5 for those playing from the forward tees, the sixth is 423 yards from the blues. It doglegs left and the shot is driver slightly right to get a nice left roll from the sloping fairway. The approach isn’t easy either with two all-too-inviting bunkers in front of the green. This hole tests every part of your game.

Club down on the par-3 seventh, one of two drop shots on the course and then get ready for the first traditional par-5 on the course. The Gore Creek at around 130 yards from the putting surface makes a golfer think about going for this in two.

There’s a lot of argument about what is the signature hole at Vail, but there’s no debating that holes 10-13 have spectacular views and are challenging ones. Gore Creek cuts across the tee shot at 11 and is all along the right side of that hole.

No. 12 is just a long par-5. While there are no hazards here, this tee shot is an intimidating one because of the length of the hole.

In Sutherland’s opinion, the par-4, 14th is the course’s signature hole. It’s 416 yards and the two-tiered green is elevated and guarded by Gore Creek. If you don’t have a good tee shot, it’s generally not a good idea to be a hero here – lay up.

Golfers will definitely remember the 15th. It’s only 97 yards on the card and plays shorter than that. The par-3 is just a short hop over Gore Creek in theory, but this can be knee-knocking time.

The final three holes – dogleg left par-4 a long par-3 and the home hole par-5 provide a challenge for the end of the round. The 18th is a birdie opportunity, which is always a good way to end the day.

Chip shots

All rate information for the Vail Golf Club is available on With Vail being a very walkable loop, there are reasonable rates even during peak season for those with Eagle County residence. Details for season passes can be found there as well. … If you do like to ride, Vail has a new fleet of carts this season. … Once the season gets going, Vail will have Bud Light Tuesdays. Before the Hot Summer Nights concert series, go the Vail Golf Club for 2$25 bucks. Hit some range balls, get some instruction from the staff and two beers are included. … To make a tee time, call 970-479-2260.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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