Golf course opening makes spring official

Sean Smith had been anticipating the "ding" of graphite on plastic all winter. He didn't even mind that his first golf shot of 2006 at Yampa Valley Golf Course was way, way right.

"I was waiting for that swing for a long time," the Moffat County High School sophomore said. "We won't talk about how bad it was."

Smith, who also works at the golf course, was out with friends Tuesday to take advantage of the fourth day that the course had been open.

"We opened up on Saturday, which is traditionally around our opening date," golf course professional Chuck Cobb said.

The past two years, the course had opened in early March because of unseasonably warm weather in February. That wasn't the case this year, but Cobb expects to see extra business from Steamboat Springs because of the amounts of snow our neighbors to the east have.

"I wouldn't expect any course in Steamboat to open until May 1," he said. "We will probably be extremely busy because of everybody having cabin fever and from no other course being open."

The back nine was first opened on Saturday and Cobb said he expected to have the front nine open by the end of the week.

Cobb said he thought about 100 golfers were on the course Tuesday.

"It's in pretty good shape except for the problems we've had with the elk," he said. "We had 150 to 250 elk on the course consistently the last few months. There are droppings all over and they have clawed up some of the greens."

Golfers will see several additions when they first make it to the course. The clubhouse has a new, wider deck on the north side, and there are also new golf carts.

Cobb said another improvement this year is an updated Web site.

The site, www.yampavalleygolf.com, will have updated scores, as well as weather reports this year.

Green fees will remain the same this year -- $22 for 18 holes for resident adults, $30 for 18 for nonresident adults -- but cart fees are changing from a per-cart charge to a per-person charge.

The first major event at the course this spring will be the traditional Dirt Hog Scramble on April 22.

The men's league has tentative plans for an event today, weather permitting.

The league also will hold its opening meeting on April 6. Reservations for the meeting can be made by calling the clubhouse at 824-3673.

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