Rich Erickson, of Steamboat Springs, plays a round of golf at Yampa Valley Golf Course, which opened two weeks earlier than normal this season. Jason Back, golf course professional, said out-of-town players are essential to the course’s financial success during the spring months.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Rich Erickson, of Steamboat Springs, plays a round of golf at Yampa Valley Golf Course, which opened two weeks earlier than normal this season. Jason Back, golf course professional, said out-of-town players are essential to the course’s financial success during the spring months.

Out-of-town play boost Yampa Valley Golf Course revenues in first 3 weeks

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Schedule ...

2012 Yampa Valley Golf Course tournament schedule:

• Moffat County High School girls golf tournament — April 30

• Dirt Hog Scramble — May 12

• Ladies Club Early Bird Eclectic — May 19 and 20

• Pro Am — June 1

• Men’s Doubles — June 2

• The Memorial Hospital Foundation Golf Tournament — June 22

• Ladies Doubles — June 23 and 24

• 45th annual Cottonwood Classic — June 29 to July 1

• 26th annual Silver Bullet — July 14 and 15

• Yampa River Junior Classic — July 31

• Club Championship — Aug. 18 and 19

• Moffat County High School boys golf tournament — Sept. 5

• No Down Couples — Sept. 8 and 9

• 13th annual Rally For the Cure — Oct. 6

— Schedule is subject to change with additions, cancellations and rescheduling

Last year, the Yampa Valley Golf Course had just less than 900 rounds played in the first three weeks the course was open.

This season, almost 1,800 rounds have been played in the first three weeks, about double last year’s total. And, the course opened two weeks earlier than last year thanks to a mild winter and a warm spring.

The golf course opened March 16 and has been open every day since, racking up 1,057 rounds played by non-members and 720 member-rounds through Sunday.

Jason Back, the golf course professional, said the early-season play has been huge in trying to make up for last year’s loss in revenue.

“We were down about $40,000 last year because of a long winter and flooding in June,” he said Monday. “We were only open about 12 days between April and May, so we lost a lot of our out-of-town players as well as green fees and cart fees. Already we are roughly $30,000 ahead of where we were last year, so getting open early was a big deal for us.”

In the spring and especially April, Back said Steamboat Springs’ players are vital to financial success for the course.

Haymaker Golf Course in Steamboat won’t open until May 1, so Back said he is trying to capitalize on the void for Steamboat players.

“Like other businesses, if you are the only one in town everyone is going to come to you,” Back said. “The Steamboat players have brought our course extra revenue and helped us jump out to a good start to this season. We will continue to see them come through April, but we are also trying to work on some packages to encourage them to keep coming throughout the summer.”

Mike Saari, of Steamboat Springs, is a ranger at Haymaker Golf Course, but said he has been coming out to Craig in the early season since 1982.

Along with his wife and two friends, Saari played a round Monday and said the course has been great so far this year.

“We came out here the first weekend it was open in March and the course has been in great shape,” he said. “It’s a nice course and by coming here, we get to start playing earlier than others and get a head start.

“You get to a point where you have had enough skiing and are itching to play golf, so being able to play in Craig helps that for us.”

While the course opened two weeks earlier than normal, Back said he and the course’s superintendent, Tim Boyle, were ready whenever the weather let up.

“The winter was mild and the spring has been really dry, so it has helped get the course ready early in the season,” Back said. “Tim had to clean up some tree branches and look for snow mold, but we really had everything ready to go in February because we were hoping for an early opening.

“When we put stuff away in the fall, we make sure, for the most part, it is ready to go come the spring.”

The course’s first tournament will be the Moffat County High School girls golf tournament scheduled for April 30.

Back said he usually likes to keep most of April void of tournaments for circumstances just like this year.

“In April you never know when you will be open or closed, so we like to keep weekends open so we can collect play and business,” he said. “We have had a lot of early traffic and it has been great to be able to get people out so many days in the spring.”

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