Warm and sunny temperatures have been melting the snow in Craig for weeks, and last weekend the weather did enough to bring golf back to the community early.
Yampa Valley Golf Course opened its back nine holes to walking players Monday as the last of the snow on and around holes 10 through 18 melted away.
If the weather maintains its current course, the front nine, which deals with more tree coverage further away from the YVGC clubhouse, also could open up, Superintendent Tim Boyle said.
“Once the snow’s gone, we’re playing,” Boyle said. “If the greens look bad, then they look bad and you deal with it. But it wintered fairly well. There’s minimal damage on the course, and the greens came out looking 99 percent in really good shape.”
The March 3 opening is as early as the course has ever opened, as far as Boyle knows. It happened due to a lengthy, unbroken period of warm temperatures.
“I’m a little shocked,” Boyle said. “Friday when I went out of town, I thought maybe another week til we could open. Then I came back and said to myself, ‘Where’d (the snow) go?’”
The early-season opening has put the course’s new head golf pro to work in a hurry. Bob Mueller came to Craig on a permanent basis during the weekend and found out he would need to learn the ins and outs of YVGC right away.
“Within 24 hours of me getting here the course opened up,” Mueller said. “So that was fun. But everyone’s been extremely helpful so far.”
Mueller is coming to Craig after living in Longmont for the past three years. After being a golf pro for nearly 21 years in Virginia, North Carolina and California, he said running a course in a small town has been his goal.
“I’ve been looking for a job like this since the heyday of my career,” he said. “Be the pro at a small town in the mountains with lots to do outdoors. I’ve been wanting this for a long time.”
The small community atmosphere of Craig was a draw for Mueller and his family. His wife and two sons, ages 13 and 10, will move to Craig after the school year ends and are excited for the change, he said.
One of the first things Mueller did upon arriving was see the Kiwanis play, which he laughingly called “a nice introduction to Craig.”
Since then, it’s been learning the ropes at YVGC as quickly as possible. Mueller said he hopes to use what is already great about the course and expand on it.
“It’s not that different than any other course in the country, where your goal is to get more people coming out and playing from all over,” he said. “Being a rural course, obviously that’s more of a challenge but I look forward to working for that here. This course is a hidden gem.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.