Yampa Valley Golf Course still open | CraigDailyPress.com

Yampa Valley Golf Course still open

John Vandelinder

Haymaker Golf Course – closed.

Catamount Golf Club – closed.

Meeker Golf Course – closed.

Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club – closed.

Steamboat Golf Club – closed.

Cedar Ridges Golf Course – closed.

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Rifle Creek Golf Course – closed.

Yampa Valley Golf Course – open for business.

Call Brett Etzler crazy, but Yampa Valley Golf Course’s resident PGA professional still is working.

Each and every golf course within 100 miles of Craig has been shut down for the winter season, except for the one located in Craig’s backyard.

The greens are frozen, the grass is brown and placing a tee in the ground is more difficult than usual, but yet, ball-strikers from around the area still are teeing it up.

“We still have people calling and booking tee times,” Etzler said. “We are the only club that is open, and we stay open until we’re covered in snow.

“We have a group of guys that play every day no matter how cold it is.”

Tee times are scheduled later – allowing the course time to defrost – but that hasn’t stopped residents from hitting the links.

Two brave golfers were checking in Wednesday, knit caps on their heads, gloves on their hands, and a winter golf strategy that only can be had from experience.

“We play every day,” Lou Hahn said. “You have to dress warm, and since the ground is frozen, you have to carry an ice pick and bore a hole in the ground so you can get your tee in. You have to hit your approach shots short because the greens are frozen and the ball just rolls off.”

“And make sure your partner is drunker than you are,” Randy Runyan chimed in, laughing. “You better have winter gloves and stocking caps.”

Hahn has been hitting Craig’s links for more than 20 years – Runyan, more than 30.

Sun, rain or snow, the duo has played through it all.

“I use an orange ball so I don’t lose it in the snow,” Hahn said. “Sometimes the ball gets so packed it’s the size of a softball when it stops rolling, but we don’t care, we just love golf.”

Apparently, 17,000 other people do, too.

That figure represents the number of rounds played this year on Craig’s links.

Up until Wednesday, that is.

“We were actually down about 10 percent from last year,” Etzler said. “I think with the way gas prices were this summer that people didn’t travel as much.”

But Etzler said that hosting this year’s boys high school 4A state championships was a great way to advertise the course.

“We will probably see the results from that, next summer,” he said. “A lot of people that hadn’t heard of us, did from that event.”

If the snow stays away, he might not have to wait for next summer.

The course is free to walkers today.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com