Options for golf abound in Aspen, the valley | AspenTimes.com

Options for golf abound in Aspen, the valley

Keith Bryant of Carbondale takes advantage of a blue sky day to work on his swing a the Aspen Golf Club driving range.

ASPEN ” If it weren’t for the mountains and the whole skiing thing, Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley might be best known as a golfing Mecca.

No fewer than nine courses line the valley floor from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, including two private signature Jack Nicklaus courses in the midvalley and one of the most beautiful municipal courses in the state, the Aspen Golf Club. At 7,136 yards, it is also one of the longest in the state.

Being that this is golf, in and around Aspen, no less, it comes as no surprise that a round of 18 at a local course can be an expensive proposition ” even on the public courses. The Aspen Golf Club charges $105 to play a full round during the prime hours of the summer high season, while greens fees at the semi-private Snowmass Club run a steep $220 during the same time of year. That’s a lot cheaper than the $256 you have to cough up to play as an unaccompanied guest at the private Nicklaus signature course at the Aspen Glen Club in Carbondale. (Unless you know a member, and can get on for $131.)

As for a round at the immaculate Roaring Fork Club at Basalt ” the second of the two Nicklaus courses ” don’t even bother calling to reserve a tee time unless you know a member.

For the average Joe Duffer, however, there are still places in the valley where you can swing a wood without putting a divot in your wallet. At the top of that list is the par-3, nine-hole Ranch at Roaring Fork in Carbondale ” a great spot to squeeze in a round after work or during lunch. And $17 for a round means you’re paying just under two bucks a hole.

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A number of courses in the valley, including the public River Valley Golf Club in Carbondale, also offer off-season rates and late-day discounts. After 5 p.m. in the swing season, non-residents can play the course for just $35 ” more than half off the summer high-season rate of $80.

Following is a list of all the courses in the valley:


39551 Highway 82, Aspen. (970) 379-3374

A former cow pasture that makes up for its lack of elevation changes with water on nearly every hole, this championship course is one of the longest municipals in the state, topping out at 7,136 yards. One of the more difficult courses in the valley with the multiple water hazards, trees and other hazards is also one of the most enjoyable to walk. It offers views of Pyramid Peak, Mt. Hayden and Independence Pass. In great shape for a municipal course, but can get crowded during the summer high season.

Type: Public, 18 holes, par 71

Green fees through Sept. 14: 18 holes: $105 from 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; $75 from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., $52.50 from 3:30 a.m. To close. From Sept. 15-28, 18 holes before 1 p.m. Costs $75.

Tee times: Five days in advance, from 6:30 a.m.

Dress code: Collared shirts, no jeans, no metal spikes.

Designer: Frank Hummel

Tee boxes: Blue, 6,432 yards; White, 5,579; Red, 5,222; Gold, 7,136.

Practice: Driving range, chipping area, practice bunker.

Amenities: Restaurant, bar, snack bar.

Directions: One mile west of downtown Aspen on Highway 82.


0239 Snowmass Club Circle, Snowmass Village. (970) 923-5600

Redesigned in 2003, Jim Engh’s 7,008-yard course features an undulating landscape with seven different grasses including bent greens, bluegrass fairways and native Colorado mix. The melange creates a unique setting characterized as an “Irish links course with mountain flair.” The course was voted the sixth-best “New Upscale Public Course” by Golf Digest in 2004 and the No. 16 “Resort Course in North America” by Conde Nast Traveler, in 2004.

Type: Semi-private (members only before 1 p.m.), 18 holes, par 72

Green fees: Public, summer: 18 holes, $220; 9 holes, $110. Late season (Sept. 15-Oct. 12): 18 holes, $145; 9 holes and twilight, $75

Tee times: One day in advance

Dress code: No jeans, collared shirt, no metal spikes.

Designer: Jim Engh

Tee boxes: Black, 7,008 yards; Blue, 6,559 yards; White, 6,126 yards; Gold, 5,471; Green, 4,736.

Practice: Driving range, chipping green and putting green.

Amenities: Restaurant, bar, pro shop, tennis.

Directions: Take Highway 82 to Brush Creek Road, and then go 2 miles to Highline Road. Turn left on Highline and take first right to the club.

10 Club Circle Road, Aspen. (970) 920-1533

Opened in 1995, this private, challenging Tom Fazio course features two-tiered greens and sloping fairways, and sits alongside the banks of the Maroon Creek at the base of Buttermilk Mountain. There is an assortment of creeks and ponds that come into play on 12 holes, and the first four holes play over a former working ranch bordered by native sagebrush. The remaining 14 holes snake through alpine meadows, climb up a canyon wall and play alongside Maroon Creek and a ravine. The signature par-3, 196-yard seventh hole requires an elevated tee shot to a well-sloped green protected by a creek on the left. Gorgeous flowers speckle the course during the high season. The course was ranked the 17th-best course in Colorado in 2005 by Golf Digest.

Type: Private, 18 holes, par 70

Green Fees: By member invitation only.

Tee times: Seven days in advance, from 7:30 a.m.

Dress code: No denim, collared shirt and golf slacks or shorts required.

Designer: Tom Fazio

Tee boxes: Black, 7,110 yards; Gold, 6,802 yards; Blue, 6,323 yards; Green, 5,802 yards; Red, 5,111 yards.

Practice: Driving range, chipping green, practice bunker, pro shop.

Amenities: Restaurant, bar, snack bar.

Directions: Located just across from Buttermilk Ski Area on Highway 82.


100 Arbaney Ranch Road, Basalt. (970) 927-9100

A Nicklaus signature course that runs along both sides of the Roaring Fork River in a parkland setting, and features tight, memorable holes, tricky greens, acres of wildflowers and plenty of water stocked with massive trout. The course’s signature hole is the par-4 sixth, where you have to hit over the river to reach the green. This course is uncrowded and in immaculate condition.

Type: Private, 18 holes, par 72

Green fees: Invitation only

Dress code: No denim, collared shirt and spikeless shoes required.

Designer: Jack Nicklaus

Tee boxes: Black, 7,130 yards; White, 6,582 yards; Sage, 6,018; Rose, 5,255.

Practice: Driving range, chipping and putting greens, bunkers.

Amenities: Restaurant, pro shop, pool, tennis.

Directions: One mile south of Basalt on Highway 82.

14913 Hwy 82, Carbondale. (970) 963-4410

This public par-3, 9-hole “executive” course is the exception to the high-end, high-priced courses that permeate the valley, and is ideal for squeezing in a short round after work or another activity. (And for $17 a round, there’s no beating the price.) The course features open fairways, some water features and is well maintained. It’s also a great place for beginners and kids.

Green fees: $17

Tee times: First come, first served

Dress code: Soft spikes, smooth soled shoes

Designer: Unknown

Tee boxes: Red, 1,018 yards; White, 1,108 yards

Practice: Putting green

Amenities: Concession area

Directions: Off Highway 82 between mile markers 14 and 15


0545 Bald Eagle Way, Carbondale. (970) 704-1988

Opened in 1997, this private Jack Nicklaus course downvalley from Carbondale is one of the most scenic in the valley, with regal Mount Sopris in the backdrop and the Roaring Fork River running through its 18-hole layout. The signature 18th hole features the only natural island green in the state. Wide open fairways and expansive greens provide incentive for taking risks. Play is typically uncrowded, and the course is kept in immaculate condition.

Type: Private, 18 holes, par 72

Green fees: Accompanied guests, $131; Unaccompanied, $256

Tee Times: Seven days in advance, from 7:30 a.m.

Dress code: No denim, collared shirt and Bermuda shorts required.

Designer: Nicklaus/Nicklaus II

Tee boxes: Gold, 7,455 yards; Blue, 6,830 yards; White, 6,181 yards; Green, 5,342 yards

Practice: Driving range, chipping and putting greens.

Amenities: Restaurant, pro shop, beverage carts.

Directions: From Glenwood Springs, take Highway 82 12 miles toward Aspen. Club is on the right.


303 River Valley Ranch Dr., Cardondale. (970) 963-3625

Designed by Jay Moorish, this gently sloping, open course on the banks of the Crystal River was cut from farmland and offers spectacular views from Mount Sopris from every hole. The 18-hole course has a number of unique, challenging holes, including eight that feature water hazards. Play is typically uncrowded, and the course is very walkable.

Type: Public, 18 holes, par 72

Green fees: High-season summer rates for non-residents are $80 before 3 p.m.; $50 after 3 p.m. and $35 after 5 p.m. Local rates available for residents of Pitkin, Garfield and Eagle counties with photo ID.

Tee times: Two weeks in advance, from 7 a.m.

Dress code: No denim, collared shirt and spikeless shoes required.

Designer: Jay Morrish

Tee Boxes: Black, 7,348 yards; Blue, 6,600 yards; White, 5,964; Red, 5,168 yards

Directions: Turn on Highway 133 off Highway 82. After two miles, turn right on River Valley Ranch Drive and go 1/4 mile to the clubhouse on the right.

193 Sunny Acres Road, Glenwood Springs. 970-945-7086

Built in 1952, this course of small undualating greens is nicknamed “The Hill” because everything’s on a slope. Not a long course, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in challenging greens and fairways.

Type: Public, 9 holes, par 35

Green fees: 18 holes, $37/walk, $22/walk; cart is $16 for 9 holes, $30 for 18

Tee times: One week in advance from 7 a.m.

Dress code: No tank tops or cutoffs. Appropriate golf attire appreciated.

Designer: Henry Hughes.

Tee boxes: (9 holes)

Women’s ” slope: 120, rating: 69.4; 2,566 yards

Men’s ” slope: 112, rating: 67.3; 2,947 yards

Practice: Putting and chipping greens, lessons.

Amenities: Pro shop and restaurant.

Directions: Take 1-70 to exit 116 (Glenwood Springs). Turn left at 6th Street and go west until a fork in the road (1 mile). Veer right to Nonegan Road and turn right at Sunny Acres Road (about 1/2 mile.)

430 Ironbridge Dr., Glenwood Springs. 970-384-0630

The course is named for the historic old iron bridge crossing the nearby Roaring Fork River. Tackle this highly rated course you’ll have a 495-foot elevation gain (from pro shop to hole 12) to contend with and beautiful views along the Roaring Fork River. Two streams, five lakes, three tunnels and 19 bridges make for lively scenery.

Type: Private, but Garfield County residents can play on a limited basis. 18 holes, par 72.

Public green fees: Garfield County residents can play six times a year at a price of $88 unaccompanied.

Designer: Arthur Hills.

Tee times: No restriction. Flexibility varies depending on the time of year.

Tee boxes: Black ” slope: 140; rating: 73.3; 7,224 yards.

Blue ” slope: 133; rating: 71.4; 6,706 yards.

White ” slope: 130; rating: 69.4; 6,208 yards.

Dress code: Golf attire required. No jeans or cutoffs, no sweats.

Amenities: Pro shop, concessions.

Directions: From Glenwood Springs, go five miles south on Highway 82 toward Aspen. Turn right on Westbank Road. Cross the bridge through the housing area and follow Westbank Road to the course.

Rifle Creek Golf Course

3004 State Highway 325, Rifle. 970-625-1093

Public, 18 holes, par 72

Lakota Canyon Ranch Golf Club

1000 Clubhouse Dr., New Castle. 970-984-9700

Public, 18, par 72

Battlement Mesa Golf Club

3930 N. Battlement Parkway, Battlement Mesa. 970-285-7274

Public, 18 holes, par 72

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