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Resort course a nice partner

Eben Harrell

As readers of this column will know, the Aspen Golf Course is my home course. And one aspect of having a home course is an obligation to be fiercely protective of its merits. At your home course, you can complain about pin positions, bumpy greens and the group in front who forgot to rake the trap. But when it comes down to it, there’s no place you’d rather be.What’s great about this marriage, however, is that infidelity is neither noticed nor punished; you can sneak off for an afternoon to some hot new 18-holer down the road, and there’s no screaming match upon your return (although your weekly playing partners may sulk some that they weren’t invited).This summer, Aspen golfers finally have this opportunity with the opening of the new Snowmass Club course, a mere 12-minute drive from Aspen’s first tee (I timed it). It’s a so-called “resort course,” which is a shortened and euphemistic way of saying “a course that looks tough but is actually easy so we can fool the average hacker into thinking he played well even though he really sucks, and will continue sucking until he takes up an easier activity such as fishing or particle physics.”Which is not to say the course isn’t fun to play; after the grinding punishment of Aspen from the gold tees, playing Snowmass is like reading “The Hardy Boys” after putting down James Joyce. Nor is it to say it’s not a good course: Elaborate, giant bunkering, dramatic approach shots and undulating greens make each hole a grand amphitheater to itself.It’s just the glory cannot last. After 18 holes there, you leave with your confidence and love for the game inspired, something sure to be crushed as soon as you next tee it up in Aspen.For local golfers who fancy a round at Snowmass, but don’t like the $150 green fee, the Snowmass Club has organized a nine-hole event on Friday. Show up by 3:30 p.m., pay $50 and you are paired up with three golfers of varying abilities in a nine-hole competition for a cash prize ranging between $400 and $450. It’s the cheapest way to the play the course, and also the most social. Stay tuned for a recount of Friday’s event.Eben Harrell’s e-mail is eharrell@aspentimes.com


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