RVR: Great golf at a great price | AspenTimes.com
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RVR: Great golf at a great price

Eben Harrell

Aspen golfers hoping to move to lower elevations this fall in search of higher temperatures and lower greens fees need not go far. Carbondale’s River Valley Ranch has a special offer beginning Sept. 7: Walk the course at any time for $40.Almost literally in the shadow of Mount Sopris, with holes snaking as easily and naturally around its property as the Crystal River from which the facility gets its name, River Valley Ranch might be the most enjoyable course to play in the valley (and I’m including all the valley’s private courses, so those Aspen duffers who look mournfully in the direction of the Maroon Creek Club from the public driving range take note). It’s beautiful, but without the gimmicky elevation changes and ostentatious features of other mountain courses. And it’s tough, but not “throw your club in despair only to spend the next 15 minutes searching for it in knee-high rough” tough like other championship courses. And unlike in years’ past, where you could hardly see the mustache-thin fairways in the King Lear-like beard of the rough, RVR has removed almost all its native grass and rough areas. The greens, too, have been slowed. This will likely infuriate good players, while keeping the majority of hacks happy. Slow greens equal less three-putts for hacks, but also less one-putts for good players. Good players try to hole the most amount of putts, while hacks try only to miss the least amount of putts.Regardless, for the first time, River Valley Ranch is not just beautiful, challenging and enjoyable, it’s cheap. Throw in an extra $10 (for a total of $50), and you can take a cart. Any day. Any time. This, of course, spells bad news for the valley’s golf industry – there’s what, seven golf courses now? – when a top-notch facility like RVR needs to drop its rates so dramatically (it used to cost well over $100 to play when the course first opened), but who’s complaining?Heck, you might like the prices so much that you end up buying a 20-punch pass. Before the end of October, a 20-puncher costs $1,000, which for you golfers out there with math deficiencies – and I’ve seen enough questionable scorecards to know there’s plenty of you – that works out to $50 a round, cart included. Call 963-3625 for more information.Eben Harrell’s e-mail is eharrell@aspentimes.com


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