The U.X. open | AspenTimes.com
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The U.X. open

Eben Harrell

There’s nothing a golfer likes to do more than complain about course conditions. Nothing escapes his attention – bumpy greens, uneven tee boxes, even greenside sprinkler heads.”What is this sprinkler doing so close to the green?” a playing partner once barked at a nearby maintenance worker.”Um, watering it?” After playing for many years in Scotland, where the rub of the green feels like mostly like sandpaper (which is also their consistency), I consider myself lucky to play even poorly conditioned American courses. I swear Scottish courses have bipolar personality disorders; some days a Scottish course will spit your ball form every conceivable angle into the middle of the fairway, as if the course was having such a good day it couldn’t stand to see yours ruined. Other days it will gobble up balls into bunkers like a moody overweight teenager on a food binge.On Sept. 18-19, golfers from all over the country will converge on Snowmass Village with a belief that the tougher the course terrain, the better. It’s called the U.X. Open, and it leaves the manicured fairways of the country club for the mangy wild grass of the mountains. It’s a 10-hole tournament played across the ski slopes above Snowmass Village, and the only dress code is a strong recommendation to wear hiking boots.Participants are allowed four clubs – presumably a bag would be too heavy – and instead of putting, they must chip into a painted circle approximately 25 feet in diameter. The course is highlighted by a downhill, 1,220-yard par five finishing hole.”There will be some competitive golfers there,” U.X. Open founder Rick Ryan said. “But I’d say about 75 percent of the participants will be there for a chance to take a chairlift to the first tee and hit 600-yard drives down ski slopes.”The entry fee is $85. Interested golfers who hike or hikers who golf can register online at http://www.uxopen.com or by calling 203-255-2891.Eben Harrell’s e-mail is eharrell@aspentimes.com


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