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Which Basalt golfers will get to use club?

Aspen Times Staff Report

The Basalt Town Council later this month will revisit the potentially touchy issue of who qualifies for a limited number of “resident” tee times at the new Roaring Fork Golf Club.

The club is scheduled to open nine of its 18 holes next month. The town hopes to define who is a “resident” by then.

Currently, the town government defines “resident” as anyone registered to vote in Basalt. They would be the only midvalley residents eligible for tee times that the private golf club agreed to make available to Basaltines who aren’t members.

But some council members indicated they are getting lobbied to expand the definition to include people who reside at Holland Hills, which is outside the town’s boundaries in unincorporated Pitkin County.

Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt said Holland Hills residents should have access to the course since they have endured construction the last few summers and gained a golf course in their back yards. She said she can’t see how they can be excluded.

“It would be wrong, totally wrong,” said Whitsitt.

She suggested defining “resident” as anyone who shows they live in the 81621 zip code.

Other council members fear that expanding the definition of resident will lead to nothing but trouble.

Basalt duffers may be reluctant to expand the resident definition because relatively few options exist for getting on the course. Notes from council meetings in 1997 indicate the Roaring Fork Club offered 3,000 rounds for Basalt residents, or about 20 percent of total tee times.

The hours for public use of the private club will be limited to before 9:30 a.m. and after 3:30 p.m., with blackouts at some times during the summer.

The Roaring Fork Club ownership has urged town officials to stick to a narrow definition of resident, at least while the course’s turf is getting established.

“They want to baby this course,” said Town Manager Tom Baker. “They want to ease into this thing.”

Jim Light, a partner in the club, explained that they don’t want the new grass on the first nine holes to open to get overwhelmed by members or the public.

“We’re asking our members not to bring too many guests so we don’t pound it up,” Light said.

The council deferred defining “resident” or settling other details of public use of the private course until its Tuesday, April 27 meeting.


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