Carbondale golf courses in full swing |

Carbondale golf courses in full swing

Nate PetersonAspen, CO Colorado
Courtesy River Valley Ranch

CARBONDALE While skiers were savoring turns in the upper valley Monday, about 60 golfers were enjoying the smell of green grass – and the absence of any snow – in Carbondale as the River Valley Ranch Golf Club officially opened for the season.”Not bad for a Monday,” said Zach Ray, the general manger of the 18-hole public course. “It’s been pretty busy all day.”Busy was an understatement for Saturday’s opening at the Ranch at Roaring Fork, the nine-hole, par-3 course next to Highway 82 nearby.”We got calls the whole week before we opened,” said Clint Anderson, a course employee. “People couldn’t wait to play.”The two course openings signify that the local golf season in the upper valley – weather permitting – isn’t too far away.The Aspen Golf Club’s director, Steve Aitken, told The Aspen Times last week that the opening for the local public course was “just around the corner” – although snow was still visible on the course Monday. Recent temperatures have accelerated the snowmelt throughout the valley, a warm spell that pushed up the Ranch at Roaring Fork’s opening by a week.

“It’s greening up pretty quick,” Anderson said.Ray said River Valley’s Ranch 18 holes faired “extremely well” over the winter.”We’re going to be in dynamite shape once [the grass] starts growing a little more,” he added. “We’re totally melted off. There’s not a drop anywhere.”A little farther upvalley, the 18-hole course at the private Roaring Fork Club in Basalt plans to open its pro shop and driving range Friday and has slated its course opening – weather permitting – for April 13.Past Carbondale, the Glenwood Springs Golf Club, Lakota Canyon Ranch Golf Club in New Castle, the Rifle Creek Golf Course and Battlement Mesa Golf Club all have opened for the season.In Eagle County, the 18 holes at Cotton Ranch Golf Club in Gypsum are open for play.While Aspen’s public course isn’t open yet, now is the time for local golfers to purchase a season pass at a discounted rate of $900. The pass is available at the Red Brick Arts and Recreation Center and the Aspen Recreation Center. Starting Sunday, the price goes up $100.

The 20-punch pass is available for an early-season discount as well; it’s $450 until Sunday, when the price jumps to $500. (One punch is good for nine holes at the Aspen Golf Club.)Aspen golfers will find a construction-free course this season; the installation of a new irrigation system was completed last summer. Players will find new mounds and water features as well, Aitken said. Greens fees will be $45 until May 19, when they jump up to $75 for 18 holes until 1 p.m. daily, when the fee drops back to $45. Starting June 16, it will be $95 for 18 holes until 1 p.m., when the price drops to $75 until 3 p.m.; then greens fees drop to $45.Greens fees will drop back on Sept. 15, when a round will run $75 before 1 p.m. and $45 after 1 p.m.A nine-hole round at the Ranch at Roaring Fork costs $15 for adults and $12 for junior and senior players until May 1, when the prices go up by $2. Punch passes are available for an early-season discount.The Glenwood Springs Golf Club, a nine-hole public course, is already open for play. Fees are $22 to walk nine holes and $37 to walk 18 (each hole twice) – the same rates it offered last season.Also open for play:

Lakota Canyon Ranch Club – an 18-hole public course in New Castle. The early-season locals rate (for residents of Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties who show ID) is $55 until Sunday, when it goes up to $59 for the remainder of the season.For nonlocals, the greens fees are $75 through March, $89 starting April 1 and then $75 starting Oct. 1. Rifle Creek Golf Course – an 18-hole public course in Rifle. Early-season rates are $29 to walk the course or $45 with a cart; both fees will go up by $10 for the summer on a date to be determined. Battlement Mesa Golf Club – an 18-hole public course in Battlement Mesa. Greens fees are $49 for 18 holes with a cart; the price jumps to $59 on April 1. Cotton Ranch Golf Club – an 18-hole semi-private course in Gypsum that is open to the public. The early season rate is $55 for 18 holes with a cart; the price goes up to $65 in mid-April. A 10-round pass is available for $650 through March 31; it’s transferable, and it includes the cart and $100 golf shop credit.Staff writer Janet Urquhart contributed to this story. Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is