Top 100 'You Can Play' List Snubs Colorado

By David R. Holland, Senior Writer

The Golf Club at Redlands MesaDENVER, CO -- Golf Magazine's just released 2002 Top 100 You Can Play List was not exactly a ringing endorsement for Rocky Mountain golf.

Not only did Colorado lose one of its formerly listed, The Valley Course at Cordillera, it didn't see any new courses added -- layouts like The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa or The Homestead at Murphy Creek -- both excellent layouts ranked in RockiesGolf.com's Top Ten.

Congratulations to the two Colorado courses that remained on the Top 100 You Can Play List -- No. 49 The Ridge at Castle Pines North and No. 84 Broadmoor East.

Jim Engh's Redlands Mesa Golf Magazine skipped Jim Engh's Redlands Mesa, but named another new Engh layout, Tullymore in Stanwood, MI, in the No. 88 slot.

"I do not really know how Golf Magazine chooses courses for the list, but Redlands made its Top Ten You Can Play List (new courses) for 2001, but not its Top 100 Best you can play. Tullymore was vice versa -- picked on the Top 100, but not for the Top 10 in 2001. I'll be interested to see how each of these courses does on Golfweek's next 100 Best Modern list."

Other awards won by Redlands Mesa include Golf Digest's Best New Affordable Course in 2001, Sports Illustrated's No. 3 Best New Golf Course in the World for 2001 and Golfweek's No. 1 Public Access Course in Colorado. The last distinction ranks it higher than The Ridge at Castle Pines North.

Interestingly, but also worthy, is the fact New Mexico edged out Colorado. No. 43 is Paa-Ko Ridge near Albuquerque and No. 45 is Piñon Hills in Farmington. Both courses were designed by Houston-based golf architect Ken Dye.

Paa-Ko Ridge Paa-Ko Ridge is so outstanding it should be listed in the Top 20. And Piñon Hills, less than an hour's drive from Durango, has long been known as the best great course bargain in America with its $15.75 weekday resident green fees and $24.15 for non-residents (weekend rates slightly higher).

Even Nebraska got tabbed with Wild Horse in Gothenburg ranked No. 72. This is a prairie-links layout, done in minimalist excellence only 297 miles from Denver.

A panel comprised of PGA section directors, regional golf association directors, golf writers and other members of the golf community voted on the "Top 100 You Can Play" from a list of more than 400 daily-fee, resort, and semi-private courses.

Hawktree Golf Club Engh has other courses ranked in Top 100 lists. His Hawktree Golf Club, Bismarck, N.D. is No. 68 on Golfweek's Top 100 Modern Courses List. Sanctuary in Sedalia is No. 24 on the same list, named ahead of Castle Pines, home of The International, at No. 26.

Engh's Red Hawk Ridge in Castle Rock has also won awards. When it opened in 1999 the national acclaims flowed in -- No. 7 Best New Affordable Golf Course by Golf Digest. GolfWeek picked it No. 19 on its America's 30 Best Municipals and the now defunct Golf & Travel Magazine selected it No. 27 on its list of America's Top 40 Public Courses.

Red Hawk RidgeThere will be some endless debates about this list, especially after the serious snub of Colorado this year.

Great Week For The Stadler Family

On Tuesday, Aug. 27, Craig Stadler attended Media Day for the grand opening of Grand Elk Ranch & Club, his heathland-styled new layout designed with Tripp Davis in Granby.

As he exited that day he said: "Gotta go caddy for my boy."

His boy, 22-year-old Kevin Stadler, decided he would become a professional and didn't disappoint his dad, winning the 39th Colorado Open with a 9-under-par performance at the Sonnenalp Golf Club in Edwards. The win came in a playoff against PGA Tour veteran Gary Hallberg and Albuquerque's Brian Kortan.

Colorado PGA Foundation Teach-A-Thon

For 175 young Colorado golfers this year's Second Annual Colorado PGA Foundation Teach-A-Thon held at The Golf Club at Bear Dance in Larkspur was a special day.

More than 10 youth groups were invited for the Aug. 11 event to come in and receive free instruction from PGA professionals. Youth groups included DARE Pueblo, Open Fairways, Denver Rescue Mission and Colorado Uplift.

Stations were set up for the students to receive instruction in three facets of their games -- full swing, chipping and putting. Groups who attended spent about two hours working on golf mechanics and for many it was the first time to hold a golf club and see a golf course up close.

"It is extremely rewarding for us as an organization that these programs do make a difference," said Colorado PGA Executive Director Scott Wellington.

Golf instructors who donated their time included Colorado PGA Section President Ed Oldham, Mike McGetrick, Eddie Ainsworth, Winston Howe III, Jeff Seltz, Alan Abrams, Jay Ewing, John Hanrahan, Danny Harvanek, Don Hurter, Paul Lobato, Tim Lollar, C.J. Parry, Sean Riley, Brock Sloan, Leon Smith, Jim Talbot, Ty Walker, Rudy Zupetz and the Teach A Thon Chairperson, Erica Webster.

For more information on the Colorado PGA Foundation contact Tom Johnson at 303-745-3697 or tjohnson@pgahq.com.

Glenwood Springs' Bair Chase

There's another Glenwood Springs golf project in the planning stages. Bair Chase Golf and Rod Club is on hold for now, but if it gets off the drawing board in the future it will be another in the growing list of Roaring Fork River golf opportunities and the first Rees Jones-design in Colorado

Bair Chase will be established on a 280-acre historic ranching property located between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale and approximately 30 miles down-valley from Aspen. It will be on the east side of the Roaring Fork and the brand-new The Sienna Club at Rose Ranch will be on the west side of the river when it opens next summer.

Jones' design will be a par 72 measuring 7,330 yards. Many of the holes will provide water challenges that include lakes, waterfalls and stream features designed to enhance the views of the Roaring Fork River, Cattle Creek and Mount Sopris.

The clubhouse and renovation of the Old Chase Barn will be completed in two phases based on the number of memberships sold in the Club. For more information log on to www.bairchase.com, call 970-963-6660 or e-mail them at info@bairchase.com.

Vail Golf Club Fall Specials

With cool temperatures, fall colors and limited crowds, the Vail Golf Club is now offering an additional reason to hit the links. Beginning in August and carrying over throughout the rest of the fall golf season, the Vail Golf Club will be offering late-season golf specials.

Every Sunday through Thursday, beginning at noon, golfers can play 18 holes on Vail's scenic course for just $65 (including cart.). In September golfers can play for an all-the-time $50 rate, $65 with cart.

In addition, the Vail Golf Club also offers "Two-for-Tuesdays," where beginning at noon, two golfers can play 18 holes for the price of one. For more information and for additional golf specials, please visit www.vailrec.com or call 970-479-2260.

Colorado Senior Open

Originally scheduled for July 19, the Colorado Senior Open has been changed to Sept. 20-22. Qualifying takes place Sept. 16 at Legacy Ridge Golf Course, with the pro-am slated for Sept. 19 at the Heritage at Westmoor in Westminster, which is where The Open will be held. For more information, call 720-283-6736 or visit www.coloradoopen.org.

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Senior Writer

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter at @David_R_Holland.


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