Sonnenalp Golf Club: Site Of The 2001 Colorado Open Offers Bavarian Hospitality

By David R. Holland, Contributor

VAIL, CO -- The 2001 Colorado Open is returning to the mountains and the golfers are in for a treat -- especially if they make their hotel reservations for the Sonnenalp Resort of Vail.

If you go

Bavaria is a must on any European nature-lover travelers' agenda, but if you can't make it all the way to the mountains of southern Germany, you can find the same ambiance in Colorado at Sonnenalp and in the alpine-styled village of Vail, home of one of the best ski-resort mountains in the world.

"We are very excited to have the Colorado Open scheduled next summer," said Doug Wall, head pro of the Sonnenalp Golf Club at Singletree, "we would love to have a long-term arrangement."

The Colorado Open, a 37-year success story, is coming back to the mountains since leaving Hiwan in 1992 for metro Denver. Why? Because the participants have asked for the change.

It is a tournament that has included such names as Sam Snead, Phil Mickelson, Steve Elkington, Al Geiberger, Steve Jones, Justin Leonard, Corey Pavin and Fred Couples over the years and will conclude on Labor Day weekend in 2001. That's a time of year which always attracts many visitors to the Vail Valley for the WestFest music and Western cultural festival in addition to the whitewater kayaking championships.

At the Sonnenalp Golf Club at Singletree, Colorado Open participants will find a golf course at an elevation of 7,800 feet and one that covers 7,059 yards at par-71.

Locals say it is in the "banana belt" of Vail, which means an April opening because of beautiful early-spring weather. The Jay Morrish-Robert Cupp layout faces south, getting lots of morning sun and has a lower nine that is relatively level with strategically placed bunkers. The back nine is an elevation roller coaster with terrain changes and dramatic downhill shots.

"I think it is a very fair golf course," Wall said. "You are rewarded for good shots and penalized for bad ones. It definitely places a high premium on risk/reward situations."

You start with a blind par-5 that covers 611 yards from the back and transitions to No. 2, a scenic par-3, 158 yards, that must carry a gulch to a heavily-bunkered three-tiered green.

No. 12, at 423 yards and a scenic par-4, goes straight downhill and then back uphill. The second shot is influenced by a large stand of cottonwood trees on the right and a creek carry.

On the tee at No. 15 stop and enjoy the scenery of the ski area in the distance, then stroke one dramatically downhill. The par-4, 385-yarder doglegs left, with three ponds on the left to a strawberry-shaped green with two bunkers, back and right.

To celebrate its host status of next summer's Colorado Open, Sonnenalp is offering some great golf packages. Read about them at:

The golf course is the only one in Vail owned by a hotel. And Sonnenalp, meaning "sun on the mountains", is five-star all the way. From the heated marble floors in the bathrooms (great on cold mornings before you ski at Vail) to the window flower boxes that attract the hummingbirds in the summer. Each hotel room also includes a gas-log fireplace, mini-bar, and if you choose, a great view of Gore Creek, that can put you to sleep with its constant rumbling.

Owned by fourth-generation hoteliers from Bavaria, Germany, the Sonnenalp Resort of Vail opened in 1979. But in the 90s the Sonnenalp properties were completely redone. Johannes Fässler, the youngest son, is the General Manager and Owner, offering you unparalleled Bavarian hospitality.

Your first impression as you enter the lobby is the friendly college-aged youngsters at the front desk, who speak with an accent. Young men and women from all over the world work here on 18-month visas to the United States.

The Fässler family prides themselves on "gemütlichkeit" -- a German expression meaning "warmth and contentment". It is this philosophy that you will see throughout the resort and its world-class spa and restaurants. And the family would also love to see you visit their Sonnenalp Resort of Bavaria, located in Oberallgäu, in the southernmost region of Germany.

Sonnenalp Resort of Vail
20 Vail Road
Vail, CO 81657

Tee Times:
970-926-3533 or 800-654-8312.

Green Fees: Fees depend on high or low season and whether you are a hotel guest or an unescorted guest. Fees range from $87 to $150. Call for your price.

Golf Academy Packages: The Sonnenalp Golf Academy package includes three nights accommodations at the Sonnenalp Resort, one coupon per person per day good for golf, a selected spa treatment or dinner in Ludwig's, a welcome reception, breakfast, lunch daily at The Grill at Singletree, three full days of instruction including 45 holes of instructed play plus an equal time of classroom and range play, green fees and cart fees for three days, personal take home notebook and video lesson. Call for prices and availability.

Directions to the Golf Course: From Denver take I-70 west to the Edwards exit No. 163. Take the first right at the Singletree entrance marker, one mile.

Hotel Reservations: 970-476-5656 or 800-654-8312. The Sonnenalp Resort of Vail includes two other properties in Vail -- The Swiss Hotel and Spa and the Austria Haus Club and Hotel.


Dining: : The Bully Ranch is casual and serves burgers, barbecue and Mud Slide beer in a western atmosphere. Ludwig's is formal and serves continental cuisine as well as a breakfast buffet. Next door at the Swiss Chalet Restaurant you will find authentic Raclette and fondues. You can even get High Tea and European pastries at the King's Club.

Sonnenalp Spa: Massage, Finnish saunas, Turkish steam rooms, Moor mud and seaweed wraps are included in this elite spa. You can also elevate your heart rate with strength and conditioning equipment or swim laps in the indoor or outdoor heated pools.

Awards and Honors: Rated one of the "Top 100 Resort Courses" in the country by Golf Digest. Host of the 1987 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. Condé Nast Traveler's Reader's Choice Award every year since 1996. The golf club was rated one of the top three mountain resort courses in the U.S. by Ski Magazine. Golf Digest's list of the top 100 resort courses in the nation. Rated as one of the top women friendly courses in the country by Golf for Women Magazine.

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Contributor

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 @David_R_Holland.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment