Sunday, January 1, 2006
Great golf with an altitude
Look Out For...
#18, the Broadmoor (East)
On this beast of a finishing hole, the accomplished player strokes a slight fade off the tee box, but that’s the easy part.
“It’s imperative to keep the ball below the hole because the green slopes from back to front and is undulating,” says The Broadmoor’s director of golf Russ Miller. “Anything over the green usually means bogey for the recreational golfer. Par is cause for celebration.”
At the 1959 U.S. Amateur, Jack Nicklaus and Charlie Coe reached the 18th tee box all square. Nicklaus hit 20 feet below the hole, but Coe made a tactical error. His approach flew the green, creating a daunting recovery back down the slope. Miraculously, Coe chipped his third stiff—a gimme. Nicklaus, however, calmly stroked in his birdie putt, winning his first major one-up.
For travelers who need a break between rounds and who wish to put a little thrill into their sightseeing of the mountain West, consider the following once-in-a-lifetime, side-trip activities.
From seasoned, firsthand accounts, the most magnificent way to see the wonders of Colorado is from high in the sky in a hot-air balloon. Fair Winds, based out of Boulder, offers captivating and invigorating hot-air balloon rides year-round, replete with views and scenery unlike anywhere else (www.fairwindsinc.com).
Hiking enthusiasts will find tread nirvana in the mountain West, especially in Utah’s Bryce Canyon and its thousands of weather-worn spires that rise above towering pines. As the sun reflects, so do the changing colors in the rocks, making Bryce Canyon one of the most beautiful places in the entire country.
In the Sierra Nevada, explore the beautiful Truckee River on an exciting white-water rafting expedition with the experts in white-water thrills. Tributary Whitewater Tours has several options from which to choose, ranging from serene to insane (www.whitewatertours.com).
The Perfect Day
8:00 am Breakfast in the Grand Lobby Cafe of the historic Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs (800-544-3998 or www.hotelcolorado.com). Opened in 1893, the Hotel Colorado is a true Wild West playground. Doc Holliday stayed here. So did Teddy Roosevelt. Add to your adventure by taking the train in from Denver—four hours of spectacular mountain scenery—and requesting one of the haunted rooms.
12:00 pm You’re standing on the first tee of award-winning River Valley Ranch GC (970-963-3625, www.rvrgolf.com) in nearby Carbondale. Start your round with a solid shot over the white water of the Crystal River and strap yourself in for a rollicking ride. The back nine plays under the imposing shadow of Mount Sopris, one of Colorado’s tallest peaks. The Jay Morrish design is a true favorite of locals. For feed, lunch in the clubhouse restaurant. Try the buffalo burger as you add up the day’s tally. For post-round excitement, meet a local guide (the Hotel Colorado’s concierge can help) and pull up your waders. It’s time to wet your line in the world-famous Roaring Fork River. The Roaring Fork boasts more than 2,500 trout per mile, with an average length of 15 inches.
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