Affordable golf in the mountains
Golf may have the reputation of a rich person’s sport, but that’s no more accurate than saying skiing is only for the affluent. Sure, you can rent a condo for a week in Aspen and spend a fortune the same way you can if you spent a week playing Pebble Beach. But there are less-expensive options to indulge one’s passion in either sport.
For golfers in Colorado, there’s a wide range of price points for a round.
Whether public or private, golf courses between Glenwood Springs and Aspen, with one notable exception, will set a golfer back at least $75 a round.
But in Glenwood Springs, and to the west, golf becomes much more affordable. The most affordable golf course in the Roaring Fork Valley is the Ranch at Roaring Fork, about halfway between Carbondale and El Jebel. A round of golf on the nine-hole, par-three course is around $15 during the peak season.
At the high end of the range are the private clubs, such as the Maroon Creek Club in Aspen and Aspen Glen in Carbondale. Both are for members only, although guests can play at the invitation of a member. Guests at both clubs will pay up to $250 to play a round of golf on the 18-hole courses. Members don’t pay for each round of golf. They pay up front with hefty initiation fees to join the club.
At the Maroon Creek Club, membership fees run about $225,000. Members also pay monthly dues of around $1,000.
Among the downvalley public courses that can legitimately be called affordable is Glenwood Springs Golf Club, affectionately known as “the Hill.” A round of golf on the nine-hole course costs around $20.
The Glenwood Springs course attract golfers from Aspen and Vail who are looking for affordable golf, said Glenwood’s Greg Gortsema.
“In all the years I’ve been here, we get more and more players every year,” he says. “All the courses going in now are definitely your higher end because of the cost of dirt around here. You’ve got to charge the high rates because it’s so expensive to build.”
Two popular affordable courses to the west of Glenwood Springs are Rifle Creek and Battlement Mesa. Golfers pay around $40 a round at both 18-hole courses.
Both courses attract golfers from around the area as well as the Front Range.
“We get a lot of out-of-towners,” says Rifle Creek’s Pat Hayes.
In fact, Rifle Creek targets out-of-town golfers with a special stay and play package deal. Golfers can stay at the Rusty Cannon Motel in Rifle for around $68 per person for one night, which includes a round of golf and a cart, Hayes said.
In the Grand Junction area, prices are still more reasonable, with prices falling as low as $10 to $20 a round on some public courses.
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