Back in the swing: Area golf courses open next week, Haymaker expands driving range

Derek Rubin, with a rake in hand, and Nick Hussey prepare the sand trap on hole 9 of the Haymaker Golf Course on Friday, May 13, 2022. Crews continue to prepare the course, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary with its opening in 2022 on Tuesday 17 May.
John F. Russell / Steamboat Pilot and Today

Golf season is set to kick off next week as Haymaker Golf Course, Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club and Catamount Ranch & Club open their doors to join Steamboat Golf Club, giving local golfers a reason to celebrate.

“We just aired the greens, so for the first two weeks the greens will be bumpy and sandy,” said Cody Hasten, chief golf professional at Haymaker. “We’re happy with how the course has gone this winter and we’re excited for the year.”

Haymaker, which is scheduled to open on Tuesday May 17, is also in the process of expanding the tee box at its driving range.

“The demand has been so high over the past few seasons on the driving range,” Hasten said. “And as our junior programs and instructional clinics have grown over the past few years, we had to.”

This spring, as the snow melted, crews began work on the project, which will expand the area by 70%. The expansion is also expected to help meet growing demand and will allow staff to rotate using different areas of the driving range teeing ground, making it a better experience for golfers.

The upgrades are expected to be complete by the end of the month, allowing golfers to practice their swings using mats. Ideally, the grass will have fully grown by July 1.

Construction crews were busy Friday, May 13, 2022, as the Haymaker is currently expanding its range. The range is expected to open to the public later this month. However, golfers will hit mats until the grass has fully grown. Golf pro Cody Hasten hopes the mats will be gone and the range will be fully open by July 1.
John F. Russell / Steamboat Pilot and Today

Improvements aren’t the only reason golfers have had to be patient this spring. Hasten said several late storms brought much-needed moisture to the area but also delayed the opening of the courses.

However, the wait will end this week with the scheduled opening of Haymaker, followed by Rollingstone Ranch & Club opening its first nine on Wednesday May 18 and Catamount Ranch & Club opening on Friday May 20. Catamount opened its driving range on Friday, May 18. 13.

The start of the season is always a happy time, Hasten said, but this year will be special as Haymaker celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The celebration of the opening of the course will be marked by the local week, starting with a launch party on May 20. On May 25, the course will offer $25 green fees to celebrate the event.

“You can go out and play for $25 that day,” Hasten said. “To celebrate our 25th anniversary, we’ll also be having all kinds of fun drawings and raffles throughout the week.”

He said his phones had been ringing for several days as golfers had already called for book slots for the first day of the season. Golfers can request tee times up to 10 days in advance.

“We’re pretty full for opening day. There are still spots available, but it’s definitely filling up pretty quickly,” Hasten said. “Everyone is excited for opening day, and the rest of the week there is availability for sure.”

Haymaker will be the second Steamboat Springs golf course to open its fairways and greens for the 2022 season. Steamboat Golf Club, just west of downtown, opened for the season on April 18, and the assistant pro Josh Dunahoe said he was busy reservation of tee times.

“The first few weeks were quite busy. Everybody just goes out to get their fix,” Dunahoe said. “If the weather is nice, we’re pretty much wall to wall on our tee sheets.”

He said the men’s club has already started on Wednesday afternoon and the women’s club is expected to start playing on Tuesday morning at the end of May.

Rollingstone Ranch is set to open the front nine on Wednesday, according to golf course superintendent Graham McDaniel.

“Last year was quite atypical because we were able to open everything at once,” McDaniel said. “This year is definitely a more normal year, and the back nine always holds more snow longer, stays in the shade longer.”

Recent wet weather also slowed the opening, but McDaniel was confident the front nine will open on Wednesday and the entire course will open the following Monday.

Hasten said Haymaker and many other local courses still hope to open the first two weeks of May to kick off the season.

“We originally hoped to open this week, but these last two snowstorms have pushed everyone back down the valley a bit,” Hasten said. “But we are tied. We are not ahead, but we are not too late either.

Michael C. Ford