Telski golf

Given the epic amount of snowfall this winter, Telski officials are preparing the golf course for a June 14 opening, instead of the originally scheduled May 24.

(Courtesy photo)

After an undeniably epic snow season, Telski delayed opening the golf course in an effort to better prepare the course for the summer season.

“We want the golfing experience to be exceptional and the quality of the golf course goes hand in hand with that experience,” said DJ Poland, director of golf operations for Telski. The course is anticipated to reopen on June 14, which is three weeks from its originally planned opening date of May 24.  

Given the substantial amount of snow this winter (just under 320 inches), more time is needed to allow for snowmelt, Poland explained. Despite the snow accumulation, the conditions of the course are expected to be exceptional compared to previous seasons.

“We are very optimistic about the condition of the course for opening day,” Poland added.

The increased moisture the winter brought to the mountain has only helped to better the greens and landscape.

“The greens are the best that we have seen in the past five years, for this time of year,” Poland explained.

Unlike other destinations, opening a golf course in a mountain town after a near-record snow season takes a lot of work, strategic planning and time. Preparations began on the course over three months ago, while the ski season was still in full swing.

“They began snow blowing on Feb. 4 to clear heavy snowpack and ice off the greens, exposing them to air and sunlight, which allows for a better product when we open,” Poland said.  

Following a remarkably dry summer in 2018, the added hydration is a welcomed shift.

“Last year, we were challenged by the lack of snowfall coming out of winter. This resulted in us having several temporary greens to begin the season,” Poland explained. “This year, the entire golf course will be open and in great shape. That’s a huge positive.”

Poland reported that fairways are expected to be seeded next week, while all cart paths are being cleared this week. In Poland’s words, the next steps are to “let Mother Nature do its work” and “let melt happen.” In areas where snow has already melted, crews are working to aerify the greens with needle tines and topdressing.

“This year is going to be great,” Poland said. Upon reopening, the course will introduce a new fleet of GPS equipped golf carts. You drive up to your ball and the GPS calculates how far you are from the pin and tells you right there that you’re 136 yards from the pin … it’s a nice amenity.”

In addition to new carts and well-manicured greens, the course will continue to focus on programs geared towards families and kids.

“The Telluride Golf Program is available to all Telluride students, ages 7-17. It consists of one day a week for five weeks of afternoon clinics located at our practice facility with instruction by PGA professionals,” Poland said.  

The course also holds family nights every Sunday at 4 p.m. as a way to introduce kids to the game of golf and get families out on the golf course together.

“The thing I look forward to the most is family nights on Sundays,” Telluride local and frequent golfer Cal Morrell said. “The family night element is the greatest. I get to go out with my daughter, it gives you a chance to have some fun, there’s no pressure and you get a great burger at the turn. … We did it all the last two years. The kids love it. Now, my daughter looks forward to Sunday golf. It’s a great thing for locals.”

In addition to family focused programs, the course also supports several fundraisers each year. Play for P.I.N.K., a tournament benefiting breast cancer research and the Telluride Regional Medical Center, will take place in July for the 12th year. The Telski’s annual Steve Butts Memorial Golf Tournament will take in August, as will the Rotary Club’s Annual Golf Classic. The Bob Miller Memorial Golf Tournament will hold its 21st annual golf classic in September.

For more information on the course, local programs, fundraisers and membership, visit tellurideskiresort.com/events-activities/golf.