After years of planning and several roadblocks along the way, the Canyons Golf Course is nearing completion.
With construction of the course nearly complete, TC-FC (Talisker Canyons Finance Co.) spokesperson Todd Burnette said excitement is growing around the resort. (TC-FC is the master developer of Canyons Resort, responsible for building the golf course.)
"The Canyons Golf Course has been talked about for many, many years," he said. "The fact that we can see the finish line and there will be at least a few shots taken this fall is exciting."
Burnette said things are looking good, but the course won't fully open to the public this fall. However, there will be some full-course trial runs taken before snow covers the area. The course won't be available for open play until spring.
"The course is going to be substantially complete by the end of September," he said. "There are plans for extremely limited play after that date."
The reason play is limited, Burnette continued, is so the course doesn't get worn down too much before the big opening next spring.
"We need to allow for the greens and fairways to grow in for the rest of the fall," he said. "Then we'll open all 18 holes next spring."
A firm opening date hasn't been set just yet, though.
"It depends on how big the winter is and how much snow there is," Burnette said.
Though plans to allow cross-country skiing on the course during the winter months are in the works, Burnette said it probably wouldn't happen until next winter at the earliest.
"It's not going to happen this winter," he said. "Nordic skiing is certainly going to be considered in the future, but we need to let the course grow in, so it's not going to make sense to let people get on it with cross-country skis this winter."
Burnette said he's excited to see how people respond to the course, which he says will offer some of the best views around.
"It's going to be a very, very interesting mountain course," he said. "It's got over 1,000 feet of elevation on the course. There are spectacular views from some of the tee boxes. You can see all the way to Old Town from the 10th tee box."
Burnette added that the holes will be in three basic groups. The first holes are up by the Canyons base area and generally follow the contour of the ski runs, he said. Willow Draw Creek will come into play on a few of those holes.
The next group is down by the Waldorf Astoria. Those holes, Burnette said, offer the best views and biggest elevation changes. The final group of holes is down by the lower village. Those are the holes that drivers can see from State Road 224.
"There will be four sets of tees so you can play at a distance that makes sense for you," Burnette said. "I think it's going to be something people are going to enjoy playing."
No golf pro has been hired yet, but Burnette anticipates a decision will be made soon. However, TC-FC won't be a part of that process, he said.
"TC-FC is building the course and then Canyons and Vail are going to run the golf course when it opens," he said. "The pro is going to be a Vail employee."
As everything falls into place, Burnette said the course shouldn't have any more delays.
Even a rainy August hasn't slowed progress too much, he added. In fact, the extra moisture has been quite helpful in some ways.
"It's been a blessing and a curse," he said. "It's really helped a great deal with fairways, tee boxes and greens growing in quickly. But it's been a bit of a challenge for some areas not completely finished yet. It's nothing we haven't been able to overcome, though."