SnoCountry's Best Resorts For Early-Season Golf
When the chairlifts no longer turn and bare ground shows up on the trails, it’s time for winter resorts to shift into summertime mode – specifically, golf.
From Maine to California, more than 100 golf courses sit in the shadow of ski and snowboard. And many try to open up as quickly as possible to propel the winter mountain
Here are several resorts, coast to coast, that SnoCountry.com rates as some of the best places to tee it up in early spring:
Stratton. 27 holes of golf at Southern Vermont's Stratton Mountain aim to tee off by May 15. Opened in 1964, the layout divides into “forest,” “lake” and “mountain” sections. The 18-hole Mountain course, designed by Geoffrey Cornish, maxed out at 6,478 yards from the back tees. There’s plenty of elevation change as the course rolls up and down from the base of the mountain. The course has hosted seven LPGA events.
Mount Hood. The curse of no snow in the Oregon mountains this season became a blessing for golfers. The Resort at the Mountain’s The Courses has been open throughout the winter. Its 27 holes divide out into three separate circuits that cover 3,339 yards. Pine Cone Nine is the region’s oldest course; Foxglove Nine is the signature nine-holer and most difficult; and Thistle Nine suits novice golfers as the most forgiving.
Sun Valley. The Sun Valley Club has already opened its driving range and putting greens, and the club pro says all is go for a mid-April opening. The club at the base of the iconic Baldy Mountain includes 27 holes. The Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Trail Creek 18-hole course covers 6,968 yards from the tips. The nine-hole White Clouds course gets the “alpine links” description with scenic of the Wood River Valley.
Squaw Valley. The Links at Squaw Creek is scheduled to open May 20. Set at 6,200-foot elevation at the base of the classic Northern California ski mountain, the 71-par course measures 6,931 from the back tees and affords spectacular views of the surrounding High Sierra. Robert Trent Jones Jr. laid out the links-style course that winds from mountain to meadow throughout. Special attention was taken to preserve wetlands and wildlife habitat.
Pine Mountain. Laid out in the ski-history rich town of Iron Mountain, Mich., TimberStone Golf Course is set to open May 1. The Jerry Matthews course that opened in 1996 favors accuracy over length as it winds through tall evergreens. Drastic changes in elevation challenge club selection on the 6,937-yard layout from the tips.
Photos: Top -- Stratton Mountain's course in Vermont offers 27 holes (Stratton/Facebook); Top left -- Low snow in the Pacific NW meant year-round golf at Mt. Hood (Mt. Hood/Facebook); Right -- Hit 'em straight in Idaho (Sun Valley/Facebook); Lower left -- One of Michigan's best resort courses is ready to go (Pine Mt./Facebook); Below: Driving the greens at Squaw Creek in California (Squaw Valley/Facebook)