The Vail Valley has some of the best public golf courses in the world. With breathtaking views and challenging courses designed by the biggest names in golf, it’s the perfect destination to stay and play. There are 17 championship courses within a 40-mile radius of Vail and Beaver Creek, and many are open to the public. If you’re looking to hit the link, here are the golf courses you don’t want to miss.
Beaver Creek Golf Club
Golfers have teed up at the Beaver Creek Golf Club in Avon for almost four decades. The Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course has spectacular views every step of the way. The club is nestled in the canyon leading up to the ski resort. Its narrow fairways make for an interesting and challenging round. The exclusive club is open to the public from mid-May through mid-June during the early part of the season. It is also open to the public from mid-September through early October.
The course is chock-full of challenges from the start. The first three holes will test your mettle and require some precise shot-making to keep you on the fairways and greens. You’ll quickly find that the higher elevation will alter your game – in most cases for the better. Get ready for big air and major distance on your drives. Chips and putts will require your utmost attention as well. In line with the resort's rich skiing history, tee boxes at the club are rated from green (easiest) to double black (most difficult).
Guests can enjoy a full, savory menu at breakfast, lunch and dinner at the on-site Rendezvous Restaurant. The distinctive and pleasing restaurant is a fitting conclusion to a friendly round.
EagleVail Golf Club
The EagleVail Golf Club is idyllically nestled in the Rocky Mountains. The entry-level course incorporates natural elements like ponds, rivers, wetlands and forests to offer something different at every hole. It’s open to the public from late May to early October and has excellent rates for visitors in the early and late season. There’s even a discounted rate for twilight play. And be sure to stop off at the Whiskey Hill Golf Grill for 19th-hole fun and great food.
Not up for nine holes or a full eighteen? Try the Willow Creek Par 3 Course, where the longest hole is only 120 yards to the cup. It’s a great starter for beginners, kids and families. Willow Creek is usually open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend (depending on weather).
Eagle Ranch Golf Club
This unique Arnold Palmer-designed public course was once a working ranch, so plan on hitting around a few strategically placed farm implements. It’s also a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, so there’s no shortage of gorgeous views. The club is on the south edge of the town of Eagle. It is open to the public from April through mid-November, so it’s easy to get in a round late in the season.
Test your skill at five target greens, two putting greens and a four-hole chipping tee. There’s also a chipping green, practice bunker and separate teaching tee for those who want to hone their game. The club presents several group adult and junior lessons, including ladies-only clinics and one of the largest First Tee programs in the state.
Eagle Ranch Golf Club is also outfitted with an ice rink, outdoor pool, fitness center and several recreation trails for added enjoyment off the links while The Grille restaurant provides delicious al fresco dining.
Vail Golf Club
Local legend Ben Krueger’s signature course has a private-yet-public feel and has been greeting golfers for more than 50 years. The 18-hole course provides excellent high-altitude mountain golfing with exceptional beauty and terrain. Just tee off and watch your ball soar through the thin mountain air. The entire club sits in the White River National Forest and is highlighted by views of the majestic Gore Mountain Range.
The recently remodeled club has a new clubhouse and a restaurant for relaxing after a fulfilling round of golf. The club also has PGA and LPGA lessons and clinics for adults and children, and there’s an endless slate of tournaments, leagues and special events throughout the season.
Gypsum Creek Golf Course
Unexpected challenges await at the Pete Dye-designed 18-hole public course in Gypsum. The Gypsum Creek Golf Course is playable by all ages and abilities. Its convenient location down valley means you’ll be stepping into the tee box late in the season when the other courses are closed. It’s also a popular spot to kick off the season when the snow melts off its fairways and greens weeks before the golf clubs up valley.
Once a semi-private club under a different name, Gypsum Creek Golf Course is a fully public facility. The course is spread out over a step mesa in the Gypsum Valley and tests golfers with rolling fairways, steep drop offs and tough angles amid splendid natural scenery. You’re sure to be inspired at every hole.
The Gypsum Creekside Grill at the club is open for lunch and dinner every day during the summer season. The restaurant is the perfect destination for a brew, glass of wine, appetizer or dinner after a delightful round of golf.
Sonnenlap Golf Club
The Sonnenlap Golf Club in Edwards is a semi-private course. The course is situated in a perfect location down valley, and favorable weather during the summer months allows golfers to step into the tee box from late April through early October. The course is first-rate and beautifully manicured. The club is a unique blend that’s both lavish and family friendly, with an on-site swimming pool and impeccable dining.
Stay at the Inn at Riverwalk
The Inn at Riverwalk in downtown Edwards is a great choice for a stay-and-play vacation. The hotel is in the heart of the Vail Valley, so all these great courses are only a short drive away. You can play a round or two at one golf club, then visit a completely new golf course and club the next day. Play a high-alpine mountain course and then a down valley course for an entirely different experience. There are so many choices!
Part of the Ascend Hotel Collection, the Inn at Riverwalk features impeccable guest rooms, wonderful service and a full list of useful amenities. The boutique hotel is right on the beautiful Eagle River and there’s an inspiring walking path along the river that leads to several tasty local restaurants. The hotel has two on-site restaurants – Mountain Fish House and Zino Ristorante – along with a heated outdoor pool right on the river. Kids can get their fill in the pool while parents kick back in the adjacent hot tub. For added fun, the hotel features a trail mix bar, complimentary coffee 24/7, free Wi-Fi and a unique Gear Garage that has everything from board games to outdoor gear that guests can use for free during their stay.