Yampa Valley Golf Course – Golf Digest Three Star Rating
The Yampa Valley Golf Course, the oldest and most affordable of all 18 hole facilities in Northwest Colorado’s Yampa Valley lies just south of the town of Craig. First opened in 1968, your golf experience begins with a down home laid back atmosphere. Those of us on the western slope of Colorado don’t get too excited around these parts but we love to play our golf on one of the best maintained, user friendly golf courses in the Valley. Best thing of all … it won’t cost you an arm and leg to tee it up. You can even wear your blue jeans, or if you want too, you can dress up a bit and throw on a pair of your best golf chaps. Just remember, we are spikeless and spurless golf course. The golf course plays 6548 yards from the tips and 5242 yards from the forward tees. It will test the best of golfers and is very friendly to those of you who don’t carry a big club, if you know what I mean. Those of you packin’ buckaroos (junior golfers) are welcome too. And yes, the deer, antelope and few other varmints play around here as well.
Hole by hole
You’ll begin your game on the “East Forty”. A short, but testy little nine that opens up along the Yampa River. By the way, Yampa is an Indian name for “Little Bear”. The course then doglegs itself through a 75 year old Cottonwood forest and then heads you west onto the prairie where native grasses, sage and a few prickly pear await your errant shots. You’ll once again pass along the Yampa River before returning to the barn. The front nine holes will test your accuracy and most of all test your short game skills. The greens are a bit small, have more hills than Aunt Maybells back side and are as slick as a greased pig. In the early 80’s the “North Forty” was plowed and seeded and was first open for play in 1986. The North Forty, originally a cow pasture has been turned into a lush oasis of green grass, lakes, wetlands and trees.
Playing a bit longer than the East Forty, the back nine hosts a bit larger greens, and plays in and around more narrow leaf cottonwoods, three lakes, bogs and of course the Yampa River.
You will encounter a few more of them man made deserts along the way too. From the 10th tee, you will get a great view of the town of Craig, the Sand Rocks, and Cedar Mountain on the edge of the Great Divide. A large lake, with its outcroppings of willows, bulrush and cattails will lead you around the next few holes until the Yampa River comes into full view.
For those of you that aren’t straight shooters you might want to cinch up your belt and take dead aim. The next few acres are a bit narrow. The river bottom naturally lends itself to one of the most interesting, diverse and beautiful ecosystems around. Abundant grasses, scrubs and trees make a great home to many species of wildlife found in the area. The par 5 15th has been the most recent home for Birdie and Bogie, a pair of nesting bald eagles that have inhabited the river bottom near the golf course since the 1986. This pair has been one of the most prolific pair in the state producing over 30 offspring during the past 20 years. Even though they don’t nest every year on the golf course, the eagles frequent the area on a regular basis and you might just get to see them sitting in one of the majestic cottonwoods along the river or maybe see them fishing along the river. You may even be lucky enough to get a “double eagle” here, seeing two bald eagles at one time! You’ll now turn towards home and the finishing holes. #18 gives you a great view of Breeze Basin and Buck Mountain, and is the longest hole playing 591 yards from the back tees.
As the sun sets on your day of golf, you can finish it off with a cold one on the deck at the saloon and watch the sun set over the Great Divide. We hope you’ve enjoyed your ride around the Yampa Valley Golf Course and look forward to seeing you for a round or two with us in the real near future.