My Summer (Snow Notwithstanding) in Steamboat Springs

I started working at Steamboat Golf Club part time in May. It’s is a sporty little 9 hole track located on US 40 about 5 miles west of downtown. Nine holes sets you back either $30 on a weekday or $35 on the weekend, $1200 gets you a full membership with cart privileges, and $229 will provide one with 10 nine hole rounds for himself and friends.  The Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains provides a dazzling backdrop for the first few holes, and while it will never be accused of being a championship track, the course is well-conditioned with small, well-maintained greens and can trip up even the best of golfers.

There’s a retired gentleman named Blaise who does some carpentry work on the course’s bridges who told me about the time Tom Watson showed up at the club back in the late 1970’s. Avid golf readers may have come across John Feinstein’s wonderful tome “Caddy For Life,” which recounts the story of Bruce Edwards, Watson’s long time caddy who met his demise far too early from the ravages of ALS. Bruce’s brother Brian is a dentist in Steamboat Springs, and apparently Watson and Bruce paid a visit. Steamboat Golf Club was the only game in town at the time, so the two decided to give it a whirl. Apparently, Watson was impressed with the shot-making required on several of the holes, no doubt referring to #2, a short par 5 made challenging by a narrowing landing  area about 250 yards from the tee box, and the par 4 5th, another shortish hole with a tight fairway that requires a deft pitch approach over a small pond to a shallow green.

There are plenty of colorful characters who tee it up at SGC – “Muck-luck,” a retired entrepreneur who is the president of the Men’s Club and sports a long ponytail, “War Pig,” a shorter, slightly younger version of “Muck-luck,” and Steve, the local caterer who plays in the morning, knocks back a couple of Corona’s, and leaves me and whoever else is on that shift delicious sandwiches for consumption. And the ladies don’t lack for individuality, either – there’s Sandy, a retired teacher who’s taught at least half of the town’s full-time residents, Lindsay, another retired teacher who also coached golf at the local college, and Rene, a bubbly Italian who is a ski instructor.

As for my job – I take tee times on the phone, get folks out to the first tee, set up and clean carts, occasionally pour drinks, display merchandise . . . basically, whatever needs to get done. I’m generally in there for three or four days a week. The pay is minimal, but free golf is nice – not only here, but at the three other courses in Steamboat.

If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by.

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