AVON, Colo. -- The bookends of Beaver Creek Golf Club are tough, really tough.
Not to say the holes in the middle of the scenic Robert Trent Jones, Jr. layout in the Vail Valley are easy, but the biggest swings on the scorecard start and end the round.
In summer, Beaver Creek, a par 70 of 6,784 yards, is the exclusive playground of Beaver Creek, Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead lodging guests and Beaver Creek Club members. The golf course opens to the general public each spring (May 6-June 14) and fall (Sept. 16-Oct. 2).
For resort guests who time their tee off properly, a ranger drives the golf course at 1 p.m. daily, serving freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, a reminder just how exclusive and service-oriented life is inside the gates of Beaver Creek.
The golf course, which dates to 1982, is loaded with cross hazards. A winding creek must be avoided on 13 holes. Ponds are prevalent on two of the club's five par 3s, the fourth and 12th holes.
The first four holes are an interesting 5-3-5-3 mix of pars. These beautiful but claustrophobic holes lined by towering trees gobble up balls if you're not warmed up and ready to play. The two tricky par 5s require layups off of each tee, followed by daunting second shots. If you can survive this stretch, there's more room to hit driver for the next five par 4s in a row.
Beaver Creek Golf Club's most memorable hole is no. 15, a par 4 that flies over a hazard to a diagonal fairway. The approach must carry several bunkers to reach an elevated green framed in back by several old cabins. The finishing par 4s at nos. 17 and 18 are quite intimidating. My playing partner and I ended up rinsing four balls between us. We still ended the round all smiles.
If you're still hungry after the cookie, stopping by The Rendezvous Club restaurant for lunch or drinks is a great way to celebrate golf season in the stunning Rocky Mountains of Colorado.