Road Report: Snowmass Village, Colorado

When it comes to golf, we get around. Each month our editors share dispatches on the cool places they visit.
September 11, 2015

The name Aspen evokes thoughts of black-diamond ski slopes, hot-tub parties and fur-covered UGG boots. But the popular winter resort area has an alter ego: In the summer it's one of the prettiest, most serene places on Earth, and home to some ear-popping mountain golf. The area's best-kept secret is the private, eco-friendly Snowmass Club (pictured above), which was meticulously redesigned by Jim Engh in 2004 and offers one of the greatest up-and-down rounds a golfer can face. (The club has limited tee times for the public for $185, cart included.)

Built to reward precision and imagination, the par-72, 7,008-yard layout has 400 feet of elevation changes and is 8,000 feet above sea level at its lowest point. The thin-air distance boost, about 10 to 15 percent for a well-struck shot, comes in handy on holes like the 278-yard sixth, a downhill par 3 with a very large green. The tee shot of the day is on the majestic 18th. No matter the skill level, every player should take a rip from the elevated back tee just to watch the ball descend more than 100 feet into the fairway. The uphill holes, such as the par-3 12th, test your club selection as much as they do your swing (not to mention make you glad you took a cart). Engh's signature deep bunkers with flat bottoms can be found on practically every hole, but the biggest hazard at Snowmass is distraction. Amazing views of the Rocky Mountains and long-range glimpses of elk, moose and the occasional bear provide great excuses for a bad shot.