Steamboat Springs
…where golfing is super in the summer

Story & Photos by: Ed Stone

Before snow skiing became the big outdoor sport in Steamboat Springs, there were the Ute Indians. "The sound they heard coming from the Yampa River, they thought, was a steamboat…thus, the naming of this popular Colorado town."

The spring still flows on the edge of town, but no longer chugs. The Yampa River runs through Steamboat Springs

Then in the 1820's three French trappers also heard a ‘chug chug’ sound coming from an underground spring.  The sound, they thought, was a steamboat coming up the Yampa River, too.  This popular Colorado town is located some 160 miles northwest of Denver.  The spring still flows on the edge of town, but no longer chugs.  That stopped in 1908 when a railroad bed was laid above the spring.

In 1875, James Crawford and his family settled in the area and later persuaded some other businessmen to join him.  They lived peacefully with the Ute’s and shared the many mineral springs in the area that provided healing powers.  The Ute’s were moved from Colorado in 1880 following the battle at Milk Creek.

From the beginning, Steamboat Springs has been a local town supported by ranching and businesses.  Today, this still holds true as being a community of people living and making a livelihood in the area.

Howelsen introduced ski jumping to the area and today, the year-round ski jump is affectionately called the Howelsen Hill.

In 1914, Carl Howelsen came from Norway to Steamboat Springs.  He was a Barnum and Bailey Circus star.  Howelsen introduced ski jumping to the area and today, the year-round ski jump is affectionately called the Howelsen Hill.  Today many Olympic skiers come to practice on this jump.  This ski jump helped to create a whole new industry for the city and state. His arrival would forever change the face and appeal of this area known for cattle farming and raising of corn and vegetables.  At one time, this was a major area for growing strawberries and thus the name for Strawberry Park in the city.

Outdoor sports are big in Colorado.  Steamboat Springs is known as “Ski Town USA.” Snow skiing and related activities reign as the major sports in the winter, but in the summer, these facilities only enhance the area for other outdoor sports.  When the thawing of the white powder takes place in the spring…so arrives the myriad of summer activities geared to families and especially the outdoor enthusiasts.


Fish Creek runs in front of the #16 hole at Rollingstone Golf Course.
The 12th hole, par three of the Haymaker Golf Course.

Although there are only 45-holes of golf open to the public, plus one private course, in Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley area, this is a big sport in the summer and early fall.  There’s a choice of four outstanding courses to play within a 15 minute drive of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, just one of many hotels and cottages available in this picturesque area. They are, Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club (formerly the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Course), Haymaker Golf Course, the 9-hole Steamboat Golf Club and Catamount Golf Club (private).  All are worth the time, energy and effort to play.  Securing a tee time is not a problem since most visitors to the area are there for mountain biking, hiking, climbing, fishing, horseback riding, tubing, rafting or just enjoying nature at her best.

The Sheraton Steamboat Golf Course changed its name in 2008 to the Rollingstone Ranch Golf Course.  Still owned by the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, less than a mile from the clubhouse, it is managed by the Troon Corporation with club pro, Brian Thorne in charge.  He has been at Rollingstone Ranch since 2004.  Prior to this position, he spent some time training with the prestigious Kierland Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. The change is bringing about a $2 million renovations and upgrades program.  These include improved fairways, irrigation system and all new sets of tee boxes.  The course was named for Rollingstone Ranch (an old working ranch where the course is now located) – which got its name from the creek that now runs through the course.  During the spring run off of snow, boulders and huge rocks would come rolling and thundering down the creek; resulting in the name “Rollingstone.”  The two story clubhouse is entered via the second story from the rear of the building.  A very nice bar and restaurant on the second story offers guests the opportunity to grab a nice snack or meal prior to, or after your game.

Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club:

The no. 11, par three of the Rollingstone golf course.

The 6,902 yard, par-72 course, designed by Robert Trent Jones II and opened in 1974 is a most delightful layout.  Scenic…very, challenging…yes, but doesn’t beat you up, enjoyable to play…you betcha!  Fish Creek runs through the course where four of holes are enhanced by its beauty and natural hazards.  The USGA ratings for the course are 72.0/138.  The practice facilities are first class and include a driving range, putting green and practice bunker.  For bragging rights, Golf Digest ranked the course with 4.5 stars in its “Places to Play” in 2004.

Truly a most challenging and enjoyable course with Colorado scenery you would expect to see in this part of the state.  You are treated to not only a beautiful golf course, but the scenic surroundings of Mt. Werner, the Flat Tops, Emerald Mountain, Sleeping Giant and the Yampa Valley. 

Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club
2200 Village Inn Court
Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80487
Phone 970.879.2220
Fax 970.879.5628

Haymaker Golf Club:

The Haymaker course offers wide fairways for a challenging round.

This city-owned public golf course is a jewel that will polish your game and provide some of the most beautiful Yampa Valley vistas.  Built on 233-acres with a “links-type” construction, it did not feel anything like a true links course.  Haymaker is a most enjoyable layout with no homes, yards or building to distract your game around the edges of the course.  The score card indicates the course plays from 5,059 to 7,308 yards offering four sets of tee boxes.  A nice driving range, sand trap, chipping and putting green offer a most substantial practice area.

Stepping onto the first tee at Haymaker, you are captured with first the scenery of Mount Werner as a backdrop and then you realize you must keep your ball in the fairway.  The rough at Haymaker is a high mountain meadow mix that includes alfalfa and red clover.  Steamboat Springs brought in golf course architect Keith Foster, a nationally acclaimed designer.  He was asked to bring to the course the rich pastoral background of this ranching community while maintaining a precious balance with nature.  Foster had already gained considerable fame by designing the award-winning Quarry golf course in San Antonio, Texas.  The city wanted to offer golfers a challenging course, but user friendly.  They wanted to make best use of the views of the surrounding valley, mountains and maintain native grasses and wetland areas.  Haymaker is proud to be one of Audubon International’s Signature Program.

Haymaker Golf Club
34855 US Highway 40 E.
PO Box 775088
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
Phone: 970.870.1846
FAX: 970.879.6235

Steamboat Golf Club:

The Steamboat Golf Club features a 9-hole course.

This is the oldest golf course in the Yampa Valley and consists of nine beautiful holes.  Again, the beautiful vistas are the biggest distraction from the golfing in this area.  The Steamboat Golf Club was founded in 1964 with many of the holes skirting the Yampa River.  It features beautiful views of the valley and Steamboat’s ski mountains.  The recently built clubhouse offers a full bar and restaurant.  This is a most affordable golf course compared to others in the area.

Steamboat Golf Club
26815 West US 40
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
Phone: 970.879.4295
Toll Free: 866.479.4295
 Fax: 970.879,0649

Catamount Ranch and Club:

The breathtaking Catamount golf club.
Photo courtesy of Catamount.

The Catamount Ranch and Club is a private development with an 18-hole championship and regulation layout designed by Tom Weiskopf.  The back tees play to a par 72 and yardage of 7,088.  The course opened in 2000 and offers the player outstanding vistas of the Mt. Werner and the Yampa Valley.

There are a limited number of memberships available for those wanting to live either at the Catamount Ranch and Club or in the nearby area.  If you are not a member, you must have a member to arrange your tee time at this 4,000 acre recreational preserve surrounded by the million and a half acres of National Forest with its 12,000 foot-plus mountains.  Catamount also offers a 530-acre private lake with breathtaking landscapes during all seasons.

Catamount Ranch & Club
P.O. Box 774707
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
Phone: 970.871.9300
Fax: 970.871.9222

Other Outdoor Activities:
Steamboat Springs is truly a year-round outdoors paradise.  Whether your sport is snow skiing, snow shoeing, rafting, tubing (water and snow), cycling, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, photography…and, yes, golfing.  There is plenty for everyone at Steamboat Springs.

Biking is one of the most popular activities around Steamboat Springs.
Tubing on the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Fly fishing is a popular sport in Steamboat Springs.

Snow skiing is the largest segment of the outdoor sports activities in the Yampa Valley.  The ski lift takes you to some 8,600 feet to the top of Mount Werner and offers every imaginable ski run you could want.  The facilities are designed for the beginner as well as the seasoned skier.

Justin and Wayne Lacovetto at the entrance to Saddleback Ranch.

Horseback riding and ranching is another large element of the attractiveness to this area.  Some 15 miles out of Steamboat Springs is the 8,000-acre Saddleback Ranch.  Owned and operated by the Lacovetto Family, this is a working ranch that welcomes visitors to participate in the ranching activities.  Wayne and Luanna are the parents with their three sons Justin, Jason and Jarad working in all capacities.  The wives pitch in to make for an outstanding operation to entertain individuals, families and corporate outings.  The operation can accommodate up to 300 people in the beautiful lodge used for weddings, company picnics and other outdoor functions.  During the winter, the Saddleback Ranch is converted to a snow tubing and snow boarding operation.  For more information,

Don Johnson, owner of Strawberry Park

Strawberry Park is one of a few hot springs in the area and attracts people all year.  Don Johnson came to the area from Chicago to “get away from the big city.”  He is very passionate about his attraction…and, rightly so.  Strawberry Park offers bathers and swimmers a place to relax in several pools with varying temperatures.  The magna rock heats the water some 12,000 feet underground and delivers it to the springs at 157 degrees to be blended in with cooler water for swimmers.  For those wanting a massage, Strawberry Park uses the Watsu or Water Shiatsu method.  This unique type of massage is a blending of the warm hot spring water and the principles of Zen Shiatsu.

Rustic accommodations are offered in cabins and tent sites.  There is no electricity and a central bathhouse is provided to all overnight guests in the facilities.  For more information,

Tubing, fishing and recreation along the Yampa River are ideal during the summer.  Fly fishing for the elusive rainbow trout is one sporting activity you will find not only in this river, but all rivers flowing in the area.  Tubing is very popular and there are several places offering tubes and shuttle to and from the launching areas.

Brandon Lockhard a third generation grandson of F.M. Light.

Driving into Steamboat Springs from any direction, one cannot miss the yellow and black signs promoting F.M. Light & Sons western wear store.  Established in 1905, this is the real thing when it comes to cowboy togs.  The 22,000-square foot store covers almost a whole block on the main street (highway 40) in Steamboat Springs.  Brandon Lockhard a third generation grandson helps with the day-to-day duties and oversees the management of this “must see” attraction.  Patty Lindley has over 14 years of service with the store and greets everyone with a smile and great customer service.  For more information:

Where to Stay:

One of the newly renovated and decorated rooms at the Sheraton Steamboat Springs Resort.

Sheraton Steamboat Resort - This 315 room property is conveniently located at the Steamboat Gondola that takes guests to the 3,000 acres of ski areas for snow skiing, hiking, mountain biking, etc.  The hotel has recently undergone a major renovation of all rooms, meeting space and public areas.  This major facelift was completed December 2008.  For meeting planners, this hotel is ideal with 16 meeting rooms totaling 25,000 square feet.  To service the guests and visitors to the gondola area, there are two restaurants, plus a Starbucks Coffee shop that offers free wireless Internet.  The Sheraton also offers seven rooftop spas, outdoor heated swimming pool and a business center.

For meeting planners, the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Hotel is ideal with 16 meeting rooms totaling 25,000 square feet.

With more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space, this is an ideal location for banquets and conferences.

Beautiful art in the Sheraton Steamboat Springs Resort.

Exterior view of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

For more information:
Sheraton Steamboat Resort
2200 Village Inn Court
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
Toll Free: 866.716.8134