By Maggy Lehmicke
Driving into Steamboat Springs, Colorado seemed like driving into the Swiss Alps with the views of rolling hills and valleys dotted with rustic ranches and herds of dairy cows. We rounded a corner 10 miles outside of town and were struck by 180-degree views of Lake Catamount and the infinite evergreens that make up Routt National Forest. As a Colorado native, my husband chose this location for his birthday weekend, and it wasn’t hard to understand why. Golf resorts with mountain views are a great excursion.
After grabbing a quick lunch at Salt & Lime, one of the most celebrated taco joints in town, we immediately set out to Haymaker Golf Course. The 233-acre marvel is located in the midst of Yampa Valley and only a seven-minute drive from downtown Steamboat. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, we were greeted by what appeared to be a resident hawk watching us from a nearby flagpole—an ode to the course’s distinction as a cooperative sanctuary by Audubon International. Our visit during shoulder season meant fewer encounters with people and more with local fauna.
It was abundantly clear that Haymaker—much like the rest of Steamboat Springs—caters to those with a great appreciation for the outdoors. The traditional, Scottish links-style course seamlessly melds with the topography, featuring undulating greens and views of Mount Werner at every turn. Native wetlands, a St. Andrews replica bridge and the occasional roaming coyote were the primary obstacles. It was around hole number 11—“The Watering Hole”—that I was most taken aback; the fairway served as a red carpet for the tranquil pond and seemingly endless mountain range in the distance.
Playing from 5,059 to 7,3087 yards, the 18-hole championship course has at least four sets of tees per hole and caters to a range of abilities from novice to professional. Beyond the course itself, Haymaker’s lodge-like clubhouse and expansive outdoor patio were the perfect pit stop between plays, offering burgers and blistered shishito peppers paired with views of the high Rocky Mountains. It also touts a family-friendly practice facility with a driving range and putting green.
Less crowded hiking trails, easy accessibility to the city’s best restaurants and brisk, 60-degree weather that’s perfect for taking a dip in Strawberry Park Hot Springs are just a few perks of visiting outside of peak season. It was the course that drew us to Steamboat Springs, but we knew the mountains and surrounding wilderness would keep us coming back. See haymakergolf.com.
More golf resorts with mountain views to add to your bucket list:
Old Works Golf Course
Touting a newly remodeled clubhouse that reopened this past spring, this historic, Jack Nicklaus-designed course is nestled in southwest Montana’s Anaconda Range, offering views of Garrity Mountain, Table Mountain and other peaks. The course has a unique backstory built on the area’s rich mining history and copper smelting sites; what was once a Superfund cleanup site is now a world-class golf course. While the town of Anaconda is relatively small, the surrounding region attracts outdoor adventure junkies of all types. Ziplining, horseback riding and backwoods ATV tours are just a few popular activities. Those who’d like to delve even deeper into the area’s mining legacy can also tour Granite Ghost Town State Park and the Anaconda Smelter Stack. See playoldworks.com.
Anchorage Golf Course
Located on a hillside overlooking the city, players at Anchorage Golf Course enjoy expansive views not only of the Chugach Mountains, but of the granddaddy mount Denali itself. Beautiful tree-lined greens, 6,660 yards of golfing terrain and the opportunity to play under the midnight sun contribute to this growing attraction. The spectacular location isn’t the only thing putting this place on the map, as the course hosted the state’s first United States Golf Association (USGA) championship this past summer. Visitors can also indulge in the city’s growing food scene, participate in a Salmon Berry Tour or stop by the Alaska Native Heritage Center for cultural immersion. See anchoragegolfcourse.com.
The Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
This bucket-list course has a lot to offer, but is known primarily for one thing: a floating green. The famous 14th hole is located on a moveable island in Lake Coeur d’Alene that can be played anywhere from 90 to 220 yards and is commemorated with a quick shuttle ride in the resort’s “putter” boat. Serious golfers can also consider one of the resort’s stay-and-play packages, featuring luxury lakeside accommodations, a forecaddie service, lake shuttle transportation and more. While it’s known for golf, the lakeside location and dramatic mountain backdrop make the resort a great kickoff point for outdoor activities including paddleboarding, kayaking and skiing. See cdaresort.com.
Silvies Valley Ranch
Located halfway between Bend and Boise, 140,000-acre Silvies Valley Ranch is home to four championship golf courses—one of which is reversible, meaning the direction and layout are switched each day. Though the courses alone are enough to attract avid golfers, the ranch’s charming goat caddie program sets it apart, as well as the newly introduced winter golf option featuring high-loft clubs and tennis balls that can be spotted easily in the snow. Beyond golf, Western-inspired activities such as cattle roundups, wagon rides, cave tours and horseback treks are all popular pastimes. Silvies is also home to a spa with extensive amenities, including a large lap pool and indoor climbing wall. See silvies.us.