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The sky's the limit at Red Sky Ranch and Golf Club in Wolcott, Colorado
By Larry Olmsted,
WOLCOTT, Colo. -- Ski destinations all over the country have embraced golf as a way to increase summer business and turn themselves more into year-round, four-season, second-home opportunities.
But perhaps no spot has succeeded quite like Red Sky Ranch and Golf Club.
With two stunning courses that have been ranked in the nation's top 100, there isn't a finer multi-course golf club in the mountains anyplace in North America. Unlike most of its peers, Red Sky Ranch is not a world-class ski area with golf. Rather, it's a world-class golf facility that happens to be very close to world-class skiing.
Forbes recently named Red Sky Ranch one of the nation's 12 best private golf communities, and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem calls Red Sky Ranch home.
Vail Resorts, the largest ski resort operator in the world and the owner of Beaver Creek and Vail, developed Red Sky Ranch. Beaver Creek and Vail are the two closest ski resorts to the gated golf community, about 15 and 30 minutes away, respectively. Vail is the largest single ski mountain in the nation, and Red Sky Ranch is just 20 minutes from the Eagle Vail Airport. Between the ski resorts and the nearby towns of Avon and Edwards, there are more than a hundred restaurants and countless shopping and entertainment offerings.
Golf at Red Sky Ranch
Greg Norman and Tom Fazio designed the golf courses, and both are excellent, though the Norman Course is considered the marquee layout. The Norman Course has more dramatic elevation changes and drop-dead gorgeous holes, while the Fazio Course wraps through memorable stands of Aspen trees and is more gently rolling and less penal. Either would be an excellent private golf course on its own, with sweeping vistas of the Rockies at every turn.
Red Sky Ranch spans 780 acres and has partnerships with several local luxury hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch and Four Seasons Vail. Hotel guests can come and play, making this a semi-private club rather than totally private. The courses alternate daily outside access, which is limited, so member always have one course completely to themselves.
There is a beautiful full-featured, members-only clubhouse that outside guests cannot use and a second clubhouse that nonmembers can use. Other facilities include fly-fishing for trout both on-site and on the famed Eagle River (two miles away), a network of hiking trails, fitness center, year-round golf improvement center and practice facilities and a full golf academy. In the winter the club maintains a private clubhouse at the Bachelor Gulch base area of Beaver Creek for turnkey ski access with storage, dining and concierge staff.
Home sites at Red Sky Ranch
There are no condos or villas here, just 87 home sites for custom homes. Of those, 43 are either built (32), under construction (seven) or in the design review process (four).
Sale prices the past two years have ranged from $167,000 to $715,000 for lots and $1.45 to $4.3 million for finished homes. The design aesthetic is luxury Old West, so all the homes incorporate lots of timber, beams, stone and glass with a high level of architectural consistency throughout. Home sites are strategically clustered in a few spots, so much of the Red Sky property is kept natural and pristine, a reminder of its origins as an actual working ranch. Almost all the homes boast panoramic mountain views, some with golf course views as well.
For a club of this level in one of the most desirable mountain region in the nation, prices are actually surprisingly affordable. There are currently three finished custom homes for sale, including a four-bedroom, six-bathroom, 4,470-square-foot model overlooking the 18th green of the Fazio Course for $2.3 million and a five-bedroom, six-bathroom, 7,405-square-foot compound with every imaginable luxury for $4.4 million.
Larry Olmsted has written more than 1,000 articles on golf and golf travel, for the likes of Golf Magazine, T&L Golf, LINKS, Golf & Travel, Men's Health, Men's Journal, USA Today, and many others. He broke the Guinness World Record for golf travel and wrote Getting into Guinness, as well as Golf Travel by Design. He was the founding editor of The Golf Insider, and the golf columnist for both USA Today.com and US Airways Magazine.
May 21, 2012
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.