|PGA pro and Pagosa Springs Golf Club General Manager Troy Persson is proud that his course is unique, in a number of ways.
“Definitely, the terrain is a huge difference,” Persson says. “We have mountain-style ponderosa pine-lined fairways. We also have grassland, more of a links-style course, but it’s the mountain terrain that makes a difference.”
Started in the 1970s, the Johnny Bulla-designed course began with just nine holes, but expanded over the next 15 years, coming into its own as a 27-hole resort-style course by the late 1980s. Yet, as the course grew into a resort-class facility, Persson says it managed to retain the charm that infuses all of Pagosa Country.
“It’s more of a family-friendly course than your standard adult, resort-style course,” he said.
Persson added that attitude extends to every aspect of the course, from the caddies to the instructors and all other employees. “The main thing is the hospitality, the small-town feel.”
Despite a small-town atmosphere, the course offers all the amenities of any big-city course. With driving ranges, chipping ranges, a putting-practice green, a full-service pro-shop, locker rooms, cart rentals and a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, the Pagosa Springs Golf Club offers everything for a fun and relaxing day on the course.
A ski-instructor at Wolf Creek during the winter months, Persson says he feels he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be. Although taking advantage of the slopes almost every day while the golf course remains blanketed by several feet of snow (the course’s hill near the intersection of U.S. 160 and Piedra Road is a popular sledding spot), Persson said that summer is when the beauty of Pagosa Country really comes to the fore.
“I can’t believe how perfect the weather is. With average highs in the low 80s throughout the summer, it’s incredible golfing weather. It’s almost never too hot,” he says.
Visitors taking advantage of that perfect weather and the challenges of an alpine course tell Persson that a round of golf caps off a perfect vacation in Pagosa Country. “They love the experience they get in Pagosa Springs,” he says, “the small-town friendliness, the views, everything.”
And those views are an integral part of the overall experience at the Pagosa Springs Golf Club. “One of the things everyone loves about the course is that we pretty much have 360 degree views of the mountains and the forests. It’s just beautiful,” Persson says.
“During the fall, you have all the colors painting the surrounding mountains. You have all the seasons out here. The warm summer days, even a little snow in late spring or early fall. We have it all.”
Asked if visitors need to adjust their game in this altitude, Persson laughed, saying, “Naturally, the ball flies a little bit farther. You get about a 20-percent increase on the average shot or drive. There’s about a club and a half difference. Of course, it makes some golfers think they just got stronger.”
Yet, while Persson says that visitors are an important addition to the Pagosa Springs Golf Club experience, he emphasizes that it is local residents who most matter to the club. “My main goal is to take care of the locals. I want to make sure they’re taken care of and we’re offering them a daily discount.”