Once again my group of mostly out-of-state Colorado Golf Binge players thoroughly enjoyed playing here again last week. Our weather was great and the course was in fpretty good shape. Last winter was hard on the course. Hopefully it will bounce back next year.
Hole #7 continues to be a challenge for drainage but almost all other problem areas seem to be largely corrected with updates on their irrigation systems. The Raven's biggest challenge seems to be keeping the cart paths from sliding down the mountainsides….a problem common to Summit County including I-70.
The unique features of The Raven are generally wide and lush fairways, large and fine greens that are very challenging to read and great elevation changes.
Bring your camera for great Rocky Mountain scenery combined with a fair amount of local wildlife including fox, deer, an occasional moose and ospreys that for years have had their huge nest on a post overlooking the 3rd fairway. You may see an osprey snatch a large trout from ponds of The Raven or the neighboring ponds and fly it back to its tall nest on the pole.
The Raven staff will welcome you to a great day of golf and send you off on what begins as a rather tame front nine. But as you climb from the Blue River valley uphill to the par 3 8th hole (appropriately named Buena Vista) you'll be ready for 2 very exciting downhillers. The 8th hole measures 184 yds from the Raven (tips) tees and 134 yds from the forward tees. A flatlander with a good game should probably hit about 2 clubs less than he'd hit this distance at low altitude due to the approximate 150 ft. drop from tee to green and the thin, light air at almost 9,000' above sea level. Of course this depends on the wind that day. Just don't miss left or long!
Then #9 is a breathtaking par 4 with a launch pad tee box that must sit 300 feet or more above the green on this par 4 monster. Drive your tee shot straight out into the Rocky Mountain air and watch it drop hopefully to the center of the lush, downsloping fairway. Then hit your long iron to the left front of the right sloping green, earn your birdie or par and head happily past the beautiful Raven clubhouse and patio to the even more challenging back nine.
The Raven's back nine has two very tough par 3s (#12 and 14) and five fun but challenging par 4s. But it's the two par 5s that really define the back nine here. #11 (properly named Waterloo) is a super risk/reward hole. Your tee shot hopefully will land just short of the large trout filled pond straight off the tee. A well-struck 200+ yard, high risk second shot over the pond puts you in great position for a birdie or eagle. But the more prudent shot tends to be playing the hole as a double dogleg and hit a mid to long iron left of the pond in preparation for lofting a high, soft iron to a green that can be tough to hold.
My favorite hole is The Raven's signature #16. It's a long downhill, dogleg right par 5. Measuring 601 yards from the tips and 489 yards from the forward tees this hole welcomes a long, left center tee shot followed by an equally long and well aimed second shot near or on a well- bunkered, roller coaster green. From #16 you begin a long, uphill climb through two tough par 4s and finish at a high point on the course.
After your final putt on #18 you'll drive a long, steep, downhill cart path with lots of switchbacks before returning to the clubhouse for a great lunch, dinner and/or drinks on the normally sunny patio. You've earned a beverage of choice following your Rocky Mountain high golf experience at The Raven at Three Peaks.