Tee Off Time Arrives For Another Links Season at Shining Mountain

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Rick Langenberg

Links’ fever has struck again, following a lengthy winter hiatus, and the Shining Mountain Golf Course and Event Center has officially opened for the 2022 season.

Currently, the challenging 18-hole course in Woodland Park is fully open, weather permitting, and is available for walking and for carts (on cart path-only areas). Besides the course, the driving range, putting green and chipping area are ready for use.

The course and club management will feature familiar faces, but will also sport some new people too.

“We are really looking forward to the season,” said Amy Fuller, who has returned as the general manager of Shining Mountain. Fuller is a familiar face, who has worked with Shining Mountain since 2016, and has much experience with area restaurants.

Golfers will be quite impressed with the quality of the course for this time of year, with new flags, specially-groomed tee areas and well-conditioned greens for this time of year. Preliminary reports have given the course’s condition, especially the tee areas and greens, a definite thumbs-up.

“Our greens’ crew has done a great job. They really take care of this place,” said Fuller.
The crew is headed by Tom and Dustin Hedwall, who know the course better than most people know their own backyard.

Fuller also is happy to report that Tom Hedwall, the head master greens’ guru, often considered the grand-daddy of links enhancements made to SM over a number of years, is improving well from shoulder injuries suffered from an earlier motorcycle accident.

“Tom is recovering very well.  We have had a lot of people asking about how he is doing.  Shining Mountain regulars will be glad to know that,” said Fuller.

The course, regarded as one of the most challenging small tracks in the state, listed once by Golf Digest as one of the top places to golf on “your bucket list, has increased slightly in length due to a popular change made in 2021.  It sports a par-71 track, instead of a par-70 layout.

Area linksters love the changes made last year to the 16th hole, which sports a new tee area and has been reconverted back to a scenic par-5. This added change has turned the back nine into a par-37 track; and in this writer’s opinion, ranks as probably one of the best nines in the Pikes Peak area.

Carts are permitted for play. For right now, linksters can use carts daily (weather permitting) from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  These hours will get extended as the season progresses and temperatures warm up. Golfers, who use carts, though, only use designated cart path areas. This is one restriction that is sometimes misunderstood by the public.

“We are not trying to make it hard for the golfers. We want to do our part in  helping out with the ongoing drought and extreme fire dangers,” said Fuller. “This helps us preserve the turf much better.”

Currently, the course is open for 18-hole tee-times from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., weather permitting. For nine-hole players, the deadline for those using carts is around 3:50 p.m. (But these hours will change as the season progresses.) Interested players can book a tee-time online, or by calling 719-687-7587.

Arranging tee times is much easier than the public courses in Colorado Springs. SM also offers some great deals in the form of punch cards and features specials on certain days of the week, such as their infamous “Three Tee Tuesdays,” with considerable discounts.

The course is also ready to kick off league play for a variety of groups, including a men’s and women’s league and a senior’s group. Plus, many tournaments and fund-raiser galas that got canceled  due to the coronavirus epidemic are now back on the schedule.

One of the first big tournaments is one hosted by a nonprofit group that works with the Teller County Sheriff’s Department. That popular outing is set for June 10, and may even involve players from TMJ (Special Advance Warning).

The course also will play host to a variety of top junior events. It has reigned as the home course for the Woodland Park High School golf team, which has captured much praise for their amazing level of improvement over the last decade.

Nationwide, golf has experienced a huge interest among women and young girls. In fact, during the pandemic, golf became one of the real growth sports on a recreational basis across the country.

Besides traditional golf, Shining Mountain offers three, disc golf courses, and has hosted some of the premiere state championships for frisbee linksters. It also prides itself as offering one of the few disc golf tracks in the state that runs along parts of a regular, traditional course.

Shining Mountain Bar Serves as Key Community Hangout

Shining Mountain, though, is much more than about golf. SM is known as one of the best places to hang out in the community, and to enjoy a drink and snack, and embrace the stellar views of Pikes Peak from the deck.

The Shining Mountain bar operation is headed by Jacob Neal, who has worked at SM for a number of years. “Jacob has been here longer than any of us,” commented Fuller.

Currently, Shining Mountain offers drinks, snacks and quick food items, such as prepared sandwiches, hot dogs, brats and nachos.

A variety of different options are being explored for the restaurant, according to Fuller.

But more than anything, Shining Mountain will continue its reputation as a key community hub during the golf season. Last season, the club opened its facilities up more to community groups. This same tradition will continue this year and will only improve, without the COVID-19 albatross hanging over the poplar links, a mainstay of Woodland Park since 1995.

And with the COVID restrictions reaching a conclusion (at least for now), Shining Mountain will become a prime spot for weddings and a variety of events.

For more information about Shining Mountain, call 719-687-7587 or visit their web site at www.shiningmountaingolf.com.