Tee-Off Time Arriving For Another Golf Season at Woodland Park’s Shining Mountain

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Paved Cart Paths, Re-opening of Restaurant and New Events to Become Part of  SM Mix

Rick Langenberg

Links season has arrived for one of Woodland Park’s most revered community hubs and recreational playgrounds.

Contingent on the weather, the Shining Mountain Golf Course and clubhouse bar/lounge and event center is slated for a  late April or early May opening. Area linksters, disk golfers and  locals who enjoy hanging out in the most scenic bar and patio area in the region, will be elated.

Shining Mountain has sported a variety of lives and plethora of rumors, but has retained an even-par score as one of the area’s most popular assets. Few communities the size of Woodland Park can boast of having a championship golf course and three disc layouts in their backyard, not to mention a trophy-level clubhouse. Golf Digest once ranked Shining Mountain as one of the top places to play golf “on your bucket list.”

“We are very excited.  We are looking forward to a great season,” said Amy Fuller, who returns as the general manager for the third consecutive year. Fuller is no newcomer the SM’s operations, working with Shining Mountain since 2016.

Due to her longevity with SM, Fuller has a keen knowledge as to what works and doesn’t at Shining Mountain.

“We are going to have a lot of the same people, but will have some new faces and some new ideas.  We are going to roll the dice and see how it goes,” said Fuller.

Fuller expressed much optimism about this year’s links play, with ongoing improvements to the course’s cart paths and recently reseeded greens that rival any in the Pikes Peak region.  In fact, by last week’s observation, they now look greener than those played by competitors at the recent Masters tourney.

“We are doing a lot of improvements to the course,” said Fuller, who admits that last summer the course hit a few maintenance hurdles with its washed-out cart paths, cattle invasions and even an infusion of prairie dogs. “Those issues have been addressed,” said the SM general manager.

The course maintenance is under the realm of the greens’ crew, headed by Tom and Dustin Hedwall, who know the course better than most people know their backyard.

Long-term solutions to some of the course’s infrastructure woes are on the way.

According to Fuller, plans are getting finalized by owner Greg Brown to possibly pave the course’s entire cart path network. This project is expected to help the course in the long-term, which sometimes gets plagued by big rain storms. The par 71-couse, though, will still operate through a cart-path only system for the vast majority of players that like to ride.

The season is already getting off to fast preliminary start. Planning is underway for the course’s Men’s, Women’s and Senior’s leagues. In addition, a full lineup of charity tourneys, benefitting a slew of nonprofit groups, are right around the corner. The first big charity outing is  scheduled for June 9 outing, featuring a popular tourney that indirectly benefits the sheriff’s department. It is sponsored by the Teller County Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association, and is a very well-attended event. Last year’s HDSA tourney even included a team by TMJ who threatened a few homes on the front-nine with wayward shots. (Nope, no arrests were recorded).

“We have a full schedule of tournaments and events and are booking many weddings,” said Fuller.

And for those who opt to improve their links skills, the course is offering lessons by contracting out with teaching pro Giuseppe Depietro, a lead coach for the Woodland Park High School golf team.

And for disk golf players, SM features three disc golf layouts, the Beast, which runs along part of the regular course, Whispering Pines and Serenity Pines.

“Disc golf gets bigger and bigger,” said Fuller. On the upside, she stated that relations between frisbee golfers and regular, traditional players has progressed very well. “It a real working relationship.  Everyone gets along very well.”

Contrary to the bitter feud between the traditional PGA tour and the Saudi-backed LIV rival league, golf politics don’t exist at Shining Mountain.  SM, in fact, is involved with a variety of PGA-sanctioned programs that support youth golf and veterans, such as Youth on Course, Golf In Schools and Patriot Golf.

More than Just Golf

Shining Mountain, though, is much more than just about golf.

The Shining Mountain bar will once again be headed by Jacob Neal, who has a knack for customer service and knowing the drink and beverage habits of regular patrons, and listening to their heroic links’ tales or lies (depending on your view).   The SM bar area and outdoor patio is considered one of best hangouts in the region, with breath-taking views of Pikes Peak.

Shining Mountain, unlike 2022, hopes to reopen their restaurant, at least for featuring golf course-type food fare.  “We definitely want do something this year with our food/restaurant operation this year,” said Fuller.  More details could be released in the next few weeks.

This became one “Achilles Heel” that hurt the operation last year.

Plus, the club plans to do more special events. Plans are getting mulled for a trivia night and maybe a musical trivia evening also.

“We plan to do a lot more with this facility this year,” related Fuller.

When the course opens in the next few weeks, initial tee-times will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Bookings can occur online or by calling 719-687-7587.