Tee-Off Time Arrives for Another Golf Season at Woodland Park’s Shining Mountain

2024 Season Featuring a Mixture of Old and New

Rick Langenberg

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

And after a rough winter, this development could not be better appreciated by area golfers, as tee-off time officially began early this month.  Depending on the weather, the course is now open for play on a daily basis, along with the driving range, putting/chipping area; and its spacious bar, regarded as one of the more scenic gathering spots in the area. The SM bar, in fact, is slated to be open seven days a week, initially from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Hours will expand as the season progresses.

Links fever is definitely alive and well in Woodland Park, with a full lineup of charity tournaments and events in the planning stages. One of the early highlight tournaments is the Teller County HDSA (Teller County Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association) Tourney, set for June 7.  An entire schedule of popular events from past years are definitely in play this year, along with some new additions.

Plus, league play is kicking off with SM’s popular senior, men’s and women’s groups, which compete on a regular basis.

“The greens are in great shape, and we are doing a lot of new things this year,” said Courtney Mickelson, who is running the bar operations, and assisting in the golf and pro shop arena. “We are really looking forward to the new season. There will be a lot of new faces and some familiar faces. We have quite an eclectic staff.”

Mickelson is definitely one of the more familiar faces, working at Shining Mountain for the last five years. She also is renown as one of the top women golfers in the area.

A former police officer, Mickelson admitted she opted to exchange her law officer gun for a golf club and hasn’t regretted the decision one bit. She admits getting inflicted with the golf bug  in  major way.   “If you play here, you can play anywhere,” quipped the personable SM manager, in describing SM’s challenging links-style layout, which reigns as one of the highest courses in the United States. The 18-hole course is known as one of Colorado’s more unique, shorter, championship courses (as far as overall length), and has received favorable reviews by Golf Digest.

Due to its altitude and having limited water options the course will continue to operate on a cart-path-only basis. “We really have to keep this as a cart-path-only facility to preserved the turf,” related the SM manager.

As for the course, the maintenance is once again under the reign of Tom and Dustin Hedwall, who know the course better than most people know their own backyard. They have played a key role in keeping the course in top shape, especially with the resources available to them.

“Tom and Dusty have been working 10 hours a day, seven days a week, getting the course ready for play. The greens and course is in great shape for this time of year,” said Mickelson

And to further enhance their links offerings, Shining Mountain plans to soon feature a golf simulator machine in the clubhouse area, allowing patrons to test their skills on some of the more challenging course in the country.

New Management

For the head management, Shining Mountain has a new top skipper. Silas Beck, who hails from Wyoming, and touts himself as an avid outdoorsmen, and who has been involved with a variety of businesses in the past, is the new general manager. “We really want the Shining Mountain Golf Course to bring the community together. We want this to be a real community hub and gathering spot,” said Beck.

The new Shining Mountain GM is exploring some new ideas this year, including the possibility of featuring live music. He said they hope to lease out the kitchen area downstairs and are actively looking for anyone to run their culinary operations. Anyone interested in pursuing this opportunity is advised to contact Beck directly. And anyone looking for a summer job, some good opportunities are still available at Shining Mountain. Plus, SM patrons are encouraged to introduce themselves to Silas. The course still sports same ownership, headed by Greg Brown of California.

In addition, Beck cites the pro shop as one area of definite improvement, as they plan to definitely increase the items they offer and provide more variety.

Overcoming a Huge Community Loss

On a very sad note, the SM season started out in a tragic manner, with the passing of former bar manager Jacob Travis Neal, an integral part of the Shining Mountain family for a number of years.  He was a good friend with many SM regular patrons and people in the community, including several staff members of TMJ.

“It is a big loss to the community,” said Mickelson. “He was very well liked and respected by everyone here. It hit a lot of us very hard.”

In Jacob’s honor, a special framed photo is displayed in a visible central spot in the SM clubhouse.   In addition, the SM bar will feature a special Lager beer in his name, Jacob’s Lager. Make sure you have a sip of this classic Lager in Jacob’s honor.

“That is what Jacob would have liked to drink,” related Courtney.

For more information about the Shining Mountain Golf Course and the facilities, call 719-687-7587.