Grazie for Il Prato

The Club at Ravenna’s Il Prato adds an exclamation mark to its finishing hole

Story By Kim D. McHugh

Photos by Johnny Brewers of Homefield Productions and The Club at Ravenna

Akin to assembling a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, The Club at Ravenna has taken some time to arrange the last few pieces in its master plan.

Its debut in 2007 instantly put it on the map as one of Colorado’s premier gated communities and private golf clubs. From day 1 it has been anchored by a multi-award-winning, 7,263-yard Jay Morrish-designed golf course and enjoyed an enviable setting among the red rocks of the Dakota Hogback near Waterton Canyon in the foothills west of Denver.

Now the upscale community has added another stellar amenity — Il Prato.

Il Prato (the lawn in Italian) is a new gathering place and water feature for members and their guests. It joins La Bella Vita (the good life), the club’s impressive, three-sto- ry fitness center, swimming pool and outdoor entertainment area that opened in 2018, and Villa Ravenna, the club’s spectacular, 25,000-square-foot Tuscan-in-spired clubhouse, which opened at the end of July 2022.

“We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what should go in that space near the eighteenth green. It was important to create both a unique sense of arrival for golfers finishing their round, but also a really magical spot for special events and where members have another place to hang out and enjoy a picnic or play with their kids,” says Kevin Collins, the club’s owner and CEO.

Once a design was agreed upon, excavation on the site began in the fall of 2022 and Il Prato was unveiled late last July just in time for The Bravado, The Club at Ravenna’s member-guest golf event.

“(Landscape contractor Mike Wehling) went to the quarry to begin selecting stones, and they’re big stones with some being seven, eight and nine tons each, and then he went out and sat (at the site) looking at all the stones trying to figure out how we would put it all together. He had the crane moving stones and setting them in specific places so the water would flow over particular areas. It was quite a process, but he wanted to create a soothing water sound while also making sure the area worked in terms of scale.”

Built in three tiers, Il Prato features an upper pond, one small lawn area, a large lawn area capable of having an event tent occupy the space and an intimate seating area overlooking the finishing hole that accommodates four Adiron- dak chairs. Of course, there are the more than three dozen aforementioned stones, the largest of which are strategically aligned to allow the water to cascade over the stones to a lower pond, subtly serenading both golfers approaching the 18th green as well as those seated on the back patio of the clubhouse, where the rock formations and landscaping can also be admired.

“We knew lighting was key, so the final touch was integrating that into the space. When it’s lit up in the evening, it’s a great complement to how the clubhouse is lit up,” Collins explained.

Not surprisingly, Il Prato has garnered accolades from members and its popularity as a place for staging events quickly caught on. Last August, a 120-guest wedding was held there with the couple choosing the location for its close proximity to the clubhouse, as well as panoramic views that encompass the foothills, downtown Denver in the distance, an expanse of red rocks and the fairway and green of the eighteenth hole.

Another memorable experience was when Patience Hooks, one of the club’s personal trainers, led summer yoga classes on the lawn and Fitness Director, Zane Bickler, took his Fitness Circuit participants up there for a morning workout. In October, the club’s Harvest Party took over the space, incorporating a four-station ‘wine walk’ where guests started at the clubhouse and ascended to the lawn area all the while sampling wine, wild boar and other seasonal delights. In early February, shortly after their off-campus church wedding, Chris Collins and his new bride, Angela, had their post-nuptials pictures taken at the site, which also was the starting off point for their reception at the nearby clubhouse.

Il Prato has already demonstrated that it’s also an attractive setting for member-hosted bridal luncheons, birthday and milestone anniversary parties, and after-the-round soirees associated with charitable organization fundraising golf tourneys. This year it will be the venue for the Great Western Steak Out barbecue dinner and it’s being considered as a place to stage intimate music events.

Typical of how Collins operates, he, with input from his son, is fine-tuning the Il Prato experience so that this spring members and their guests can enjoy the melliflu- ous sounds provided by the newly added concert quality speakers, which serve to enrich the already inviting atmosphere.

“I believe everything we do here is about quality and things should be as good as you can make them. When you stand up here or you’re on the cart path down below or you’re coming into eighteen or you’re looking up from the clubhouse, everything just flows together. It’s really pretty special.”

 


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