Private Club, Public Dining
by Gary James
With a short season and competition from upscale dining establishments in the Vail Valley, private golf clubs from Vail to Wolcott have a tough putt when it comes to keeping members sated all summer. Which is why, private golf clubs swing open their doors to nonmember dining—with no F&B minimum.
Silver Sage (Red Sky Golf Club)
At Red Sky Golf Club, the 800-acre Vail Resorts-owned country club in Wolcott, members and resort guests alternate play between the Greg Norman and Tom Fazio courses. However, these players don’t alternate clubhouses. The Norman’s, which sits higher than the Fazio, is members-only—that is, until dinnertime.
Silver Sage (pictured above), its primo full-service restaurant that opens June 10, welcomes nonmember dining with reservations after 5 p.m. every day except Sunday and during special member events. The sweeping sunset views of Castle Peak and the surrounding Valley provide apposite accompaniment to the colorful juice bar offerings and Executive Chef Ron Jackson’s imaginative menu. In addition to perfectly prepared steaks, leg of lamb and grilled salmon, foie gras appears both as an appetizer—with a peanut-butter-and-jelly monte cristo and vanilla dressing—and atop the decadent Rossini Burger: a half-pound of ground Wagyu Beef from Delta, Colorado’s own 7X Ranch inside a challah bun with sweet onion jam and truffle fries.
Summer Thyme, at the “Guest” clubhouse on the Fazio course, serves a superb lunch. And for pre- or mid-round fare, hit the Bellyache Grill halfway house, which takes its name from Bellyache Ridge—the area occupied by the development—not from any kind of digestive distress. redskygolfclub.com
All three of Cordillera’ 18-hole courses feature a worthy clubhouse restaurant, but the one that best exemplifies the “Cordillera experience,” head to TimberHearth. Situated at the Mountain course, it exudes comfort and warmth with a three-story river rock fireplace, cozy furniture and large picture windows with panoramic views.
The menu offers locally-inspired cuisine with a Rocky Mountain flair—smoked Kurobuta pork chop with spaghetti squash, speck-wrapped Boulder Natural Chicken, lump crab- stuffed Rocky Mountain Trout—with a nightly “downhome cooking” special and Friday night Prime Rib. More than 300 selections populate the wine list. The more casual Chaparral Grille, at the Valley course, specializes in lighter fare such as veggie wraps, flatbreads and street tacos and salads. The Summit Course serves a lunch of salads, sandwiches, burgers and Korean Hog Wings. cordillera-vail.com
The highly successful rejuvenation of Eagle’s Frost Creek Club as a “four-season mountain lifestyle portal” manifests itself in the club’s staggering list of activities and amenities, as well as the presence of athletically attired diners in the clubhouse restaurant. After a morning round of golf or a ride up and down Brush Creek Road to Sylvan Lake State Park, members of the club and the general public have made brunch (or lunch) here a delightful ritual. Midday favorites on celebrated chef Marc Copenhaver’s ever-changing menu are the Fresh Main Lobster and Grits, Classic Eggs Benedict, Grilled Colorado Angus Steak Wrap with Avocado and Crisp Jalapeños and a Grilled Sea of Cortez Shrimp Salad with Ruby Grapefruit, Basil Dressing, and Crisp Onions. Dinnertime brings Grilled Colorado Angus Beef Ribeye “Filet,” a Crusted Pacific Halibut with Cauliflower Puree, and a Roasted Rack of Colorado Lamb with Kalamata Olive Crumb, and Mint Pistou—all of it fuel for the following day’s adventure. frostcreek.com
Perched on a gorgeous mountainside within the Country Club of the Rockies clubhouse comes an exquisite high-end fine dining experience courtesy of Executive Chef David Collins. The menu offers local and gluten-free dishes such as a grilled Rocky Mountain Ruby Red Trout and Colorado Braised Beef Short Ribs, plus creative salads, pasta dishes and sides. Another accompaniment is Vail Valley fixture Micky Poage, who regularly performs on piano. vista-arrowhead.com
Harvest (Sonnenalp Club)
When Sonnenalp Club opened its new fitness and member facility last year, it also elevated the level of its food and beverage service. While not quite the haute cuisine served at the namesake Vail Village hotel that owns it, the family-friendly Harvest was created and managed by renowned Colorado chef Kelly Liken. Her engagement ended at the close of ski season, but the legacy lives on. The new leadership is building on what she started, with a simple, seasonal menu extoling Colorado harvested organic ingredients. Specialties have included Colorado elk chili, five-spiced pork belly with Palisade peach preserves and a Colorado Lamb Ragout. The Pantry, located inside Harvest, serves grab-and-go coffee, pastries and breakfast items.
This article appears in the June 2017 issue of Colorado AvidGolfer. Subscribe today!
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