Aspen Golf Club / The Little Nell

Aspen Golf Club / The Little Nell

Aspen Golf Club


Being dropped off at the Aspen Golf Club by one of the Little Nell’s affable concierge drivers (mine had a low handicap and course tips) makes it a seamless transition from luxury hotel room to first tee. And you are in for a wonderful Rocky Mountain golfing experience here.

Just a short drive from the famous ski resort town, Aspen Golf Club has been rated as one of the top Municipal courses in the United States (and No1. In Colorado by Golf Magazine in 2009-10). The parkland-style course is picturesque – you are surrounded by stunning mountains – including the mighty Aspen Mountain, Pyramid Peak, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk Mountain – as you progress down the lush, undulating fairways.

The course itself is not notably hilly, but water comes into play on 14 of the 18 holes so bring some spare balls.  There are seven sets of tees, accommodating for every level of golfer. Off the back, it’s a solid 7114 yards (6505 metres).

Not that visitors will notice it too much. The ball simply sails further through the thinner atmosphere here – I found my shots travelled 20-25 per cent further than my typical yardage. After three holes, I felt like Superman.

Or maybe that is because my playing partner was Aspen Golf Club professional Dede Cusimano, a former LPGA member with the reputation of being one of the best golf instructors in North America. She runs the Dede Cusimano Golf Academy at the golf club if you want to fine-tune your game up before hitting off.

A mid-afternoon summer shower had softened the greens up to receive approach shots when we teed off.  Dede put me at ease instantly and she knew when to give me course guidance and timely tips. Under her tutelage, I chipped in for Eagle on the par 5 Hole 7 – so I can truly vouch for this coach.

Another interesting fact – Aspen Golf Club is among a select group of golf destinations around the world to be certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, which means it has achieved a high standard on everything from environmental planning to wildlife and habitat management and water quality and conservation. It’s a beautiful spot.

The challenges:

Club selection for approach shots is the key to scoring well here – the ball travels significantly further in the higher altitude so you may want to dial it in on the range first. Before you swing from the tee, stay dry by knowing where to the water hazards are. Water comes into play on 14 of 18 holes.

When to play: Club selection for approach shots is the key to scoring well here – the ball travels significantly further in the higher altitude so you may want to dial it in on the range first. Before you swing from the tee, stay dry by knowing where to the water hazards are. Water comes into play on 14 of 18 holes.
Par: 71
Slope / Rating / Yardage:
7114 yards (black, men); 6499 yards (blue, women)
133 (black, men); 152 (blue, women)
73.5 (black, men); 77.1 (blue, women)
Best hole:
The par 5 seventh hole – consider the water hazard that runs across the fairway.

The resort experience:
The Little Nell is one of the finest hotels in the United States. Being greeted by the concierge with a glass of champagne on check-in is just for starters. You can expect warm and fine service at this five-star, five-diamond luxury hotel. With stunning mountain views, sumptuous dining, luxurious accommodations, and classy amenities, this is one destination you can truly treat yourself to. From sipping on the finest espresso in Colorado at breakfast, soaking in the pool and hot tub while you take in Aspen Mountain, feasting at one of its three restaurants, all the way to melting into the cloud-like pillows back in your giant bed at the end of another adventurous day, this is an exceptional experience. Summer or winter, it’s a pleasure to stay here.

Dine and wine:

Whether it is a guest room or a luxury suite, you’ll find the accommodation both spacious and smartly designed. Take a soak in the giant tub before retiring to your supremely comfortable bed– it’s the perfect retreat after a busy day of Aspen adventures. Gas log fireplaces add to the cosiness during the colder months. Most of the rooms have private balconies that face toward the mountainside or the town. You’ll be able to sip on a glass of wine and take in views that include Red Mountain, Aspen Mountain, the town or hotel’s pool and courtyard.

The accommodation:
The Prestige Villas come in one- to five-bedroom options. These have modern interiors with comfortable décor, king-size beds, en-suite bathrooms with separate bathtubs, a full kitchen with stainless steel appliances, a living room, three LCD TVs and a swimming pool. The Prestige Suites come with one or two bedrooms, a terrace with lagoon views, a living area, kitchen and bathroom with tub and dual vanities, and as an added treat, an infinity plunge pool.

Other activities:
In winter, you can ski in and ski out of this fabulously located property – the gondola is ready to whisk you up Aspen Mountain. In summer, it is the perfect base for your outdoor adventures. As well as golf, you can enjoy an incredible day of guided fly-fishing on the Roaring Fork River. I hooked two- and three-pound rainbow trout on nymphs after a solid hike to the powerful mountain river, which eventually feeds into the mighty Colorado River. These athletic creatures will give you an almighty fight. There is a sports shop with all the gear you need.

At the Aspenx bike shop you can get rentals and book yourself into an amazing cycling tour or experience. I joined a Ride + Dine experience that saw me cycle out of town, down the valley, and along the Roaring Fork River to Mad Dog+Studio – which was the late Eagles band member Glen Frey’s property. Our group enjoyed a feast and music in a gorgeous setting.
You can also book a guided off-road adventure to take in the famous Maroon Bells Wilderness and Continental Divide, with gourmet snacks included.

Closer to home, you’ll soon be able to get the endorphins flowing in The Little Nell’s spa and fitness center, which is getting a contemporary makeover from Luis Bustamante Interior Design.

Upon arrival, you’ll be treated to a unique beverage and light bites before your therapist assesses your needs and customises the treatment plan – expect cutting-edge facials and massage treatments. Come November, it will be Aspen’s only ski-in / ski-out spa.

The outdoor heated pool and hot tub are a must-try as well.

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