Once a pig farm, course retains relaxed atmosphere
By Charlie Howard
For the Camera
Link to Story: Here
If You Go
What: Haystack Mountain Golf Course 50th Anniversary Celebration
When: Saturday, July 2
Where: 5877 Niwot Road
Info: $5 rounds all day; live music from 1-7 p.m.; discounted food and drinks will be served from 1 to 6 p.m.
After five decades in business, Haystack Mountain Golf Course is still in the swing of things.
The Niwot course is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend. On Saturday, rounds will be $5 all day, with live music and food in the afternoon and evening.
The nine-hole course at 5877 Niwot Rd. had humble beginnings as a pig farm. The Ebel family bought the land in 1964 and converted the porcine plot to a golf course in 1966.
It has been owned and operated by the family ever since, staying true to those pastoral roots with a relaxed atmosphere that is attractive to casual golfers and beginners.
"We don't have a dress code at Haystack," said operations manager Mike Hammerstone. "You don't have to wear a collared shirt — there are guests who golf in their flip flops."
The course, which is tucked beneath Niwot's Haystack Mountain, has 2,153 yards of par three and par four holes. The course is a walking only: no electric carts allowed.
Kyle Snyder, chair of the Longmont Chamber of Commerce, said that courses like Haystack are rare gems in the golf world today.
"Nine-hole courses are never that intimidating and are great places to pick up the sport."
Fifty years is relatively young for a golf course in Colorado, said Larry Mills, golf operations manager for Longmont's golf course advisory board.
Boulder's Flatirons Golf Course, for example, has been around since 1938.
A fair amount of courses were built in the '90s, like Longmont's Ute Creek and Lafayette's Indian Peaks, coinciding with the housing boom.
Unlike these courses, surrounded by homes, Haystack Mountain is nestled into acres of farmland. Goats and chickens can be found strolling through the driving range, nd the clubhouse is an old farmhouse.
Ken Birgen, a beginner who takes lessons at Haystack Mountain, said that he appreciates the scenic, low-key feel of the place.
"Haystack is much different from other formal clubs that have course marshals telling you to hurry up your play."
Plus, he added, "there's not many golf courses where your shot lands by a old tractor."