THE MAN WITH THE PLANS HUNTSMAN SPRINGS ETERNAL TRAVEL: CHAMBERS BAY GOLF FITNESS, MOUNTAIN STYLE GREENSKEEPING IT REAL COURSE GUIDES TO JACKSON HOLE, TETON VALLEY ISSUE 9 / FREE / SUMMER 2016
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UNDER ALL IS THE LAND U
nder all is the land. So begins the preamble of the Realtor Code of Ethics, which guides me in my day job. The phrase also provides the unspoken beginning for the telling of golf stories, my avocation, and what has evolved to become the theme for the 2016 Jackson Hole Golfer. That is, the origin story. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, but it takes a golf course designer to route 18 holes worth of tee boxes, fairways and greens through a few hundred acres of former pasture, farmland or river bottom. This year’s Jackson Hole golf course guide starts with a nod to the steady stream of high-profile designers that made their mark on Northwest Wyoming, from Robert Trent Jones Jr. to Tom Fazio, with Arnold Palmer, Rees Jones and Tom Weiskopf in between. Our feature story goes further back in time in the history of a golf course to well before a designer first sits down at a drafting table. Mike Potter was the master planner behind Teton Pines and Teton Springs, which is akin to stretching the canvas on the frames of what would become classical works of art, but only if that were the part of the process that took the most patience, finesse and skill. Before there was Huntsman Springs, there was an overgrazed pasture on the outskirts of Driggs, Idaho without feature or form. Today, about a decade later, there lies the region’s most textured, visually complex and nationally acclaimed golf course. However, the development surrounding the fairy tale course is still writing its first chapters, delayed by a deep recession and constrained by the limits of a rural community still searching for its identity. In the season of golf darkness that is winter in Jackson
Hole, our intrepid golf travel writer seeks the light of an early spring road trip to more hospitable climes, this year taking us along to Chambers Bay, Oregon. Winter also is a great time to work on the strength and conditioning necessary to stay strong on the back nine come July. Fitness guru Alex Stevens and golf professional Greg Dennis discuss how to overcome your mountain athlete tendencies. Jackson Hole golf entrepreneur Mike Lynch’s story began as a caddy in Pennsylvania, but the plot did not thicken until the dawn of the Internet. Today, he operates a thriving online retail golf business in one of the least likely corners of the golf universe. Speaking of dawn, by that time your friendly local greenskeeper is already on their second cup of coffee as they lay the groundwork for a day of play well before the first foursome tees off. But in the end, tragically, as many great stories end, us mortal golfers are almost always left with unrealized goals and broken promises. Fortunately, there also can be humor in our shortcomings and the disappointments too common in a round of golf, and so with a smile we conclude this year’s Jackson Hole Golfer, as always. – Brian Siegfried, editor
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THE COURSE 3
UNDER ALL IS THE LAND
GOD’S COUNTRY, LEGENDARY ROUTING
By Brian Siegfried
World’s most prestigious golf course designers have worked the land in Jackson Hole. By Brian Siegfried
THE MAN WITH THE PLANS
TETON VALLEY GOLF WORKS
TEED UP FOR THE FUTURE
THE JOY OF GOLF
CHAMBERS BAY GETAWAY
AVOID ‘LOWER-CROSSED SYNDROME’
AND… IT’S IN THE HOLE!
A COURSE RUNS THROUGH IT
THE VIEW FROM 6 AM AND .1 INCHES
ANOTHER YEAR OF BROKEN GOLF PROMISES
Visionary developer was instrumental in shaping Teton Pines and Teton Springs golf communities. By Chris “Nezz” Pierce and Michael Potter
Quiet side of Tetons features several courses that cater more to blue collar clientele. By Michael May
Despite headwinds, Huntsman Springs is positioned to be Teton Valley’s premier golf community. Eventually. By Mark Wilcox
Winter road trip to site of 2015 U.S. Open. By Chris “Nezz” Pierce
How the “Tiger Effect” and mountain athlete bodies compromise your golf game. By Alex Stevens and Greg Dennis
Lynch launches thriving golf business in coldest corner of the country. By Mac Munro
Golf community real estate sales are among top contributors to strong Jackson Hole residential market. By Brian Siegfried
Neither frost nor rain nor large mammal keeps these guys from their appointed rounds. By Robert Garrett
By Drew Simmons Illustration by Nate Bennett
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MATT MELLOR PHOTOGRAPHY
ISSUE 9 | FREE | SUMMER 2016
Publisher John Saltas
Editor Brian Siegfried
Art Director Cait Lee
Advertising Sales Jen Tillotson, Caroline Zieleniewski
Copy Editor Teresa Griswold
Contributing Writers Greg Dennis Robert Garrett Michael May Mac Munro Chris “Nezz” Pierce
Michael Potter Brian Siegfried Drew Simmons Alex Stevens Mark Wilcox
Contributing Photographers Jeff Brines Kelsey Chapman Bonnie Etchemendy Robert Garrett Gary Hansen Dave Harris Tyler Horne
SHOOTING INSTRUCTION AND ENTERTAINMENT SHOOTING EXPERIENCES FOR THE NOVICE SHOOTER & EXPERIENCED MARKSMAN.
Families • Corporate Groups • Reunions • Youth
Latham Jenkins Chris Pierce Mike Potter Brian Siegfried Anna Sullivan Aly Ward Jeff Ward
Illustration Nate Bennett FIND US ON
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God’s country, World’s most prestigious golf course designers have worked the land in Jackson Hole. BY BRIAN SIEGFRIED
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om Fazio. T o m Weiskopf. Rees Jones and his brother Robert Trent Jones Jr. Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. Since the 1960s, when golf course developers in Jackson Hole wanted to make their mark on the land they called some of the world’s best and most prolific golf course designers in modern history. Among them they boast more than 500 course designs in nearly every corner of the world, but few match the scenery and playability of their Western Wyoming efforts.
Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis
The first golf course out of the ground in Jackson Hole was Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis. Originally designed by Bob Baldock, who was commissioned by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort founder Paul McCollister, and opened to the public in 1967, this 18-hole course may be one of the most scenic in the world. Located near Jackson Hole Airport about five miles north of Jackson, the course is smack dab in the middle of Jackson’s Hole with panoramic mountain views in all directions. To the west and north, golf shots soar against the towering Teton Range. To the east, Sleeping Indian keeps solemn watch over the course.
In 1973, McCollister hired Robert Trent Jones, Jr., son of renowned designer Robert Trent Jones, to redesign the course for new owners Grand Teton Lodge Company. The improved layout stood the test of time until 2006, when Trent Jones Jr. was once again hired to update the course as part of a $15 million investment by new owners Vail Corporation. Golf & Tennis is a par 72 that measures 7,325 yards from the back tees and 5,325 yards from the forward tees. The topography is mostly flat with extensive sand bunkering and water features on 10 holes. The course is distinguished by its panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Recent improvements include a stateof-the-art irrigation system, 20 new tee boxes that added more than 500 yards to the course, new practice facility and a fresh fleet of Club Cars. Signature holes include the 610-yard, par-5 eighth on the front nine, and the picturesque par-3 16th on the back nine. Golf & Tennis is a semi-private course with member tee times until 10 a.m. and public access after that. Discounted rounds are available to county residents who purchase multi-round packages.
Teton Pines Resort & Country Club
Arnold Palmer is one the 20th century’s best-known golfers, compiling 62 PGA Tour wins. Less well known is his prolific golf course design career with co-designer Ed Seay, with more than 200 golf courses around the world to their credit, including Teton Pines Resort and Country Club. Teton Pines opened in 1987 to national acclaim, earning recognition as Golf Digest’s third best new resort course in the country. The development also drew
many of the valley’s more affluent members that eventually formed an ownership group with more than 30 members that still endures to this day. Today, Teton Pines is the valley’s go-to course for Rocky Mountain PGA events and local golf tournaments including two pro-ams, spring’s Icebreaker event and the season-ending King of the Hole. Teton Pines is an 18-hole course that measures 7,402 yards from the back tees, and 5,932 yards from the forward tees. The mostly flat course includes water hazards on nearly every hole, extensive mounding in the rough and undulating greens. Palmer returned in 2008 to oversee a redesign of the course. The focus was on improving the sand traps and creating additional landscaping, including extensive wildflower areas, beyond the playable areas of the golf course. Teton Pines also is semi-private, holding tee times for members until noon. Discounted rounds are available to county residents who purchase multi-round packages.
3 Creek Ranch
Like all of the courses described in this guide, the land that is now the 710acre 3 Creek Ranch has a colorful history many times longer than the existence of today’s amenities. Once home to hay fields, a Federal Fish Hatchery, cow-calf operations, a Civilian Conservation Corps camp and several homesteads, the land was sold in 2002 and is now home to the valley’s largest golf and fishing communities. Play began in 2005. 3 Creek Ranch is distinguished by a sprawling layout that traverses varied 7 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
topography from wetlands to river bottom to former hay fields to rolling buttes. Some holes weave among the 136 home sites like a traditional residential course, others stand alone, offering a sense of isolation and oneness with the land. Rees Jones, also the son of famed designer Robert Trent Jones, said his philosophy was to not force the golf course onto the land, and this is best represented by the extensive preservation and/or reintroduction of native grasses beyond the mowed areas. Memorable holes include the lengthy par-4 fifth hole, situated at the western edge of the property. The hole is rated the hardest on the course, but the challenge is focusing on golf instead of the wetlands to the east, mature cottonwoods to the north and the river bottom to the west that often includes a herd of elk. On the back nine, holes 16 and 17 are at the highest point on the course and offer breathtaking views of the Tetons and Snake River plain while the holes trace the contours of the rolling buttes that mark the property’s south end. 3 Creek Ranch is private, member-owned club with tee times reserved exclusively for members and their guests.
The land beneath Shooting Star’s 18-hole, Tom Fazio-designed course, which opened for play in July 2009, remains in the same family that homesteaded the land in the 1930s. For the Resors, Shooting Star represents both the cutting edge in modern resort amenities and a deep respect for the history and culture of Jackson Hole. Almost as soon as the first rounds were completed the accolades began rolling in. Third best residential course, said GolfWeek. Forbes Magazine named it one of the 12 best private golf communities. Most importantly, it was the consensus valley’s best course according to Jackson Hole golfers. Shooting Star is a core course, with virtually no real estate or other development adjacent to the holes. Enhancing this sense of separation is the remarkably intricate and subtle berming of an essentially flat piece of ground. By using the latest design and construction technology, millions of cubic yards of soil were redistributed to create a corridor for each hole that makes invisible the adjacent holes and nearly any sign of civilization, including the cart paths. Shooting Star measures 7,550 yards from the tips and 5,033 from the forward tees. Multiple tee options create as many as six different courses to choose 8 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
from. Memorable holes include the par-3 second on the front nine and the par-4 12th on the back nine, each distinguished by significant elevation changes and dramatic views of the Grand Teton and Sleeping Indian, respectively. Shooting Star is a private course with tee times reserved almost exclusively for members, their guests and prospective members. However, Shooting Star offers public play on Tuesday afternoons to residents of Teton County, Wyoming.
Snake River Sporting Club
The most distinctive golf course layout in Jackson Hole is Snake River Sporting Club, designed by Tom Weiskopf. The course begins by cutting through dense woods and descending mountainous foothills. Soon, the holes traverse the sandy soils of the Snake River floodplain before finding the open ranchlands. This is a golfer’s golf course, with very few of the nods to seniors and high-handicappers found on most modern courses. Dense grasses lurk just beyond the mowed areas, most par 3s are guarded by significant carries and the tight layout demands precise iron play and reservation from the tee. The course measures 7,533 yards from the tips and 5,319 from the forward tees. Memorable holes abound as this course covers terrain rarely reserved for golf, but the tricky second hole on the front nine, a short 322-yard par-4 that temps golfers to drive the green but doles out severe penalties for errant shots stands out. On the back nine, the par-3 15th offers the best look at the Snake River while demanding a strong, accurate iron shot into the prevailing wind. Snake River Sporting Club is a private course with tee times reserved for members and their guests only. However, compared to 3 Creek Ranch and Shooting Star memberships are significantly more affordable, and the development offers numerous additional amenities not found elsewhere including equestrian, fishing, rafting, hiking, archery, skating and more. JHG Brian Siegfried has worked at or for each of Jackson Hole’s five golf courses at some point in the last 25 years and wouldn’t be surprised if he continues to do so for another 25.
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TETON PINES COUNTRY CLUB & RESORT
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Located at the base of the Tetons in Jackson Hole, WY and perfectly situated between the town of Jackson and Teton Village, this stunning par 72 golf course was designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. Stretching 7,412 yards from the tips and with five sets of tee boxes, golfers of all abilities will enjoy each of the 18 holes surrounded by majestic mountains, breathtaking scenery, and abundant wildlife. Teton Pines Country Club and Resort also features an exquisitely remodeled Clubhouse & restaurant with excellent dining, lively member events, and exceptional service. Indoor and outdoor tennis, fly fishing, a swimming pool, and magnificent cross country skiing make Teton Pines a destination for all seasons.
SPECTACULAR MOUNTAIN GOLF • YEAR ROUND TENNIS • MEMBERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE EXCEPTIONAL DINING • BEAUTIFUL WEDDINGS & EVENTS 307-733-1005 | WWW.TETONPINES.COM
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THE MAN WITH THE PLANS
Visionary developer was instrumental in shaping Teton Pines and Teton Springs golf communities. BY CHRIS “NEZZ” PIERCE AND MICHAEL POTTER
or an area of the country best known for its forests, mountains, abundant wildlife and some of the coldest temperatures in the Lower 48, Jackson Hole and Teton Valley also boast a dense collection of quality golf courses. As golfers, our appreciation of a golf course rarely goes beyond the next tee box, green or scenic horizon. This can certainly be forgiven as the game must be played in the moment and the raw beauty of the surroundings in this mountainous high desert are more than enough to occupy the mind. Pulling back, however, if one looks very closely and talks to the right people, it becomes possible to see the land as it once was before the first shovel was turned. Less than 50 years ago every single course on both sides of the Teton Range was still ranchland or pasture or sagebrush plain. Somehow, well before the first golfer took the first swing from the first tee, the seed was planted for each of these future planned residential developments encompassing hundreds of acres. In the case of Teton Pines, located just south of Teton Village in Wyoming and developed in the 1980s, and Teton Springs, the Victor, Idaho, golf community developed in the early 2000s, Mike Potter was the lead planner that helped unite the diverse and extensive collections of dreamers and believers that came together to complete these projects. What follows are recollections from Mike that identify many of the landowners, financial experts, designers and key players that turned fields into fairways at two of the area’s finest and best known golf courses.
East Coast success
Following graduation from Syracuse University with two degrees – one in fine arts and one in landscape ar-
chitecture – Mike broke free from his East Coast roots to begin his professional career in the beauty and grandeur of Montana in 1970 with Wirth and Associates, an interdisciplinary planning and design firm with offices in Maryland and Billings, MT. Wirth specialized in parks and recreation planning and design, private sector project master planning and related environmental analyses and regulatory permitting and included planners, architects, landscape architects and natural resource specialists. Though based in Montana, Mike commuted often to the East Coast to work on projects such as Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and Amelia Island, Florida. As a young design professional, Mike worked alongside very distinguished and accomplished planners and architects of all types on award-winning recreational communities. This involvement gave him insights and direct experience with the rapidly growing resort community and recreational community leaders of the time, such as Charles Fraser of the Sea Pines Plantation Company, Ian McHarg, renowned environmental planner and landscape architect, and Peter Dye, a highly innovative golf course architect. As his career progressed into the early 1980s, Mike was involved in numerous land-use planning and design consultations, including Big Sky, Montana, Asir National Park in Saudi Arabia, and an update of the master plan for Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club, which brought him to the area. Researching and monitoring planning, design and demographic trends became an obsession for the selfdescribed “research junkie.” This included dragging the family along to the latest golf and tennis projects in Colorado, Arizona and California.
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Arnold Palmer stands among three of the main developers of Teton Pines - Tom Clinton, Art Brown and Mike Potter - and their wives.
Teton Pines’ early days
The master planning and feasibility study for Teton Pines began in 1981 and gained project approval from Teton County, Wyoming, in 1984. At that time the economy of the Intermountain West and the economy of Wyoming was recessionary, but the project had local and regional banking support and inched forward. The Teton Pines general partnership brought Mike on board as a vice president and partner in 1985 to aid with the detailed design efforts and construction coordination for the project. Mike was responsible for the overall master planning, road and residential lot configurations, coordination of the infrastructure development, comprehensive landscape plans, signage and lighting programs, and coordination with the golf course and other amenity contractors. The original partnership group and founding members of Teton Pines included Arthur Brown, who had developed The Aspens/Racquet Club, Thomas Clinton, CPA, David Spackman, marketing, and Michael Potter, land use planner and landscape architect. During Mike’s initial contact with Art Brown, Art expressed interest in expanding his Aspens/Racquet Club Condominium project. Within minutes of initially meeting at his office adjacent to Stiegler’s Restaurant they were headed south on Moose-Wilson Road to meet a landowner who Art thought might be interested in selling some of his land for condominium expansion. 14 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
They caught up with Skip Wright Clark, who was haying at the time with a parade of interconnected equipment that would circumvent the hayfield every 15 minutes. They jumped the fence and positioned themselves to intercept Skip on his next rotation by. Mike recalls Art saying “this should be easy,” but Skip did not stop on his first rotation though he acknowledged them with a brief glance and wave. “This may not be so easy,” Mike recalls saying to Art after Skip came by a third time without stopping. Skip’s ranch lands to the west of the Snake River were a mosaic of aspen groves, hayfields, pastures, natural streams, and irrigation canals stretching from the Moose-Wilson Road to Fish Creek Road and the base of the Teton Range. One immediate challenge, however, was that Skip’s property was not contiguous to the existing Aspens/Racquet Club, which was about a half mile to the north with land owned by Lee and Blake Vandewater in between. Eventually the pair met with the Vandewaters to discuss Art’s expansion ideas and ultimately after 18 months of negotiations they acquired a total of 360 acres of property from both key landowners. Eventually the master plan for Teton Pines emerged that you see today, which includes approximately 300 residential properties. However, while the Aspens/Racquet Club adjoins Teton Pines and provides excellent support facilities, Teton Pines emerged as an independent planned recreational community with its own image and identity.
Eric Hastings, Steve Jones, Byron Nelson, Gary Stephenson and Mike Etchemendy gather during construction of Teton Springs. Acquiring the land turned out to be one of the easier challenges that lay before the developers. At the time Mike and his team were continually asked two questions: Who is going to buy those “pricey” residential properties and how are you ever going to get this project approved by Teton County? The county commissioners approved the project in the summer of 1984 following a tumultuous public review process that lasted for 18 months. Tilting the vote in Teton Pines’ favor were multiple elements that not only met local zoning and subdivision requirements but in many ways exceeded them, including: more than 50 percent of the recreational community retained as open space; a transfer of development rights from the adjacent ranch lands; public access to the club and recreational amenities were made available to the entire community of Jackson Hole to mitigate concerns of exclusivity. By the late 1980s, as construction of infrastructure and amenities progressed, Teton Pines gained stature and national recognition. Vacant land and residential property sales flourished. The project survived the turbulent national banking crises during this period with the support of local banks and very determined equity investors. Eventually, many opponents of the project became members of Teton Pines Country Club once the project was completed, operational, and accepted as a positive contribution to the larger Jackson Hole community.
Signing Arnold Palmer
The world’s top golf course designers were interviewed for the Teton Pines Golf Course, and Arnold Palmer’s design and construction team was selected. Working with Ed Seay, Palmer’s group would eventually design more than 300 courses and were very experienced with land-tight resort courses. So they were somewhat surprised that Mike’s team had allocated a substantial percentage of the development’s acreage for the course (190 acres) in their project master plan. Arnold was elated and able to design and create a spacious and flowing 7,400-yard course that was comfortably buffered from housing areas and had excellent separation between fairways. Nearly 50 acres of lakes and waterways were woven into the course, which was fed by water diverted from the Snake River, and more than a million cubic yards of dirt was moved. The Teton Pines Golf Course opened for operation in the Summer of 1987 to rave reviews and numerous national accolades. Arnold Palmer purchased property at Teton Pines and was simply enamored with Jackson Hole. He and his team made numerous trips above and beyond its contract requirement in support of the Teton Pines project. On the morning of the course’s grand opening Arnold wanted to go fly-fishing, and did so at 5 am. Local fly-fishing legend Jack Dennis joined him, resulting in the classic photos you see. Arnold was an amazing fly fisherman and caught more native trout than anyone. With little regard for time, they were all just a bit late for the grand opening breakfast. The iconic “park architecture” wooden arch bridges throughout the course and club area were conceived on the back of a napkin during a breakfast meeting at Nora’s Fish Creek Inn. Mike sketched out the plan with John Curtis, a local contractor and craftsman, and they knew they had a hit, with Curtis and his crew eventually handcrafting the bridges.
Jackson Hole fly-fishing legend Jack Dennis meets golf legend Arnold Palmer in 1987.
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Jeff Potter, son of Mike Potter and now mayor of Victor, Idaho, takes one of the first swings in the field that would become part of Teton Springs.
In 1989, Mike Potter and Tom Clinton formed Potter Clinton Development, Inc, in Jackson Hole. The blend of Mike’s planning expertise and Tom’s financial expertise led to the development of the Willowbrook and Tucker Ranch projects, two high-end residential neighborhoods adjacent to Teton Pines. In 1995, Bill Ward, one of the early home purchasers at Teton Pines, called Mike and suggested they meet with Bill Hastings and his son Eric Hastings, who was an assistant golf professional at Teton Pines at the time. Both were interested in creating a golf course on their farm property located south of Victor, Idaho, on the west side of the Tetons. The Hastings’ property was only 20 miles from Jackson Hole, but Bill’s old Ford Taurus could barely make it over Teton Pass. The two met with Bill and Cheryl Hastings and toured their farm, which was 160 acres of rolling pastoral cropland with the Teton Range and Taylor Mountain to the east and the Snake River Range to the south. The Big Hole Mountain Range lay to the west. The Hastings property was not big enough to accommodate a golf course and associated housing and support functions, so Mike suggested to Bill Hastings that some of the adjoining neighbors’ properties would also be needed to create adequate acreage. “Oh yes, that would be easy,” responded Bill Hastings, and so began the first of many meetings with adjoining neighbors. Five years later, 16 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
the “easy” land acquisition from the five landowner families, all of whom were large family groups, several generations deep, and all with individual legal and accounting representation, was complete. The landowner group, including the Hastings family, Rammel family, 90 year-old Lorin Kearsly and the Winger family, all with pioneering roots to their properties, were actively involved in the vision of and planning for Teton Springs. The five properties assembled totaled 780 acres and created the self protected enclave configuration needed for a viable project. But would this isolated pastoral farmland location prove a viable resort community? In the late 1990s real estate values in Jackson Hole were very strong and some “spill over” second home purchases were occurring in Teton Valley, Idaho. The Teton Springs project was conceptualized as a self-contained, second-home resort enclave with golf and fly casting as the primary amenities, and with swim center/spa fitness, cross-country skiing, and tennis as secondary amenities – perfect for the Jackson Hole buyer, it was believed. Conservation and open space areas were created to protect three natural springs and small creeks emerging from the steep rock outcrops in the southern portion of the project. Likewise, Warm Creek, which flowed through the southwest portion of the project, was protected with a conservation/open space corridor, all of which protected these headwaters of the Teton River. More than 50 percent of the Teton Springs master plan included open
space to protect natural features, provide for trail corridors, and to accomplish the golf course. Teton Springs was the first ma jor planned unit development to be reviewed by Teton County, Idaho, and was approved in June 2000. This review and approval process took nearly two years, multiple public hearings and included diverse insights as the local community dealt with the prospect of its first ma jor second-home resort community. The approved project included the golf course, club amenities, support facilities and a diversity of 700 residential units and overnight accommodations. The 780-acre land acquisition closed in the fall of 2000 and the land transferred to Teton Springs, LLC group. The initial founding members of Teton Springs at that time included Bill Ward, owner of Soft Spikes, a highly successful golf footwear company, Jim Eden, a successful business executive and resident of Teton Pines who arranged for the land acquisition financing for Teton Springs, and Mike Potter, responsible for the land assembly, purchase options, project master planning, plan applications and governmental approvals for the project. “In looking back on the early history of Teton Springs, it is interesting how involved and complex the land acquisition process was and yet how that process bonded our development group very strongly with the Hastings family and their neighbors,” Potter recalled. They interviewed various national golf course design firms but ultimately stayed
close to home with their choice, choosing Steve Jones, winner of the 1996 U.S. Open Championship who resided in Bozeman, Montana. Steve teamed with accomplished golf course architect Gary Stephenson, and the legendary Byron Nelson. Teton Springs would include a 7,500 yard golf course, nine-hole par 3 course, and a full practice range. Over 40 acres of lakes and waterways enhanced the course and residential areas. The lakes and waterways are fed by irrigation water from mountain stream sources and were carefully configured as native cutthroat trout fisheries habitat. Groundbreaking occurred in mid-summer 2001. At the time, real estate sales were strong but came to a screaming halt after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Under the savvy and responsive leadership of Tony Vest, managing member for the Teton Springs Golf and Casting Club, LLC, actions were taken immediately to protect the fledgling project during this time of market turmoil and to structure financially for the longer term. This strategy kept the project moving forward as planned, and the golf course was completed on time and became operational in the summer of 2004. By that time the economy had recovered and pent-up demand allowed property sales to move full speed ahead with a near sellout of residential lots occurring prior to the Great Recession. It was the common vision and determination of this pioneering group that enabled the project to take form and proceed forward. Ultimately, the entire seven-year master plan for Teton Springs came to fruition, resulting in the first golf-focused resort in Teton Valley and the vibrant, complete neighborhood it is today. JHG
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TETON VALLEY GOLF WORKS Quiet side of Tetons features several courses that cater more to blue collar clientele. BY MICHAEL MAY
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he approximately 20 miles of highway between Teton County, Idaho, and Teton County, Wyoming, is well traveled by the working class that serves Jackson Hole. The significantly lower cost and greater availability of housing in Idaho, combined with a proliferation of jobs in Wyoming, is the main reason for that. Another reason for at least a few of those excursions is a similar dynamic when it comes to accessible and affordable golf courses. While Jackson Hole has just two semi-private golf courses open to the public, and both at premium rates during the heat of the summer, Teton Valley has three very affordable public courses and a fourth, Teton Springs, which offers limited but attainable public access. Only Huntsman Springs in Driggs is completely private. Here is a quick look at golfing options in Teton Valley.
Nestled at the southern end of Teton Valley and as close to Teton Pass as any course in Idaho, golfers enjoy one of the top golf communities in the region on either side of the Teton Range. The mostly private golf course was designed by a trio including master architect Gary Stephenson, U.S. Open champion Steve Jones and the legendary Byron Nelson. The collaboration of these great minds has created a fair but demanding 18 holes of golf as well as a nine-hole par 3 course great for families or a pre-round warm-up. Completed in 2004, the golf course is primarily known for pristine and lightning fast greens that present a challenge for top players. Since then Teton Springs has been host to many prestigious tournaments including the Idaho Open and Battle in the Tetons. As a member and frequent player of Teton Springs, I believe there are many beautiful and challenging shots at Teton Springs. The one that I always anticipate, and remember when the round is done, is the par-three seventh. I’ve hit anywhere from 8-iron to 3-wood on this challenging, 230-yard hole. Playing from the back tees with a back hole location the hole can play as long as 270 yards.
Huntsman Springs, located at the northern end of Teton Valley in Driggs, is a true fly-in/fly-out golf community. Located across the street from the Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport, members can be to the first tee just minutes after touching down. Huntsman Springs is a private golf community designed by David McLay Kidd, who was named “Architect of the Year” in GOLF Magazine’s 2008 rankings, the year the course opened. The course, though cut through a relatively flat former cow pasture, presents rolling hills, elevation changes, large undulating greens, native grasses and marshy wetlands. I’ve also enjoyed many rounds at this course, which is defined in large part by four distinctive par 3s. In particular, the 17th hole at Huntsman Springs almost always plays a significant part in the overall round. It’s short, but intimidating with a narrow waist and severe undulations that can be either friend or foe. I’ve seen players nearly make a hole-in-one due to the funneled collection areas but I’ve also seen players need four putts to find the hole.
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TETON RESERVE Teton Reserve Golf Course in Victor, Idaho, is the consensus top public golf course in the area. The combination of affordable greens fees, strong layout with great greens and central location near the highway are unrivaled this close to Jackson Hole. The course is perched at the subtle high point between Driggs and Victor, providing panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Once upon a time the course was designed by Hale Irwin to provide a high-end, private course but changing economics delivered a moderately maintained public course with wide fairways but well-protected and tricky greens. For me, one of the most exciting shots a golf course can offer is the short par 4 that can be reached by driver. The 250-yard 12th hole at Teton Reserve is one of these holes with a diagonal creek bed that’s also in play if you choose to lay up. Regardless of your decision, this hole is a visual nightmare for the player – but can be very rewarding if you’re willing to go for it.
THE LINKS AT TETON PEAKS The brainchild of landowner Bill Wilson, The Links at Teton Peaks
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was originally designed as a nine-hole course he could enjoy with neighbors. With a nod to the courses of Scotland and Europe, which often are distinguished by thick grass and tight fairways, the layout sprung from the well-irrigated, wind-swept farmland west of Driggs in 1999. Over the years the layout grew to include a second nine and a devoted group of dedicated players who appreciated the club’s laidback atmosphere (they allow you to bring your well-behaved dog, for example), very reasonable greens fees and challenging layout.
TARGHEE VILLAGE Teton Valley’s first golf course, Targhee Village, serving the quiet side of the Tetons since 1986, offers just 11 holes (two practice holes) and a modest driving range on 90 acres. However, while it has been surpassed by newer, longer courses with more modern designs, Targhee Village has matured and been redesigned in recent years and still offers an enjoyable, quality, family-friendly golf experience at some of the most affordable greens fees anywhere. JHG Michael May is a former professional golfer now working in real estate with Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty.
SWING ON BY THE HOUSE Teton Valley’s three planned golf residential communities – Teton Springs, Huntsman Springs and Teton Reserve – all offer homes just beyond the edges of the fairways and greens. Here is a quick look at notable properties that offer a glimpse into values and options, with three sold properties and three active listings as of the last week of April.*
SOLD GOLF PROPERTIES In Teton Springs, a 5-bedroom, 7-bath, 6,363-square-foot home on three-quarters of an acre, listed for $1.45 million, sold for the highest purchase price in this subdivision in 2015. In Huntsman Springs, a newly constructed 5-bedroom, 4-bath, 2,932-square-foot home that was listed at $1.2 mil-
lion at time of closing. In Teton Reserve, a townhouse with 3 bedrooms, 4 baths and nearly 3,000 square feet that was listed at $495,000.
*GOLF HOMES ON THE MARKET In Huntsman Springs, a high-quality home with 4 bedrooms, 5 baths, and 3,689 square feet on more than half an acre is listed for $1.25 million. In Teton Springs, a 5-bedroom, 7-bath, 4,229-square-foot home is on just .06 acres, but performs well as a short-term rental property. Listed for $1 million. In Teton Reserve, live large in this 5-bed, 6-bath, 6,757-square-foot home on nearly half an acre that is listed for $1.325 million. 21 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
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TEED UP FOR THE FUTURE
Despite headwinds, Huntsman Springs is positioned to be Teton Valleyâ€™s premier golf community. Eventually. BY MARK WILCOX
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ew would argue that the highly acclaimed golf course at Huntsman Springs in Driggs, Idaho, is among the finest in the region with a design straight out of Scotland and a layout as challenging as any in the Jackson Hole region. As a real estate development, however, it has fallen short of the lofty prerecession expectations of the Huntsman family. The course, designed by David McLay Kidd, was completed in 2007, and the plan was to follow close behind with a clubhouse and all the amenities of a top resort community. However, Teton Valley was hit especially hard by the recession and the project, like the rest of the community and dozens of similar endeavors nationwide, slowed to a crawl. Thanks to some creativity from the owner group and some agile pivots, the development has been building momentum in recent years and the future is bright.
REAL ESTATE GETS REAL
Like many golf communities, the viability of Huntsman Springs is tied to its ability to sell real estate. In an effort to supercharge this side of the project, the Huntsman family bought Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty in 2010 with a plan to leverage the brokerage’s nearly 100 agents on both sides of the Tetons. However, the relationship didn’t work out as intended, explained Dale Prows, CEO and general manager of Huntsman Springs, so the Huntsman family sold Sotheby’s on the last day of 2015, allowing it to focus all its energy on the in-house brokerage if formed in 2013. “When a buyer comes in, agents aren’t distracted with other listings outside of Huntsman Springs,” Prows said. “I think there was a concern that there was not as much focus on selling real estate at Huntsman Springs as the Huntsmans wanted.” The changes are beginning to pay off, and Prows said real estate sales were up 160 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, though admittedly 2014 was a weak year for sales. “The market is still fairly anemic when it comes to second- and thirdhome sales in Teton Valley – people got burned pretty badly [in the recession],” he said. “We’re probably one of the last to recover from the downturn in the economy.” Ironically, it has indeed been the extremely high quality of the product at Huntsman Springs in a region that has yet to fulfill its anticipated destiny as a recreational resort similar to Jackson Hole. For now, Teton Valley retains a rural, agrarian, slower-paced lifestyle that still serves as more of a bedroom community to Jackson Hole than its rival. “Huntsman Springs’ quality standards will rival any luxury subdivision in Teton Valley or Jackson Hole,” said Michael May, a realtor with Jackson Hole Sotheby’s and a former professional golfer. “There is a special feeling of wonderment while previewing these properties because no detail has gone overlooked. What’s also amazing about these properties is the consistent appeal each home has with the proper balance of maintaining a Western theme with a modern twist.”
COURSE WILL STAND TEST OF TIME
Complementing the top quality of the homes at Huntsman Springs is the golf course they surround and overlook. Golf Week recently rated Huntsman Springs as the third-best residential course in the United States, one spot ahead of the widely acclaimed Shooting Star in Teton Village. This year, only Wade Hampton Club in North Carolina and Rock Creek Cattle Co. in Montana outranked it. Paul-David Milton, Huntsman Springs director of golf, said there’s a reason for that. “It’s not like any other golf course,” he said, adding that even designs by the same designer feel completely different. “We pride ourselves on not having a signature hole. We have 18 signature holes.” May agrees. “Huntsman Springs is vastly different than any course in the region,” May said. “The combination of rolling hills, firm surfaces, large greens, and wispy grasses lining the rough and bunkers makes Huntsman Springs a challenge to any golfer. These elements also add to the beautiful scenery. Just remember to bring enough golf balls to get you through the whole round.”
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CLUBHOUSE AND FAMILY FUTURE “Everything the Huntsmans do is very HOTEL COMING SOON family oriented,” Milton said.
COURTESY OF HUNTSMAN SPRINGS
Nearly a decade after the golf course’s first tee times, a proper clubhouse is finally on the horizon and is the next ma jor infrastructure project for Huntsman Springs. “It’s our No. 1 priority to get a clubhouse built,” Prows said. “The clubhouse is a bit of a marker for people to use in terms of whether or not the project is finished.” The second-biggest project on the horizon for Huntsman development is to add a five-star luxury resort hotel on 138 acres of land that would be annexed into the city of Driggs, Idaho, which would allow it to mesh with existing regulations. The hotel gained approval in September 2014 after a heated debate in the community. Concessions included dropping the maximum height by 14 feet to 52 feet and accepting other stipulations before the hotel could be built. Hotel planners said the resort would spur economic activity while detractors felt it may hurt the local economy as the resort’s 186 estimated new employees scrambled to find housing. Some said the new shops and retail presence at the resort could also hurt other businesses in the small town. The hotel is still on the table a year and a half later, but those at Huntsman believe it is more a matter of timing than anything else. Prows said the initial developer fell through on an inability to finance the project, and they’re looking for a new development partner. It is hoped the luxury hotel will serve as a way for people to get a taste of Huntsman Springs that will ultimately persuade them to purchase a property or membership. In the meantime, the developers are selling stays in an unsold five-bed, five-bath home coupled with fly-fishing lessons, a daily round of golf and access to the wellness center and spa for $449 per night. The packages, Prows said, have been very popular.
Considering the development is the pet project of Jon Huntsman Sr. himself, who grew up not far away in Blackfoot, Idaho, this should not come as any surprise. The 78-year-old billionaire and his wife Karen have nine children and 56 grandchildren. One of the developer’s latest marketing tactics are membership options that become more attractive the larger the potential member’s family is. For an initiation fee of $50,000 and annual dues of $6,000, all immediate family members including children and their spouses have full membership privileges. Beyond that, extended family including parents, grandparents, grandchildren and great grandchildren can also access the course and its amenities – with no age limits or guest fees. The full generational privileges are guaranteed through Dec. 31, 2025. For a much less hefty $8,000 initiation fee and the same $6,000 dues, a singlegeneration membership is also available that applies only to immediate family – defined as member, spouse and children and their spouses under age 25. With those kinds of memberships in place, it’s easy to see how Huntsman Springs could become a private family Mecca even as other courses vie for stricter member exclusivity. “If it goes well we would like to see this place carry that legacy component for 30 years,” Milton said. “Once we embraced who we are, we came up with this membership that is really driven to accomplish what we want. It’s different than what a lot of clubs do.” Milton said the course’s memberships are a few years out from reaching their target load, but the new memberships could accelerate it quite a bit. “We could see some substantial growth in the next few years,” Milton said. JHG
Mark Wilcox is a Jackson Hole native who rarely finishes a game of golf with better than a bogey. He is the chief executive content ninja for Rusty Lion Academy, a business and life coaching firm with worldwide clientele. 26 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
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T H E J OY. . . 36 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
. . .O F G O L F 37 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
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Most things are better with partners. Even joint replacement. Success requires a team of doctors, nurses, and other professionals working jointly with patients and families. At St. Johnâ€™s Peak Joint Replacement, we pride ourselves on our patient education program and personalized care. The results? Our patients have earlier mobility and leave the hospital sooner, so they can get back to doing the things they love. www.tetonhospital.org/joints / 307. 739. 6199
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Avoid ‘Lower-Crossed Syndrome’ How the “Tiger Effect” and mountain athlete bodies compromise your golf game. BY ALEX STEVENS AND GREG DENNIS
ince the turn of the century, the sport of professional golf has seen a revolution in the way golfers treat their bodies. The stereotypical pot-bellied, cigar-smoking, athletically challenged golfer has been transitioning into more of the body type that we are more accustomed to watching run around a football or soccer field. Some have called it the “Tiger Effect,” so named for Tiger Woods, who, in my opinion, was the first pro golfer that could have been a pro athlete in a number of sports from football to hockey or anything in between. I find it ironic that the same person who brought the concept of golf fitness to the masses also managed to completely ruin his game by taking his fitness level to a point that was counter-productive to success in golf. Let me explain. According to MuscleImbalanceSyndromes.com, LowerCrossed Syndrome also is referred to as distal- or pelvic-crossed syndrome. In LCS, tightness of the thoracolumbar extensors on the dorsal side crosses with tightness of the iliopsoas and rectus femoris. Weakness of the deep abdominal muscles ventrally crosses with weakness of the gluteus maximus and medius. My goal as a golf fitness instructor is to try and simplify things, the same way your swing instructor would love for you to simplify your golf swing. The quickest way to start this conversation is by starting with the hips. Or more specifically the angle at which your pelvis is aligned in day-to-day life as well as golf posture. The hips are ball-and-socket joints, with the other ball-andsocket joint in our body the shoulder. The hips are less mobile than the shoulders due to muscle mass, center of gravity and generally well-engineered anatomy. As a result the hips are stronger and a better starting spot for the development of power and stability for the sake of a functional golf swing, thus, more important to get “right” first. In order to get the hips right let’s first look at what makes us wrong. The typical posture of an active body in this community is that of an “S” posture. This body type is very common; it looks very strong and the 43 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
stance looks athletic and stable. The problem with these bodies, as it applies to golf, are that they are really good at moving in a forward direction. Where these bodies are not as good is when it comes time to rotate. So now we have an active and generally athletic person who is compromised in their rotation due to other activities. What about the other population that doesn’t play as much as others, the desk jockey? What sort of posture do they bring to the golf game? Above is a seated and standing visual example of what an anteriorly tilted pelvis looks like and how the surrounding musculature is affected. As you can see, weakness and tightness dominate the surrounding muscle groups. This problem is not particularly unique as most body types, and most physical activities, promote this anterior tilt. For those of us living in mountain communities, think of your go-to activities: in winter it’s downhill skiing, uphill skinning and hiking and skate skiing; in summer it’s biking, hiking and running up and down hills. All of the activities listed promote poor pelvic posture due to body positioning during activity. And to make it worse for all populations, the results of little or no activity or sitting at a desk creates the same compromised golf posture. When you stand and address posture, what angle does your pelvis take? When starting to grasp the concept of golf fitness there needs to be a few physiological and anatomical facts that have to be understood and honored. First, the hand bone is connected to the foot bone. I know, there is more than one bone in the foot and hand and this sounds like a nursery rhyme, but for the sake of elementary understanding let me continue connecting dots using the joints in the body instead of bones. Every joint in the body, from hand to foot, has an alternate function of stability verses mobility. So here we go: off the hand we have the wrist (mobile), then the elbow (stable), shoulder (mobile), scapula (stable), thoracic vertebrae (mobile), lumbar vertebrae (stable), hips (mobile), knee (stable), ankle (mobile) now we’ve made it to the foot. If you have yet to notice a trend as to what makes a mobile joint verses a stable joint let me simplify. All of the stable joints listed above were made to flex and extend in one plane, where as all of the mobile joints were made to move in multiple planes. None other than the golf fitness godfather himself, Tiger Woods, is currently a perfect example of what happens when joints are asked to do what they were not meant to do. When a golfer asks a stable joint to be mobile it will quickly break down, i.e. Tiger’s knee and lower back. Seems simple right? Based on the fact that the greatest golfer of our generation has ruined his body before the age of 40, maybe it’s not that simple. So this brings us to the stable-mobile discussion: if you can’t move the mobile joints, you will move 44 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
the stable joints, and the golf swing loses power, accuracy and consistency. To make matters worse, if you lack stability, too much movement reduces your consistency and efficiency. As you can now realize, the core of our body has a huge effect upon what seems to be an arm-swinging sport. Without the ability to maintain a proper neutral pelvic position from address into the backswing and through impact, the golfer is forced to make compensatory movements that adversely affect optimal contact with the golf ball. Many different swing faults can come into play when the core doesn’t move properly. First is loss of posture. The entire torso and pelvis is lifted up and away from the ball, causing “thin” and “fat” shots. Secondly, an “over the top” swing plane which, because of a lack of proper hip rotation, forces the torso to fire early. The club then approaches the ball from the outside and too steeply. This causes off-line shots, slices and loss of distance. A third swing fault is early extension. Improper muscular imbalances can force the pelvis toward the golf ball during the swing, moving the body into the space where the arms should be freely swinging. The player will feel “stuck” with their arms, and be unable to fully release the club through impact. Fortunately, with an understanding of what leads to these fundamental swing faults golfers can work with their fitness experts to develop a training program that will help them produce a swing built to take advantage of the body’s natural strengths and avoid the “Tiger Effect.” JHG Alex Stevens and Greg Dennis are co-founders of Golf and Sport Performance Center, located in West Jackson. For more info visit them at www. golfandsportperformance.com.
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Steeped in history, and built for those with a passion for the sporting life, the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club offers a remarkable opportunity to enjoy the unmatched Teton views and full-service amenities to members and guests alike. Consistently ranked one of the top golf courses in Wyoming, and in the country, by Golf Digest Magazine, Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club features full-service golf and tennis pro shops with club rentals and lessons. Enjoy the best views in the valley at the North Grill Restaurant with indoor and patio dining for lunch and dinner. Visit www.jhgtc.com to download our Wedding Planner or to learn more about the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club Membership Opportunities. 46 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
Tee Time Reservations 307-733-3111 North Grille Dining 307-733-7799 Memberships, Special Events and Group Golf Events contact Steve Cole | 307-733-7787
A Grand Teton Wedding Backdrop Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club specializes in a variety of venues including the outdoor private dining terrace, acclaimed Hole #13, and the private events tent. With incredible views, our professional staff and specialized menus, your dream wedding will become a reality.
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AND… IT’S IN THE HOLE! Lynch launches thriving golf business in coldest corner of the country. BY MAC MUNRO
ichael Lynch has a deep passion for everything golf: he is an avid player, former assistant pro, and founder/owner of In the Hole Golf, a successful Internet business located in Jackson Hole. Spending much of his youth caddying at Allegheny Country Club, located in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, golf has been a mainstay in Michael’s life from an early age. Michael went on to study Environmental Science at University of Arizona, which boasts one of the nation’s top golf programs. Michael’s campus housing featured a golf green of bent grass that he meticulously maintained in an effort to improve his short game. Throughout college, Michael worked at Tucson Country Club, learning the business of golf in addition to his collegiate studies by gaining industry insight, observing trends, and assisting every level of player. In 1996, Michael’s passion for golf and the outdoors brought him to Jackson. Teton Pines Country Club and Tucson Country Club member Dick Johnston told Michael he had a job if he could make it to Jackson Hole. After arriving in Wyoming, winters were spent working and skiing in Teton Village and summers were spent golfing and working at Teton Pines Country Club. In the ensuing years Michael would hold many positions at Teton Pines, advancing to assistant professional under Head Golf Professional John Haines. “My time at Teton Pines was critical for my personal growth in many ways. We had an incredible pool of talented staff and members who became trusted advisors and like family to me,” Lynch recalls fondly. “I am very proud to today be a member and to watch my own three kids develop a love of the game.”
ONLINE EMPIRE ORIGINS
During the late ‘90s, as Google and eBay were still finding their footing, the Internet changed retail services forever. In one of the most unlikely places in the golf universe, Lynch launched an online retail golf store, aptly named InTheHoleGolf.com. 48 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
Mike Lynch watches a tee shot in 1997 while still an assistant golf professional at Teton Pines.
“Mike deserves a ton of respect for creating a business in an industry he loves while living in the place he loves,” said Jeff Heilbrun, general manager of Snake River Sporting Club and Michael’s former boss at Teton Pines. “He’s one of the nicest and most ethical guys I know with a quiet sense of humor and great golf swing. “ Michael describes it as a “pretty straight forward website,” but with the lofty goal of “bringing every golfer what they want … training aids, ideas, innovation and information. Golfers want ways to improve their game brought right to their front door.” The business started with a single product: made-toorder wedges by a company named Snake Eyes. Eventually his offerings grew to a handful of products and he filled about 50 orders in his first year. From there the product lines continued to expand as an underserved market was tapped. By 2001, Lynch was working day and night to ship products. “We would have packages stacked up down the hall in our condo that would literally block the doorway,” Lynch recalled. “It was a fun time, but I knew I had to find a bigger space and keep pursuing the dream to build the business.” After outgrowing his condo, as well as two ever-larger office spaces, the company is now located in the Flat Creek Business Center in West Jackson. InTheHoleGolf. com now carries roughly 5,000 products, with a staff of five shipping goods around the world. “I knew our reputation had proven itself because I was being contacted directly by some of the biggest names in the industry,” Michael said.
Athletes and PGA players that utilize Michael’s services include Ben Crane, Mike Weir, Vijay Singh, and Wayne Gretzky. The business also grew to serve locals with a retail location for products as well as club repair, providing an economical and comprehensive option for area golfers. Today, InTheHoleGolf.com continues to stock the latest and most innovative golf clubs, training aids, practice equipment, and accessories from the most respected brands in the industry. Every product is personally tested, reviewed, and evaluated for the highest levels of customer service by the intuitive, hands-on entrepreneur. “A cool newer product we just started to carry are golf bikes, they are specifically designed to carry a golf bag and allow the golfer to bike the course while playing,” Michael said. Though well established online, the company has retained its small town feel and has hundreds of repeat customers who regularly log in from all over the globe. Nearly 20 years in, Lynch is still assisting every type of player.
THE BUSINESS OF LIFE
InTheHoleGolf.com’s breakout year of 2005 coincided with the beginning of Michael’s family life. It was then that he married his wife Susannah, with whom he is raising two sons, Mason and Hudson, and a daughter Francesca. The passion for golf has been passed down and embraced by his children, who spend many days
Lynch and Cowboy Cup teammate Eric Hastings while competing in the 2013 event in Salt Lake City.
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at Teton Pines learning the game and embracing the sport’s culture. Many of Michael’s relationships have been strengthened by a common interest for golf. Although Golf has taken a back seat to his company and his family, Michael looks forward to participating in club tournaments, golf trips and fitting in “golf outings with friends” whenever he can. One of his most treasured golf traditions is participating in the annual Ryder Cup-format tournament called the Cowboy Cub. The event, which celebrates its 20th year in 2016, brings together two dozen Jackson Hole friends for friendly competition and camaraderie. Brothers Brian and Trent Hultman, who respectively lead the “Old Guys” and the “Young Guys” teams, began the event, which is most
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often played in Jackson Hole but has traveled to Idaho, Utah and Montana. In May, Michael traveled to Scotland with a mostly separate group of seven friends made through golf that included former mentors, employers, coworkers and friends. Of course there is much more to life than golf and Michael and his family take full advantage of all that Jackson Hole has to offer. After all, the golf season is only so long here. JHG Mac Munro is a former Teton County golf champ, proud husband and father, youth hockey coach and percussionist with the band Mandatory Air.
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Snake River Sporting Club features Western contemporary architecture.
G A COURSE RUNS THROUGH IT Golf community real estate sales are among top contributors to strong Jackson Hole residential market. BY BRIAN SIEGFRIED
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olf properties in Jackson Hole remained a very vibrant and significant percent of the real estate market during the year ending May 1, with 32 residential sales for approximately $105 million in sales volume. Teton Pines recorded the most sales, according to Teton County Multiple Listing Service, with 16 closed transactions, followed by Shooting Star with 7 sales and Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis with 6. Overall, the residential golf home market increased approximately 26 percent in sales volume, despite reporting just one more transaction. Top sales driving the significant bump in sales volume include: • 3 Creek Ranch 5-bed, 7-bath, 6,638-square-foot custom home on 2.4 acres listed by 3 Creek Ranch Real Estate for $14.9 million. • Shooting Star in Teton Village 6-bed, 5,698-square-foot home on 2 acres listed by Clear Creek Group for $10.55 million. • Teton Pines 5-bed, 5,535-square-foot home on about threequarter acres built in 2014, listed by Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates for $4.95 million. • Snake River Sporting Club 5-bed, 5,824-square-foot home on about a half an acre built in 2012, listed by REMAX Obsidian Real Estate for $2.5 million. The top sale in Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis in the year prior to May 1 was a 3-bed, 2,057-square-foot “cabin” listed by Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty for $1.395 million.
A Cluster unit at Teton Pines
Cabin at Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis
Jackson Hole golf course building site sales during the same period increased 38 percent over the previous 12-month period sales with 25 deals for approximately $40 million in sales volume. 3 Creek Ranch led with 7 transactions, followed by Shooting Star with 6, Golf & Tennis with 5, Teton Pines with 4 and Snake River Sporting Club with 3. Building site sales highlights include: • The least-expensively priced home site to sell was a .15-acre Teton Pines lot listed by Prugh Real Estate for $475,000. • A 35.5-acre 3 Creek Ranch home site listed by 3 Creek Ranch Real Estate for $4.9 million was the largest and most-expensively priced home site to sell. • The top land sale in Shooting Star was for a 1.79-acre lot listed by Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty for $2.95 million. Active residential listings among the five Jackson Hole golf courses, as of May 1, included 23 homes or approximately 10 percent of listings in Teton County, Wyoming. Golf course building site options are even more abundant in Jackson Hole, with 24 properties listed. Highlights among the actively listed properties include: • A fractional ownership unit at Teton Pines listed by Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty is priced at $224,000 and includes six pre-planned weeks of use. • The lowest-priced full ownership Jackson Hole golf course
property is a 4-bed, 2,916-square-foot home on .82 acres built in 1993 in Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis, listed by Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty for $1.295 million. There are 8 homes priced between $2 million and $3 million. Snake River Sporting Club has two such listings, including a 5-bed, 3,535-square-foot home on .36 acres built in 2010 that overlooks the back nine and is in walking distance to the clubhouse, listed by REMAX Obsidian Real Estate for $2.399 million. There are 7 homes priced between $3 million and $4 million. 3 Creek Ranch has two such listings, both of them “cabins” with similar design and construction, both approximately 4,300 square feet and on about a half acre, and both priced just below $3.4 million. The top priced Teton Pines active residential listing is a 4-bed, 4,856-square-foot home on 1.21 acres built in 2006, listed by Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty for $4.95 million. Teton Pines also lays claim to the highest-priced active listing as of May 1, with a 4-bed, 5-bath, 8,467-square-foot home built in 2001 on 2.25 acres surrounded by water, by Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty for $8.395 million. JHG
Brian Siegfried is an associate broker with Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty. 53 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
The view from 6 am and .1 inches
Neither frost nor rain nor large mammal keeps these guys from their appointed rounds. BY ROBERT GARRETT
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ou don’t have to be a morning person to do this job, but if you’re not it will be a miserable experience. I am a morning person, and I absolutely love being on the golf course at first light, even when I’m not there to play. Every morning from May to October (our golf season here in Jackson Hole) more than a dozen of us will show up at the maintenance yard before sunrise to see who else shows up (or who didn’t because they went camping and got their truck stuck in a tree, or some other dubious excuse), check our assignments, figure out what to wear and load up on coffee. Once we are assigned our tasks – whether mowing greens, mowing collars and approaches, raking bunkers, driving the Sand Pro tractor that finishes the bunkers, working trash and tees (stocking water coolers, emptying trash, setting tee markers, filling divots), mowing tee boxes, rolling greens, mowing fairways or a different odd job – off we go. Frost delays us many days, but eventually our little squadron departs in groups of two, four or six with a few flying solo. Each job has its own challenges, which we take on as if we ourselves will be playing the course we prepare, which on some afternoons we do. Take sand traps, for example. At first it may seem like you are just raking sand, and to some degree that is true. But in fact we are preparing lies for errant shots, and those of us who play the game seem to take extra care to make sure that a bad lie does not compound a golfer’s bad fortune of being in a bunker in the first place. When it comes to mowing greens, the task requires even more attention to detail and a good bit more skill. Hand-mowing greens, collars/approaches or tee boxes, is not at all like mowing your backyard, with each distinction requiring expertise on a different heavy, power-driven, sharp, and quirky machine specific to the task. Green mowers, for example, have floating heads that adapt to a putting green’s many contours, slopes, humps and bowls, and require a great deal of training and experience to handle properly. Each day you cut in a different pattern. Referring to the hands on a
clock, each day you mow parallel lines rotating from “12 to 6” or “9 to 3” or “10 to 4” or “8 to 2.” The job is completed with a “clean up cut” around the perimeter that is two mowers wide, either clockwise, or counter. The concept is simple, but making that first straight cut makes all the difference and is not as easy in practice as theory. You learn to do it right the first time eventually, as well as how to cover or fix your mistakes while gaining experience, but even the most accomplished greens mower sometimes turns around after that first pass to see that it’s not straight, and it’s maddening! Another imperfection we strive to avoid is “nipping” the collars, which happens when the blades are not raised before they leave the putting surface. Nipping collars is kind of a rookie move (and a trained eye will see the cut for days), but even experienced mowers will do it from time to time. You get comfortable, you get quick, there’s a certain angle to the edge of the green, and before you know it you’ve clipped it. It’s not the end of the world, but it eats at you, kind of like a missed short putt you can’t forget about for a few holes. One of the hardest parts of the job is not being able to putt on the greens or play the course when we’re done working on them and they are at their very best. It always amazes me when I do get to play our course, usually late in the afternoon, how different it looks once it has baked in the sun, been played on all day, the grass has grown as little as a tenth of an inch and the wind is blowing. Compared to when we have finished our three hours of morning maintenance, the difference is dramatic. Another challenge somewhat unique to local greenskeepers is the abundance of large, four-legged wildlife. From north to south, the golf courses in and around Jackson Hole are all in migration corridors or considered quality wildlife habitat. At Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis, which is on the same side of the Snake River as Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge, regular visitors include elk, bison, moose, mule deer and even antelope. Teton Pines, with its more than 40 acres of ponds and waterways and lots and lots of willows, is home to countless moose. Every course has many kinds of critters in addition to the charismatic megafauna such as coyotes, foxes, porcupines, beavers, birds of prey and more. As a maintenance worker I have been charged and approached numerous times by bull moose during the fall rut season. These animals often will do significant damage to bunkers and greens, not to mention the more common browsing on shrubs and tree leaves. We often must repair deep
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hoof marks and indentations on the greens. During the rut, flagsticks are taken down at night and left on the ground lest the moose decide they want to spar with them instead of their competitors. Of course the work of the seasonal, morning crew is only the last in a long line of laborers that work year-round to prepare a course to look its best on a given day during the season. A staff of full-timers led by the course superintendent handle a long list of maintenance jobs including fertilization, aeration, irrigation, tree removal or planting and mechanical maintenance work as well as upkeep of the myriad structures, waterways and other improvements on property. There is a lot that must be done, with the vast ma jority of it taking place behind the scenes or when the course is closed. For example, the healthy, vibrant greens I mow in July are first cleared of snow in late February, while the rest of the course will sit beneath more than a foot of snow for as long as two more months. The goal of this exercise it to get the delicate greens free of any snow mold and ready to begin growing by the first week of May. For as much as I have learned over the years, I’m still just a “mow and go” guy and there is so much more to know about the living, breathing, growing and changing entity that is a golf course. It is affected by natural and human forces, seasons, climate and time; it responds to care and nurture but requires constant attention and attention to detail to meet the conditions expected of one of the nation’s top-ranked courses. Here in Jackson Hole this is particularly nuanced, as we have long, variable winters, with equally (though not as long!) variable springs, summers and falls. We have a short but intense growing (greening)
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period from late May to mid July, then we get drier, then we get cooler. Frost is a possibility almost the entire season except for the very heart of July and August. All regional courses are faced with these variables, and every course can fare differently from one season to another. No matter the course, however, they all look their best when we get to our early fall season and the leaves are just starting to turn, the mountains are sometimes dusted with snow, the fairways are firm and green, the rough is filled in but nicely mown, and the sun is just a little lower in the sky. However, no matter what time of year or what corner of the country you play golf in, one constant is the presence of a hard-working maintenance crew. Most may not be as numerous, well-funded or professional as those that maintain the elite courses here in Jackson Hole, but we are all committed to the same goal: getting the course in as good a shape as we can get it for that day’s players, and making sure you don’t see a single green with nipped collars. And for the most part, I’m guessing we are mostly morning people with a shared love of nature. For me, I treasure the memories of seeing an osprey fly overhead with a cutthroat trout in its talons, the sun rising over Sleeping Indian, watching a mama moose and her yearling amble across the course, bald eagles shrieking overhead, lightning storms coming over the mountains at dawn and fiery sunrises as the morning dew turns to misty steam. JHG Robert Garrett is in his sixth season working on the grounds crew at Teton Pines.
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Another year of broken golf promises 58
BY DREW SIMMONS ILLUSTRATION BY NATE BENNETT
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OCTOBER I promise to accept the change of seasons and stop playing for the rest of the year if I get three double bogeys in a row. I promise to remember to leave my new iPhone in the car next time, so that after I get those three triple bogeys in a row I don’t shatter it with my best swing of the day, a five-iron line-drive double swing to the solar plexus of my standing bag. I promise I won’t let it bug me when the guys at the course start calling me “Mr. October.”
NOVEMBER I promise to not play “just one more round” this year, especially if I have to wear ski pants and long underwear. I promise to not play “just one more round” in ski pants and long underwear, after this weekend. I promise to not eat that entire seven-layer-dip platter over Thanksgiving, and then retreat in gastric distress to the couch where I spend three hours researching online golf product purchases. Never again.
DECEMBER I promise to give the used belly putter that I bought on eBay over Thanksgiving to my brother-in-law for Christmas. So what if it was only $80? That seems like a pretty decent deal if you break it down to the per-foot price. I promise to buy myself a golf book, “Secrets to the Short Game” by Phil Mickelson, for Christmas. I promise to learn it by heart, to not brag about how much it helped me improve my game when I win the first of four consecutive club championships next summer (a club first!), and to pat myself on the back repeatedly for making this the best Christmas ever. I promise I will remember to put my pitching wedge back in my bag after making a few swings in the driveway in anticipation of my soon-to-be-tight short game. So psyched.
JANUARY I promise to bring my putter to the office. The carpet in there is probably at least a 10 on the Stimpmeter. Maybe even a 12. I promise to not get too excited when they start rolling ads for The Masters during the NFL playoffs. I promise to fix the hole in the drywall from practicing my swing in the living room while getting amped up watching Masters ads during the Broncos-Pats championship game. Temporarily, I’m totally OK with moving that weird fish painting a few feet to the left to cover the damage.
FEBRUARY I promise to bring balls to the office now that I have had my putter there for more than a month.
MARCH I promise that during my first true round of the spring I will swing easy, focus on the basics and keep my expectations in check. I promise to not let a 58 on the front nine ruin my back nine. I promise to not let a 101 ruin my ride home. I promise that during my second round of the spring, I will remember what I promised to do on the first round.
APRIL I promise to finally sit down and read that Mickelson book cover to cover. My short game is a day-drinking, slow-motion, score-accelerating, train wreck. I promise to practice for an hour before every round because that’s what serious golfers do. I promise to hit a full bucket, chip
a full bucket and do all those secret ninja putting drills that only I understand. I promise to not take clubs out of my bag anymore for mid-winter driveway sessions. I hate playing without my 7-iron.
MAY I promise to hit my driver less often. I promise to spend the time needed to figure out how to hit my driver correctly. I promise to go find that tee shot from No. 3 after the round. Didn’t hear it hit any houses at all. I promise to get a new driver.
JUNE I promise never to play in a scramble again. I promise that when I do play in a scramble again, I will do a better job of staying away from the open bar, and in particular brown beverages with ice in them. I promise I will not use this year’s scramble winnings (third place net, $11.50 per player in Pro Shop credit) on something stupid like another golf book.
JULY I promise to stop taking mulligans. I promise to stop taking more than one mulligan per 18. One is legit. Everybody does that. I promise to only take more than one mulligan per 18 when I have a chance to break 80.
AUGUST I promise to give that Mickelson book another shot.
SEPTEMBER I promise to not let it bug me when people compliment me on my sand game after a round. I promise to not let it bug me when people quote “Caddyshack” incorrectly. I promise to not let it bug me when the third single of the day in a cart asks to play through. I promise to take the time to read the green and commit to the line but not change it as soon as I stand over the ball and begin my putting routine, and if I do change it to begin my routine again and commit to the line but not change it. I promise to stop drinking coffee.
OCTOBER I promise to accept the change of seasons and stop playing for the rest of the year … but only if I get four double bogeys in a row. JHG Drew Simmons is a freelance writer living in a van parked near the 14th hole water hazard. His recent “work” can be found in The Drake, Jackson Hole Golfer and at WickedOutdoorsy.com. 59 ISSUE 9 / 2016 / JHGOLFER.COM
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