High school friends unite in Grand Lake for annual mini golf tournament | SkyHiNews.com

High school friends unite in Grand Lake for annual mini golf tournament

Justin Levy and Doug Smith at the old Winter Park Resort mini golf course the summer of 1990.
Photo Courtesy of Justin Levy |

Justin Levy, of Denver, has been coming to Grand County for 45 years with his family.

In the summer of 1989, Levy’s senior year in high school, he and his friend Doug Smith started a tradition still enjoyed today. They created The Rocky Mountain International, a mini-golf tournament weekend just for them. When the tournament first started they would play mini golf in Denver, Winter Park, Grand Lake, and Estes Park – all over one summer weekend.

They have continued the tradition on and off for the last 30 years changing some of the locations but always including Grand County.

On August 12 Levy and Smith, from Castle Rock will begin the mini golf tournament in Grand Lake.

They will then play a round of mini golf at Winter Park Resort and Snow Mountain Ranch before hitting courses in to Estes Park and Boulder.

After golfing in all the towns, the winner gets the trophy and is treated to dinner.

“It’s a fun tradition,” said Levy. “We plot out the weekend and it’s just quality time together.”

“It’s fun but it’s competitive. Bragging rights are on the line.”

Originally these friends met in 11th grade English class at Cherry Creek High School in South Denver. They stayed in touch through college and then lost touch for while. They reunited in 2003 at their 20th high school reunion.

Why mini golf

Levy has fond memories of coming to Grand County and playing mini golf at Lilliput with his family every summer.

“Grand Lake equals mini golf to me,” he said.

Last year’s tournament weekend included a visit to the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre (42nd Street), lunch at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, beverages at Grumpy’s in Grand Lake, tubing and Frisbee golf at Snow Mountain Ranch.

Many of their tournaments have taken place in mid-to-late August where they would watch a Bronco preseason game or CU versus CSU football games.

“This year we’ll watch the Broncos/Bears game August 11 from the comfort of our home in Granby Ranch,” he said.

Over the years they have stayed at the Grand Lake Lodge, the Bluebird Motel, and other motels around Grand Lake.

“It’s a fun-filled weekend celebrating our friendship and all that Grand County offers. When we started the tournament in 1989 I honestly believe we thought we’d still be playing the tournament 27 years later. While we missed a few years, it certainly makes me happy to see the tradition continue stronger than ever in 2016.”

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