Eagle Valley Reservoir, nestled in the backcountry of Spring Valley State Park just outside of Pioche, strikes a beautiful sight at any time of the year. But when the snow comes down and the lake freezes over, this body of freshwater offers more than just a beautiful winter vista. It’s also a place to enjoy a few of the more entertaining activities the Parks department can come up with. The most obvious of those activities are skating and ice fishing, but the folks at Eagle Valley recently had a different idea in mind — Ice-hole golfing.
The park rangers set up a golf course Jan. 18 along the frozen lake that dominates the valley, complete with nine holes and plenty of space to play around. The course wound along the reservoir, with only seven inches of ice between the golfers and the frigid depths. The park rangers even provided clubs and tennis balls with which to play the course, as well as wooden targets that served as holes. The whole thing only cost the golfers $5 each, and it came with the promise of prizes for different qualifiers (the most strokes, the least strokes, the longest drive, etc.) and hot cocoa. Many locals and out of towners alike showed up to take part in this unique experience, and while the course might have been the slickest and coldest place they’d ever putted on, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves immensely.
The only other group of people that matched and even surpassed the number of golfers (especially in the earlier hours of the morning) were the ice fishers that descended on the lake before sunrise. Even the local priesthood quorums from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints showed up, bolstering the number of fishermen that drilled holes in the ice to catch the bounty beneath.
Many of the participants that braved the cold were from around the area, including local game warden John Anderson and his family, as well as business owners like Mason Stackhouse, owner of the Panaca Market. Others were from out of town, but frequented the area because of the great fishing and wonderful environment.
“We’ve been coming up here for years to celebrate my birthday,” one of these visitors said as he pulled fish from the lake with his family, “and we’re very impressed with what they’ve done with the campsites. Really well done.”
While the fishing was good for some, as the morning dragged on the fish began to bite less and less, possibly due to the high concentration of hooks in the water. But the ice golfing only seemed to intensify, with groups of eight or nine people laughing and driving their way along the whitest green ever seen.
The park rangers announced over the speakers that ran around the lake that all of the proceeds from this activity would go to future activities, including the large fishing jamboree held in the spring where children can earn scholarships and win big prizes depending on the fish they reel in.
Sarah Collins had the highest score of the afternoon, with 143 strokes, while Carl from Eagle Valley Resort had the lowest number of strokes, 53. There was also a raffle that won Relena Hanley a golf bag while Jean Belingheri walked away with a golf package. There were other prizes as well, including more golfing equipment and other sports memorabilia.