Headed to Denver in August and looking for a couple of good tracks to play. Not worried about the price if the experience/course are worth it. What’s out there?
Are you going to have a car? The courses at Vail and Keystone are true mountain courses. It is an hour to Keystone from Denver and an hour and a half to Vail.
Castle Pines, Bear Dance, Common Ground
CommonGround is a fun Doak and a pretty affordable public option that was the second course for the US Am a few years ago.
Yeah we’ll have a car.
In the Denver area, play Murphy Creek and CommonGround. Far and away the best two public tracks from an architectural perspective. Don’t play Ridge at Castle Pines or Saddle Rock.
The Vail course is an over-priced snooze fest. Most of the mountain courses are wildly overrated due to setting.
Fossil Trace and Arrowhead are both tremendous Tommy Raynor designs.
I grew up in Denver and played every public course you could as of 2014. Going off some of the previous replies, here’s how I’d go about it:
Definitely play Arrowhead and Bear Dance.
Alternates to that list would be Common Ground, Murphy Creek, and Fossil Trace.
The Ridge is definitely cookie-cutter. Back nine is cool, front nine is meh. Saddle Rock isn’t worth your time.
Disregard everything mentioned if you have an “in” at Cherry Hills, Castle Pines, or Denver CC and go there.
Yup. But if you can get on at Colorado Golf Club, drop all and do that.
The front on the Ridge is a disaster. 6 might be the worst-conceived golf hole that I’ve ever seen.
Granted I haven’t lived in Denver in almost 4 years but damn, that’s an extremely quick trip up I-70. Realistically, it’s probably closer to 2 and 2.5 hours, respectively, and that’s with no traffic. Mountain courses have awesome views and it’s fun to hit the ball far but they are overpriced for the most part.
I’ll second all the CommonGround, Fossil Trace, Murphy Creek, Arrowhead, Bear Dance rec’s.
Fox Hollow can be fun but it’s city-run and one of the nines stinks. If you can play Canyon and Links, it’s sneaky good. If you play the Meadow, it’s meh.
Green Valley Ranch is good but out by the airport so you can do better.
I’ve made the drive no less than 25 times each way over the last four year. Silverthorne is an hour from Denver and Vail is 30 minutes from there. There has been some significant expansions of the highway (especially for the first 35 miles up the mountain) and implemented a paid fast lane used during ski season traffic which this group will not need to deal with.
The mountain courses may not be the best architectural courses in Colorado but come on, you are 8K feet elevation in the middle of a mountain range playing golf. Not too many places in the country you can accomplish that.
No way Keystone is an hour… No way Vail is 90 minutes…
Vail and Keystone both are closer to 2 hours. Why waste the time driving and paying ridiculous greens fees when they can stay in town and play better courses?
I do not understand the fight on the travel time. Just look at google maps. Center of downtown Denver to Vail is 1 hour 40 minutes. Center of downtown Denver to Silverthorne (the course is right on the other side of Lake Dillon) is 1 hour 10 minutes. If you have made the trip then you know if you keep up with traffic, you will make even better time.
I hear ya on staying in town to play better courses. However, those public courses aren’t phenomenal, can’t go to Colorado without making a stop courses. Did you even go to Colorado if you don’t go to the mountains? Denver is in a Valley and the land is not nearly as extreme. Don’t make the trip up i70 if experiencing the mountains and golf at significant elevation is of no interest. Golf at 5K feet is different enough.
I was gonna say Colorado Golf Club but I’ve never been to a course with so many snakes on it. Every time I was there I saw at least one and was just terrified with every step I took outdoors.
Man I forgot about Fox Hollow. I played there twice and did Canyon/Links each time and it is good. One of those times was December 26th on a 40 degree, 40 MPH wind day, and it’s bar none the closest I’ve ever come to playing Open Championship style golf.
I’m living out here for the summer and definitely second playing Murphy Creek and Common Ground. Common Ground may not look jaw dropping pulling into the parking lot but there are some great golf holes (and fantastic green complexes) out there, along with a very cool community atmosphere.
Arrowhead is a very pretty golf course, but wasn’t my favorite design. Colorado National is about 40 minutes out of town and has some cool golf holes, although you’re surrounded by houses for most of the round.
Fossil Trace and Bear Dance are on my list of courses to play, but have heard nothing but good things from the locals here.
As far as going up to the mountains, it’s important on when you try and go up there and more importantly when you’re coming back, traveling on a Friday or Sunday and you could run into some traffic.
August is a great time to be up here, enjoy the trip!
Murphy Creek is the best public track in my opinion, followed by Common Ground (can get great deals on golfnow too) - and you can easily play both in the same day as they are 20 minutes apart with no traffic to be concerned with in that area. Instead of Fossil Trace I’d recommend calling Bear Creek Golf Club as a “prospective member”. You’ll play with the membership director, who is a character, and they’ll round out your group with two regular players of whatever skill level you are (fair warning, this is an extremely difficult golf course). I’d do the same at Meridian Golf Club, second-shot Nicklaus course with fast and difficult green complexes.
Bear Creek might be the hardest course I’ve ever played. I birdied #4 and rank that as one of the best birdies I’ve ever made. #13 is a real pain in the ass. Not sure who pissed in Arnie’s Cheerios before he went out there but he did everything he could to make that course hard as hell.