in the Rockies
obvious reasons, the state of Colorado carries visions of
skiing, snow cabins, snowboarding and well, anything revolving
around snow. In the summer however, the snow limits itself
to the peaks of nearby mountains and the sports fan can enjoy
many activities, with the golfer enjoying a veritable banquet.
The first stop
for me was Denver, the state capital with tree lined streets
and beautiful parks. It sits a few miles from the Rocky mountains
and the best thing for the travelling golfer is the fact that
the area boasts 300 days of sunshine a year (but at varying
golf around this area has a great variety combining a desert feel,
with parkland and links golf thrown in. Within two hours of Denver,
there are over 200 golf courses. Many of the most beautiful are
to the west of the city, high up in the mountains and this is where
I find the Keystone Ranch Resort.
peaceful and idyllic track was designed by Robert Trent Jones, opened
in 1980 and claimed at the time to be the highest course in the
world. The courses up high like this one tend to be longer because
the ball travels further (10 percent) at high altitude, which can
always cheer up a local hacker after a gaze at the yardage book.
The variety of terrain is exemplified perfectly at Keystone with
the course starting amongst thick forest, then plummeting down the
mountain and finally settling in a peaceful meadow for the finish.
But the variety doesnít end on the golf course because once the
snow melts for the summer, all sorts of activities ensue. At Keystone,
for example, there is sailing, hot-air ballooning, white-water rafting,
barn dancing and even hay-wagon racing. According to the locals,
the summers just fly by.
next quick stop was at Breckenridge, the only municipally designed
Nicklaus course in the world. The course is located in an old
mining town which overlooks the Ten Mile Range where the views
are just as popular as the golf.
lovely visit turned out to be Arrowhead, south of Denver in Roxburgh
Park. The American golf writer Herbert Warren Wind described it
as "the most splendid and spectacular setting for a golf course
Iíve ever seen."
setting is very unique because of the huge pillars of red rock
that surface out of the rolling terrain which contrast with
the lushness of the course. The only problem is that some wild
and quirky bounces can come about if you get too close to the
wasnít long before my eagerness to hit real mountain territory took
over and I ventured west to Vail, one of Coloradoís best known ski
resorts. It has five courses which again range vastly in character
with two of them being completely private (one is Country Club of
the Rockies where Nicklaus has a home on one of the fairways). The
nicely named Beaver Creek is a resort course which (like many) requires
you to stay in the hotel to play there. It is a marvellous layout
on a mountain side with a river falling all the way through it and
should not be tackled by anyone with ticker trouble.
from Vail, the town of Aspen is only a few miles over snow topped
peaks but the route by car is a winding couple of hours of pleasant
driving. After this jolly jaunt, I arrive at Snowmass, a complex
run by the Aspen Ski Company with an 18-hole course designed
by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. The area is 8,200 feet above sea
which restricts the season from late May to early October. The
Elk Mountain range surrounds you and you feel every inch of
the 8,200 feet up gazing down at the scenery below. The course
is a tough one with two par fives over 600 yards and a couple
of long par threes with big drops. The challenge for the golfer
here is to see how much air time you can generate on a shot,
because the old joke of a high ball having snow on it as it
comes down develops into reality on some high tee shots.
await me in Colorado Springs, due south of Denver. It is the location
for arguably the finest golf resort in Colorado, The Broadmoor.
The name is always spelt with a small "a" at the course
and in brochures, and the story attached to it is a gem. The former
owner Spencer Penrose, a Philadelphian entrepreneur, once rode into
a local bar called the Antlers on his horse and refused to dismount.
The owner didnít serve him and as revenge, Penrose made the "a"
in his hotel small and that they say, is history.
resort has three courses to choose from and they are all championship
standard with the East course staging the US Womenís Open not
so long ago. The South course is very pretty and the West is
arguably the toughest test of the three. But the East is nearest
the mountains and that provides the
why it is the most popular course in the area. The facilities
are first class with everything you could possibly need for
relaxation and comfort.
A very refreshing
thing about golfing here is the eagerness that everybody has to
walk the courses, something that is very rare in most parts of the
USA. The choice is yours on almost every course in Colorado although
some mountain courses should be tackled in a buggy for health reasons.
golf experience is something very special indeed. The views are
breathtaking, you hit the ball further and the hospitality is exactly
what the United States wants to provide. How can a golfer refuse?
719 634 7711
303 973 9614
303 923 3148
303 468 4250
303 453 9104
Beaver Creek- 001
303 949 5750