As garage doors slowly open, the spartan practice room is revealed; an indoor golf studio with a green carpet floor specked with square golf hitting mats that transforms into a covered driving range. Located inside a stately, sandstone-brick clubhouse, the practice area serves as the practice grounds of Colorado State University golf teams and ground zero for the Golf Academy at Harmony Club, where golfers consult PGA-certified instructors about their golf swing rather than waiting in vain for Jack Nicklaus’s spirit animal to appear in their dreams. Outside, players take advantage of a practice facility featuring tee box training as well as a short game area.
When the staffers at Colorado Carriage and Wagon says that their business is family owned and operated, they extend that description all the way down to the horses who make each journey possible. Their beloved Draft breeds travel throughout Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska, bringing charmingly old-fashioned transportation to weddings, family reunions, and romantic traipses through town. When snow blankets the ground, guests can schedule sleigh rides, taking the classic conveyance on a caroling trip or just prowling the woods for drag races against one-horse hotrods. In addition to horses, the family's petting zoo of chicks, sheep, pigs, and other barnyard animals often makes appearances at parties and festivals, delighting young and old alike with their cute, fuzzy faces.
For nearly a decade, the nationally certified instructors at ATA Family Martial Arts have taught students how to block, strike, and kick in a series of self-defense patterns. Classes for kids as young as 4 focus on coordination, listening skills, and confidence, and adult-geared classes teach sparring and weapons training.
With very few trees on the course, golfers' views of the Rocky Mountains—which soar across the western horizon—are seldom obstructed at Saddleback Golf Club. The open terrain also makes the lengthy, 7,090-yard layout more manageable, as golfers can consistently reach for their driver off the tee. Even with an open expanse, golfers are constantly challenged, as most of the course's greens are heavily fortified with sand and grass bunkers, and two holes—the par-three 4th and the par-four 16th—feature de facto island greens, almost fully wreathed by water hazards. Simply reaching the putting surface does not guarantee a good score, as the course's large, multi-tiered greens will make for many long, hard-to-read putts. To prepare for the round, golfers can take a flyover tour of the course.
Though the course is a serious challenge, Saddleback Golf Club encourages golfers of all stripes to enjoy their time on the links. While the scorecards at most clubs include a recitation of basic rules and etiquette, Saddleback's card strikes a much more laid back tone, imploring players to "have phun" and "kick your ball if you hit a bad shot," while reminding them that "scoring is optional." The carefree vibe extends to the Club's instructional programs, where golf pros pass on birdie-hunting wisdom and caddie scolding tactics.
Course at a Glance:
Collindale Golf Academy's PGA Director of Instruction Vince Buelk calls upon 18 years of experience to shore up the pin-hunting panache of golfers of all abilities. The passionate pedagogue develops the academy's club-flailing curriculum and puts it into practice at its stately facilities, which include a full-length driving range, an oversize putting green, and a practice bunker ideal for wedging balls out of sunken lies and replacing them with incriminating scorecards. The academy's thriving junior program strives to develop an affinity for the game at a young age, and club-fitting services pair each unique swing with its crooked-stick soul mates. Though the academy's kempt lawns, mountainside vistas, and lush pines affect a sense of old-time rusticity, its instructors utilize the latest in technological teaching aides, including V1 video-swing-analysis software and pitching wedges that double as prosthetic hooks for grabbing cookies on the high shelves.