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 of Northern Colorado, 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.
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: * 18-hole, par 72 course designed by Andy Johnson * Length of 7,090 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 72.5 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 130 from the farthest tees * Five tee options * Scorecard
Nature meets the city at CommonGround Golf Course. As golf balls crest through the air, the verdant Colorado Front Range and the steely Denver skyline both stand proudly behind the 18-hole terrain. A lengthy undertaking at 7,229 yards from the back tees, the course was designed by architect Tom Doak—former student of the legendary course designer Pete Dye and creator of four courses currently listed among Golf Magazine’s top 100 in the world. Mr. Doak installed four sets of tees so that players of all skill levels could navigate the densely lush fairways, putt on the carpet-like greens, and sketch loving portraits of him into the frequent bunkers.
Alongside the 18-hole championship course lies the nine-hole par 3 course, a testament to CommonGround’s commitment to growing the game. Youngsters will enjoy the kid-friendly length, with holes averaging a shade over 100 yards.
Framed by the peaks of the Flatirons to the south and the Rocky Mountain foothills to the west, Lake Valley Golf Club's 18-hole, links-style course winds through scenic terrain for a visually dynamic round of golf. On the front nine, golfers navigate frequent elevation changes that permit views of the area's many natural sights. The back nine presents a distinct layout as it curves through marshland dotted with ponds and populated by birds and other native wildlife. A private course, Lake Valley typically lets golfers complete their round in less than four hours.
The club's practice facilities include a driving range, a 70-yard short-game practice area, and a large putting green. Golfers may want to warm up before the round, as the course does not lend itself to slow starters?the third hole is the course's signature track and most difficult, showcasing a 460-yard par four with a challenging double-dogleg. After the round, golfers can retire to the Persimmon Grill and enjoy a drink and eat seasonal, gourmet, grill fare.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Length of 6,891 yards from the tips * Course rating of 72.5 from the tips * Slope rating of 135 from the tips * Six tee options * Scorecard and course tour
Haystack Mountain Golf Course bears many features that remind players of the history of the land beneath their golf spikes, a history that stretches way back before a tee ever pierced it. An original 1850s settlers' shack still stands on the 240-acre plot, as does an early 1900s horse barn?which today stores golf equipment now that horses have been replaced by golf carts. And then of course there's Left Hand Creek and Haystack Mountain itself, home to the Arapahoe tribe and hardscrabble settlers in the 19th century.
Today, golfers enjoy those same pristine views of Haystack Mountain and the Flatirons as they play the nine-hole, links-style layout. Left Hand Creek bifurcates the course and comes into play on four holes. A scant 2,153 yards with a par of 32, the course is a scenic place for beginners to take up the game and for their more seasoned counterparts to work on their touch on the greens.
Course at a Glance: * 9-hole, par 32 course * Total length of 2,153 yards from the back tees * Two sets of tees per hole * View the scorecard
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.