The best golf course in Colorado is…

We have a lot of good golf courses out here in Colorado.  Some are private, some are public.  Some are in the Denver metro area, and some are up in the mountains.  But there is one course that consistently ranks as the best in Colorado (and in the top 30 or 40 in the United States), and that is Castle Pines Golf Club.

Castle Pines GC is located south of Denver, and was built by Jack Nicklaus in the early 1980s.  It hosted the PGA Tour’s International tournament from 1986 until 2006, and while that event no longer exists the club is still going strong.  I’ve been fortunate to play Castle Pines a couple of times, including this summer on my birthday.

The golf course is situated about 6,400 feet above sea level, which is a full 1,000 feet higher than most courses in the Denver area.  At that altitude the ball flies much further and straighter than it does at lower elevations.  So while Castle Pines measures a full 7,700 yards from the tips, it doesn’t play nearly that long.  So what’s it like?

Well, for starters you can expect perfect playing conditions (the course is only open from early May through mid October), fast greens, and beautiful flowers throughout the property.  The only club that I’ve seen with prettier flowers is Augusta National, the home of The Masters.  The par 3s are tremendous (the photo above is the downhill, par 3 11th hole), the par 4s are stout but many are scoreable, and the par 5s offer a great chance for birdies.  The golf course provides plenty of risk/reward opportunities, while offering a great mix of easy and difficult holes.  Good shots are rewarded, and poor shots are penalized.  But unlike many top 100 courses, you can make birdies at Castle Pines.  It’s a lot of fun to play.

The staff at Castle Pines GC defines gracious hospitality.  On many occasions I’ve heard the club referred to as “the land of yes”, because almost all requests are granted.  The clubhouse is modest, but comfortable.  There are no tennis courts or swimming pools.  It’s all about the golf and making the experience of the members and guests as pleasant as possible.  Roughly two-thirds of the members live out of state, so the golf course is never crowded.

If you get a chance to play Castle Pines Golf Club make sure you take it.  There are other great courses in Colorado, including Cherry Hills Country Club and The Broadmoor East, but none offer quite the experience that Castle Pines GC does.