Colorado may not be the state you think of when you’re talking about great golf courses. In my opinion the states with the best collection of golf courses (in order) are New York, California, and Illinois. But that doesn’t mean that Colorado doesn’t have great golf courses to choose from.
Compared to the states above I would say that Colorado is a little weak in the private course category, but there are still many good options. In Denver metro, iconic Cherry Hills Country Club (which has hosted several US Opens, PGA Championships, the US Amateur and the BMW Championship) reigns supreme. A solid front nine and a very good back nine make this the gem of the Denver area. Denver Country Club, located just a few miles from Cherry Hills, is a wonderful, old, tree-lined course steeped in history and tradition. A little south of Denver lies Castle Pines Golf Club, which in this author’s opinion is the finest golf course in the state. Castle Pines hosted the PGA Tour’s International Event for 21 years, has the best design/layout in the state, and a majestic view on just about every tee (the photo above is the par 3 11th hole, check out that view!). The conditioning is superb, and the staff could not more friendly or helpful. Colorado Golf Club, which has already hosted a Champions Tour major, is another strong pick.
In the mountains, Country Club of the Rockies and Red Sky Ranch (both near Vail) are the finest private options in the high country. Both offer superb conditions and magnificent views of the surrounding peaks. Unfortunately, every single one of the private clubs I just listed are very expensive (initiation fees often run into the 6 figures, with monthly dues around $1,000 per month) and are very difficult to get into, but if you have the opportunity to play any of them as a guest (or the contacts and money to join), you won’t be disappointed.
It’s on the public course side where Colorado golf really shines. In my opinion, the best public course in the state is the East course at the Broadmoor Resort, in Colorado Springs. The East course has hosted several USGA national championships, and is a classic Donald Ross design. It’s expensive at around $250 per round, but well worth the price. Inverness Resort and Omni Interlocken Resort offer superb conditioning and a higher-end daily fee experience (typically north of $100 per round, and both offer annual memberships to the public as well). For more affordable options check out Riverdale Dunes, Bear Dance, and The Ridge at Castle Pines North. All offer good conditions, nice design features, and greens fees under $65 per round.
In the high country, there are many great public golf options. Breckenridge Golf Club, the River Course at Keystone Ranch, and Pole Creek are all excellent daily fee choices. For higher-end options, you can play at Red Sky Ranch if you are staying in one of the club’s preferred hotels, and The Raven at Three Peaks offers outstanding conditions and scenery.
If you’re looking for surprisingly good golf courses, check out Colorado. You’ll love it here. And remember, thanks to the thin air the ball flies a lot further and straighter out here, which makes any round more enjoyable.