Grand Lake Golf Course
Today, Sept 2, I arrived at Grand Lake Golf Course to find there was a 45 minute frost delay. WOW!! That’s early!! This course may have one of the shortest seasons in golf–they are basically open from mid-May to early Oct.Thats short, but for those few months this is open, it’s well worth the trip.
This is a true mountain course, with elevation changes and vistas galore. Sitting a few miles from the southern boarder of Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake is par 72 playing 6650 yards. However, at 8400 feet of elevation it plays more like 6200 yards, and like many mountain courses, the challenge of the golf can be matched by the challenge of the distracting views.
When it was originally designed, all the fairways were tightly tree-lined but several years ago there was a Bark Beatle infestation and they lost 200,000 trees. Now it looks very links style with sweeping views of not only adjacent holes but miles of mountain views as well. I like it like this.
As you look out over the panoramas of the majestic Rocky Mountains that surround you, you’ll see acres and acres of brown dead trees peppered in contrast to some green areas of new growth. It reminds you of the infestation but stuns you nonetheless.
The carts all have graphic GPS so distances to everything are very clear, but be careful of club selection, 8400 feet of elevation can fool you if you don’t pay attention.
Many of the greens are postage stamp in size but they were in terrific shape and putted very well. Several of the holes on the back nine could be signature holes, particularly number 10 a sweeping downhill dogleg left and number 11,a 180 yard par three from an elevated tee, to an elevated green over a pond.
As we made the turn about, just after noon, the wind showed up and changed everything. Apparently, this is common in the mountains.
Grand Lake Golf Course- www.GrandLakeGolf.com. 970-627-8008
Rates are $64 in high season and $44 in low season plus cart
Home James airport shuttle: www.ridehj.com 800-359-7536 shuttles to Granby from DIA $75.00 one way
Alpine Resort Properties: www.AlpineResortProperties.com 800-551-9943 Two bedroom condo at Granby Ranch was 49 per night.
Pole Creek Golf Club
is located just outside of Winter Park CO 70 miles west of Denver. It is a magnificent 27 hole facility and today I played 18 holes (Ridge and Meadow). We played it from 6600 yards but there are 4 sets of tees so you can play any distance you are comfortable with. Remember 6600 at this elevation plays more like 6200 at sea level.
The Ridge nine is fascinating with elevation changes and undulations galore. It starts with a dogleg left, uphill par 4 and then travels up and down along the ridge from there. The par threes are wonderful and the par-five, ninth is spectacular. You can see for miles from the tee box even to many of the ski runs of Winter Park. This 532 yard hole tumbles down the hill, like a water fall and even I was able to get within 40 yards of the green in two. The contrast of the vast blue skies against the shimmering emerald fairways is surreal in its own way.
The Meadow is laid out on a more level portion of the property. Just after 1:00 the notorious afternoon winds showed up and changed everything.
Number 5 is a split fairway, I chose the right fairway, but having played it once I would play the left fairway which gives you a much clearer view of the green. Number seven is an almost horseshoe shaped hole where at first glance it appears you could go straight for the green, but even the longest of hitters can’t really reach it. It took someone with quite a vision to design this hole. So the conventional way is straight over a fairway bunker, then almost 90 degrees dogleg left over a pond and back up hill and further left to an elevated green. I would love to play this hole a couple more times, It is such an interesting and unique design.
There are some spectacular homes dotting these fairways and there are many spots that make you feel like you are looking at the best Golf coffee table book in existence.
Pole Creek Golf Club www.PoleCreekGolf.com 970-887-9195
Rates $73-$89 regular season plus cart