Ballyneal Golf Club - Holyoke, CO
Located in the far east corner of Colorado, Ballyneal is more of a golf destination than an actual golf club. If you are going to build a golf club out in the middle of nowhere it had better be a good one and Ballyneal is just that. With all golfers staying on site, you will have access to all the golf and hospitality you need. There is even a large putting green and a par 3 course for those after dinner golf situations.
Tom Doak's inland links design opened in 2006 and does a fine job or reminding you of courses in Ireland and Scotland even though the nearest ocean is 1500 miles away. The course winds it's way through sandy dunes and blowout bunkers that give it a very natural feel.
In addition to the fun shots you will encounter at Ballyneal, you will also find the course does not have designated tee boxes. My caddy would just point to an area and that is where I would tee it up. I would go for a day of 27, and then play 3 more holes in the dark.
Bear Dance Golf Club - Larkspur, CO
Bear Dance Golf Club honors the ground that it is built upon by naming the course after a sacred Native American ritual. And no, It is also not a Jack Nicklaus design. It was built by a group of golf professionals lead by land owner Gene Taylor. Bear Dance measures 7,661 yards from the back tees but at an average elevation of 6,800 feet your golf ball will go much further in the lighter air.
Perhaps the most notable golf hole is the course's 6th hole. The hole plays as a drive-able par 4 with a bear paw shaped bunker guarding the front of the green. Bear Fact: The 6th hole was actually the first hole to be aced at Bear Dance. I would not make an ace but I would find one of 4 very satisfying birdies.
The course is open to the public and as a great place addition to golf in the Denver area.
Castle Pines Golf Club - Castle Rock, CO
An early design by Jack Nicklaus that opened in 1981, Castle Pines Golf Club hosted "The International" from 1986=2006. This was the PGA Tour's only event to use a modified Stableford scoring system. Unfortunately, the event no longer exists, but the golf course is certainly still there. Behind Muirfield, it is often considered one of Jack's finest designs
MILKSHAKES!!! In addition to gaining recognition for it's golf course, Castle Pines has also earned a reputation for it's outstanding milkshakes. I was originally skeptical about all the hoop-lah, I mean, how good can a milkshake be? Oh man, did I learn a lesson that day in July of 2017. I went with the chocolate banana and my life will never be the same. Take it from me, these shakes are serious business.
Cherry Hills Golf Club - Englewood, CO
Championship twice, The US Amateur twice, The US Mid Am, The US Senior Am, The US Senior Open, The US Women's Open, the BMW Championship and the US Open 3 times. That is one serious bankroll of some amazing professional golf.
While the times have changed, Cherry Hills is still able to remain a relevant and challenging place to play golf at the highest level. It is notable that at the 1960 US Open, Arnold Palmer would win $14.4 thousand and in the 2014 BMW Championship Billy Horschel would win $1.44 million. Billy's payday is roughly twice the amount that all of the other professional tournaments hosted at Cherry Hills have paid out combined.
However, Cherry Hills will forever be associated with the King of Golf, Arnold Palmer. After driving the green on the 346 yard 1st hole, he would birdie 5 of the next 6 holes, shoot a 65, and erase a 7 shot deficit en route to winning the 1960 US Open. If there is one shot that could define the career of such an amazing man, it was that driver on #1 at Cherry Hills.
During practice rounds at the 2014 BMW, players were given the challenge to drive the 1st hole with a persimmon wood and balata golf ball, just like Arnold Palmer did in 1960. None of the players were able to accomplish Arnold's feat. Long live the King!!
Colorado Golf Club - Parker, CO
Designed by the the duo of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Colorado Golf Club opened in 2007 to critical acclaim. Despite it's relative young age, the course has already hosted a Senior PGA Championship and a Solheim Cup. In 2017 it would host Karin Hart and myself.
Along with our power caddie, Sadie, Karin and I lit the course up with a steady barrage of bogies and pars. We succeeded not necessarily with score but with style and presence. Karin did most of the work, but I documented the efforts made. We finished up on 18 as the sun would set on a great day of Colorado golf.
Redlands Mesa - Grand Junction, CO
The Broadmoor Golf Club - Colorado Springs, CO
Both the Broadmoor and it's 3 golf courses are rich in history. The East Course has hosted the US Senior Open, The US Amateur, and the US Women's Open Championships. The hotel has hosted various heads of state, famous athletes, and celebrities. After you are done exploring the golf course, it's worth some time to explore the hotel, or vice versa.
Set at the base of the Cheyenne Mountain, Donald Ross originally designed the East course in 1918. In 1965, Robert Trent Jones Sr would add the West course with changes to the original design of the East Course. The Mountain Course was added in 2006 and designed by Jack Nicklaus.
I would only have time for the East Course and a walk around the hotel, both are top notch walks. The course is a favorite with families that return year after year for fun at the hotel with some championship golf on site.