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If you golf, golfing while you’re in Colorado is a no-brainer, but where you can find the most scenic courses? Not surprisingly, the Rocky Mountain State is filled with them, but these nine are the absolute best.
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Located in Edwards, a community in the Vail Valley, Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club boasts two courses, the Norman and the Fazio, each presenting a considerable challenge for golfers, along with astounding tee-box views of the Sawatch Mountains in the distance. Both are top-100-caliber experiences, though some golfers argue that the 6,846-yard Fazio Course is a bit more fun, playable and scenic than Norman’s, located on the same site high above the I-70 corridor. Red Sky offers a private-club atmosphere for public golfers, rotating public access between the Fazio Course and the Norman Course daily. When the members are playing one course, eligible golfers who are staying at the high-end resort owned by Vail Resorts enjoy the other.
The River Course is the newer of the two courses at Keystone, having opened back in 2000. Keystone’s long-time Director of Golf Courses Steve Corneillier, says their vision was to create playable and enjoyable golf course that might not be matched by any other mountain golf course, anywhere. “Our goal was to make this golf course appear as if it was air-lifted in,” he told GolfNow. “We didn’t want the golfer to see any disturbance to the landscape. There’s a breathtaking view from every hole.” Golfers especially like its tree-lined holes and playing alongside the Snake River.
The Bridges Golf & Country Club is situated in Montrose along the scenic Western Slope with the San Juan Mountains as the backdrop. The rolling terrain provides multiple opportunities to take in awe-inspiring views. Water comes into play on 14 holes, and there are more than 100 sand bunkers strategically placed throughout. One of the most scenic holes in southwest Colorado can be found at hole 18, with a dark sapphire lake on one side, and bunkers at the right.
Battlement Mesa is one of the finest championship golf courses in the Western U.S., ranked as one of the “Best Courses in America You Can Play” by Golf Digest. The routing takes full advantage of its unique setting: a high plains plateau overlooking the Colorado River. It’s hard to tear your eyes off the thousands of folding lines that crease the red-rock faces of the buttes, which means the real challenge is likely to be keeping your eye on the ball, rather than the stunning views all around it.
At over 8,000 feet, Rio Grande Golf Club in South Fork boasts mountain views on every hole, and a river winds through it. Ranked the “6th Best New Golf Course to Open in 2003” by Golf Digest, this exceptional 18-hole championship golf course has elevations that range from 8,130 to 8,590 feet, with six of the holes meandering around the Rio Grande, and the river coming into play laterally, as well as crossing. The mountain holes were actually carved into the rock and trees for particularly dramatic views, and an astonishing finishing hole with an elevation drop of several hundred feet.
The small mountain community of Tabernash is located in northwest Colorado, sandwiched between Granby and Winter Park, just a little over a half-hour’s drive from Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s home to arguably one of the best, if not the best, 27 holes in the state you can play. It was named by Golf Digest the 1985 Best New Public Course in America and its also been called the No. 1 “Place to Play” in Colorado. You’ll enjoy jaw-dropping views from every hole, include an especially unforgettable grand finale vista from the top of the Ridge nine. After a round or two, sip a cold brew or a cocktail on the outdoor patio to celebrate your game, and the scenery.
The Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks has a spectacular championship layout that complements the breathtaking views in Silverthorne, which is surrounded by the Ptarmigan and Eagles Nest Wilderness areas. It offers ample elevation changes from tee to green as it winds its way through aspen groves and alongside trout-filled ponds. Sitting at an elevation of over 9,000 feet, the course offers beautiful views of Buffalo Mountain and the “Three Peaks” for which it was named. The course has received a number of accolades from various publications, including Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, and it is considered by locals to be one of the best golf courses in the state.
Situated in the heart of Spanish Peaks Country in the shadow of the dramatic twin peaks and the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Walsenburg offers many reasons to visit, including small town charms, history, natural wonders, artistic inspiration and golf. It’s home to a nine-hole course that can be played as many times as you’d like at a very low price while enjoy stunning views of the Spanish Peaks. The course is part of Lathrop State Park, which also offers a wide array of other outdoor activities, including camping, biking, hiking, horseback riding, birding, boating, fishing, kayaking, swimming, water skiing, wildlife viewing and more.
The Glacier Club is located in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains in Durango, with steep, rugged rock walls framing the scenery, and most tee shots downhill. It’s home to what’s considered two of the most scenic golf courses in the Colorado Rockies: The Valley Course and The Mountain Course. Surrounded by vistas that were carved by ancient glaciers, and peaks rising to 14,000 feet, the two 18-hole courses sit at 7,400 feet and are sure to challenge your skills while the scenery will make you want to return again and again. In addition to golf, the area offers a host of other recreational activities, including world-class fly fishing, mountain biking, hiking and whitewater rafting. Plus, while you’re here, you can take one of America’s top rail tours on a stream train that rolls from Durango to the tiny town of Silverton, 50 miles north.