The WYLD1 crew took to the Colorado mountains this year for the annual Alpine Battle. This annual weekend event took place on three courses in two towns over three days.
Pole Creek is located high (8,600 feet) in Grand County just outside of Winter Park. It has three par 36 nine hole courses: Ridge, Meadow and Ranch. The courses routing takes you on an adventure through mountain hills and meadows with stunning alpine views of the continental divide.
Denis Griffiths designed the courses with the Meadow and Ranch first opening in 1983. Each nine hole track has a distinct personality providing fun and variety depending your chosen route. It has received several accolades including "Best Mountain Golf Course" by Colorado Avid Golfer.
The courses are well maintained with defenses that include elevation changes with uneven lies; quick and undulated bent grass green complexes; strategic placed bunkers; and several holes with water hazards and blind shots. The fairways are largely generous allowing you to rip it off the tie with several risk/reward opportunities. The greens are also largely ample but placement is imperative to score well due to the greens speed and undulation.
The tee setup, wide fairways and large greens ensure the course is playable and enjoyed by players of differing abilities. You will be challenged but if you're able to control your approaches and putt well you should have a strong score.
Overall we really enjoyed the mountain golf experience at Pole Creek.
GO BIG HOLES
Ridge: 1, 5, 7, 8, 9
Meadow: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8
ON THE LINKS
Located in Steamboat Springs, Rollingstone Ranch was designed by Robert Trent Jones II and opened in 1974. The course is situated on a beautiful 150 acre mountain side parcel that includes a winding creek, lake, and great Yampa Valley views. It is a Troon maintained Golf course associated with the nearby Sheraton at the base of the ski mountain.
Rollingstone is great track for those who love mountain golf. Unlike many mountain course it has ample fairways on many holes to give you peace of mind in taking advantage of the thin high altitude air to hit bombs. To score well placement is needed for advantageous approach lines to quick green complexes that are also well defended by bunkers.
The front nine played easier for most of the group with huge fairway landing areas on many of the holes and clearer approach views on greens. The back nine was favored by the group due to the scenic landscape and routing around Fish Creek. However, the back was more challenging with tighter landing areas; creek obstacles and blind shots. Hole 10 is a par 5 that will quickly challenge you on shot decision making. Unless you are on your A game layups are recommended on these harder to navigate holes and still provide you with a easy approach with a birdie opportunity. Hole 13 an 18 are par 5s where you can open it up to go for a low score.
Rollingstone is a highly enjoyable mountain course with incredible scenery and challenging layout. It has many memorable holes that always lead to great post golf discussions, especially if there are some wagers on the line.
GO BIG HOLES
BEHIND THE ROPES
Haymaker is also located in Steamboat Springs a few minutes from the mountain and town. The course is public and owned by the city of Steamboat Springs. Haymaker is unique because it is link style inspired track located in the mountains Yampa Valley ranch land with stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges.
Keith Foster designed Haymaker on 233 acres with tip setup 7,300+. There is no residential development on or near the property bringing the "hay" quickly into play on errant shots. The course has a strong variety of hole layouts with well manicured fairways and greens.
Its defenses are largely in-line with a links course including long and think native grass; length; wind; and bunkering. There is also water and marsh hazards that come into play on several holes. The fairways and greens are generous providing ongoing scoring opportunities that always make a fun dynamic to group competition.
The front nine played easier for the group and hole 8 and 9 provide some firework opps with a drivable par 4 and reachable par 5. Make sure to give the group in front fair warning with the tee side Chuckwagon triangle dinner bell if you go for it and connect. Also worth calling out is Hole 4, #1 handicap. It is a challenging hole that requires long and accurate tee shot down left side of fairway to achieve advantageous angle to hold ball on green that slopes away.
The back nine stays away from the links feel and brings more water into play. That being said its creativity was preferred by the group despite its increasing difficulty. Hole 10 is a quintessential great hole design with a water hazard on right side of tight fairway that give the player ability to cut off distance and ease approach by increasing risk of right side tee water carry. Hole 13 and 18 are reachable par 5s with big drives brining eagle into play.
Low scores are achievable if you fire up your driver on the risk/reward holes; maintain a smooth cup dropping putter; and stay out of the penalizing hay.
Overall Haymaker is a recommended play if you are in the Steamboat area and looking to hit the links. It is scenic, challenging, fair and highly enjoyable with great risk/reward holes.
GO BIG HOLES
BEHIND THE ROPES