You can’t find a bad golf course in Summit County. The courses in Breckenridge, Copper and Keystone are located about an hour and a half from Denver. With dramatic elevation changes and spectacular views, any golfer will find playing one of these courses a memorable experience.
High-country Golfing Tips
First, with courses situated in the 9,000-foot elevation range, the ball does fly further than at sea level. Second, ask in the pro-shop, which way the greens slope. It’s often away from some feature in the mountain topography even if your eyes don’t believe it. Also remember that temperatures can be 20 degrees less than Denver, so ask about weather when you book. Bring a camera.
Raven Golf Course at Three Peaks (2929 Golden Eagle Rd off Hwy 9, (970) 262-3636). Designed by Tom Lehman and
Hurdzan/Fry, this is one of the top courses in Colorado. Playing 7,413 yards from the tips and 5,235 yards from the front tees there is something for everyone, including great “hero” holes with huge elevation drops; especially on the front nine and generous landing areas. Holes 1 and 9 epitomize mountain golf with long downhill par 4’s. Number 8 is a downhill par 3 with a small, well-guarded green and prevailing winds to make it interesting. With lots of bunkers, sloping terrain, false front greens and water, a course book really helps.
Breckenridge Golf Club (200 Clubhouse Drive; (970) 453-9104) This course, located on the southern side of Breckenridge is quintessential Jack Nicklaus. With 27 holes and a clubhouse elevation of 9,324 feet it’s Jack at his best (or most devious).
Bear/Beaver plays 7261 yards and accuracy is key. Expect fairway bunkers near landing areas, woods, hills, meadows, beaver ponds and
wetlands. Sightings of elk, deer, beaver and even moose are possible. Go for broke on the short Elk number six at your peril. Watch your club selection on the par 3 Elk number 7 which drops 75 feet. Bear 7, 8, and 9 could be some of the most challenging holes in the county. The Beaver 9 is narrow with ponds on 6,8, and 9 and 9 is a nasty par 3 with swirling winds. Enjoy the views more than worrying about your handicap.
Keystone Resort (155 River Course Drive, Keystone; (970) 496-4444) has two courses, the River and the Ranch. The philosophy in developing the courses was that they should be challenging, rewarding and at the end of the day enjoyable rather than “beating up” the guest. Keystone is at 9,300 feet and there are great views from every hole. If you can, finish with dinner at the Ranch Restaurant (reservations a must; (800) 354-4386).
The River Course at Keystone has five sets of tees, is a par 71 playing 6,886 yards from the tips and was designed by Fry and Hurdzan. Women love this course for its playability. Landing areas are large and the mounded fairways provide adequate challenge. The first hole with its elevated green starts you off with a long drive and 16 has a drop of almost 200 feet. The 18th hole is also elevated setting you up for a great finish, if you can catch your breath from the views.
The Ranch Course at Keystone (1239 Keystone Ranch Rd, Keystone, (800) 464-3494), Designed by Robert Trent Jones, this Par 72 course is 7,090 yards from the tips and 5,582 from the forward tees. The design is Scottish links on the front and mountain/meadow on the back. It’s definitely a risk- reward course. You can probably go for it on the number 1 par 5, but the number 7 par 3 is well protected and dangerous. The green is so small on number 9 don’t even think about it. Number 13 is tiered and well protected, suggesting an iron rather
than a wood approach. Don’t try 18 with a wood either. A nine-acre lake is in play on seven of the holes. Holes 4, 10 and 18 have the best views.
CopperCreek Golf Course at Copper Mountain is another choice. Some of the holes weave around townhomes at the base of the ski mountain, while other holes climb up and down the ski slopes. On hole 7 par 3 check the wind before picking up a club. Avoid the creek on one side and a bunker on the other as you hit to a two-tiered green. The 415-yard finishing hole can be an ego-booster because your ball flies downward toward the green.
Equipment Rentals & Overnight Packages
Rentals are available. And, if you have more than a day, Keystone Resort has “play and stay” packages for golfers who want to play on the two courses. Copper has “play and stay” packages which include tee times on its course.