Sanctuary Golf Course: Colorado’s Most Elusive Round Of Golf
Guest post courtesy of Dave Galbato and Craig Lemley, coloradogolfblog.com
Tucked inside the unassuming community of Sedalia, Colorado, lies a golfer’s dream come true — the aptly named Sanctuary Golf Course.
This is not a country club, private or municipal course; there are no houses on the property, or “regulars” filling up the tee sheet. As a matter of fact, the location and layout of the track protects it from prying eyes and passersby, and the only outside vantage points are few and far between and no less than a mile away. One could say it’s a shame this little slice of golf heaven is so removed from the world, but exclusivity is part of Sanctuary’s lure.
From 1 to 18, each hole is designed around the natural terrain of the foothills, setting up not only a plethora of memorable golf shots but also payoff views from anywhere on the course. The seamless integration of Sanctuary’s design and Mother Nature means not a single thing is left out-of-place — the cutlines on the fairways and greens are so perfect they border on unrealistic; white sand bunkers raked just so and a series of fantastical waterfalls dotted throughout the natural mountain landscape set this course apart from any other in the state.
The most striking characteristic of the Sanctuary Golf Course, though, is that there are few, if any other golfers in sight. Really, the most foot traffic comes from the elk and other local wildlife disregarding the “no cart” signs.
The Sanctuary Golf Course doesn’t take tee times online, by phone or in person. It offers no membership packages or stay-and-play deals, either. Actually, the only way to play this course comes via a small window of invites each year, or a very select list of charity events.
Legend has it that Sanctuary—and its reputation as one of the most exclusive courses in the country—was born from a dispute between owner Dave Liniger and the neighboring Ridge at Castle Pines over treatment of him and his guests during charity events. As the story goes, the relationship came to a head, prompting Liniger to build his own, even more exclusive course right next door—Sanctuary looks down upon The Ridge at Castle Pines at several points throughout the layout—to host his own charity events. True or not, the exclusivity of the track is apparent before you make it to the first tee box, making the story all the more believable.
Time stands still on the pristine practice facilities (which are fully stocked as if an army of daily golfers is set to arrive at any time, though they never come) and attention-grabbing features like an underground grotto and commanding clubhouse seem all the more impressive with no one else in sight. It’s like walking through a dreamscape; you’re unsure of what’s real and what’s not, waiting for the moment you wake up to reality.
As for the course itself, “overwhelming” is an understatement. Dramatic ascents and descents are a signature of Sanctuary’s layout, and the challenges of this track are on full display from the elevated tee box at the 604-yard par-5 no.1, the hardest handicapped hole. Plenty of trouble abounds as you make your way to the massive, undulating, felt-like greens, though scoring opportunities are there for long hitters and target golfers alike. Tree-lined fairways and strategically placed bunkers, water and green-side features present most of the trouble, and can be found on nearly every hole, but it’s much more difficult to get over the thrill of playing Colorado’s most exclusive course and the jaw-dropping scenery it provides.
The 438-yard par 4 at no. 18 is the second-hardest hole on the card and a perfect finale. Another tree-lined fairway juts seemingly straight uphill—club up, twice—leading to a fairytale green hosting the property’s tallest water feature on its backside. Take an extra moment to enjoy the truly picture-perfect ending, alone in this personal paradise tucked away from the real world.
Every golfer dreams of experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime round. For those graced with the chance to play at Sanctuary Golf Course, dreams really do come true.