Denver’s Great American Beer Festival
If you love to drink craft-brewed beers and play prestigious public golf courses, you may want to consider traveling to Colorado this weekend, as Denver is currently hosting a tradition unlike any other – the 32nd annual Great American Beer Festival, featuring the world’s largest collection of beers distilled entirely in the United States.
After sampling some of the festival’s suds, you can continue to explore Colorado while visiting one (or more) of the following public courses.
Green Valley Ranch Golf Club (Denver, Colo.) –
A semi-private golf club that is also opened to the public, Green Valley Ranch offers guests four sets of tees to choose from, measuring between 5,443 and 7,042 yards. Although the course is not excessively long, it has previously been ranked as Colorado’s most difficult course by Colorado Avid Golfer Magazine. In addition, it has received a four-star rating from Golf Digest as a “Best Places to Play” course. The host of two renowned state tournaments, the Colorado Open and the Colorado Women’s Open, Green Valley Ranch is also well-regarded for its nine-hole par-three course, as well as its practice facility, which features a driving range and putting and chipping greens.
Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club (Aurora, Colo.) –
Featuring six sets of tee boxes, ranging in length from 5,045 to 7,105 yards, Heritage Eagle Bend was designed with all golfers in mind, whether or not they play the game regularly. Despite its playability, the 18-hole links-style course certainly offers guests its fair share of challenges too, including numerous lakes, considerable elevation changes and over 60 greenside and fairway bunkers. Designed by world-renowned architect Arthur Hills, the course’s main attraction may very well be its natural surroundings, as guests have spectacular views of the magnificent Rocky Mountains.
Pole Creek Golf Club (Winter Park, Colo.) –
Nestled near Rocky Mountain National Park, Pole Creek features three nine-hole courses – The Ranch, The Meadow and The Ridge, each of which was designed by Denis Griffiths. The Ridge course is considered the most challenging of the three, as it provides narrow fairways, along with a variety of elevation changes, whereas The Meadow and The Ranch courses offer golfers more margin for error. Course management is often a necessary skill though, as water hazards (five lakes and two ponds) are, at times, present throughout the property. As is the case with most other Colorado courses, guests will also be enamored by Pole Creek’s surrounding valleys and mountain ridges.
Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks (Silverthorne, Colo.) –
Arguably one of the most pristine mountain courses in the United States, the Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks was designed by one of the golf industry’s most successful duos, Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, along with former world number one golfer Tom Lehman. From the back tees, the course is quite challenging, measuring 7,413 yards with a slope of 146 and a 74.2 course rating. Yet, the Raven also provides a much less challenging layout for beginning golfers too, measuring only 5,235 yards. Of course, no matter how much experience guests have, the most enjoyable aspects of their rounds will likely be their views of the Rocky Mountains, as well as nearby creeks and lakes.
The Ridge at Castle Pines North (Castle Pines, Colo.) –
Designed by 1973 British Open champion Tom Weiskopf, The Ridge at Castle Pines North has provided memorable experiences to golfers of all skill levels since opening in 1997. Featuring four sets of tees, ranging in length from 5,000 to over 7,000 yards, the course is not overly demanding, as its greens and fairways are quite large. But it is certainly not a pushover either, since golfers must focus on the course’s numerous fairway and greenside bunkers, as well as the greens’ undulations, prior to hitting their drives and approach shots.
Photo of Great American Beer Festival pint glass courtesy of BackUpPint.com.