The trip over Berthoud Pass is filled with twists and turns, waterfalls along the side of the road and views of mountains with small patches of snow still clinging to the peaks. Headed to Pole Creek Golf Club in Tabernash, Colorado with several friends, it’s a typical mountain afternoon – sun shining with dark clouds threatening on the horizon.
The drive between Denver and Tabernash, a few miles outside of Winter Park, Colorado is about 1 ½ hours. Our tee time is at 12:20 and we had lunch on the patio overlooking the course before heading out. Starting on the Ridge course, the second 9 was scheduled for the Meadow course.
Motoring to the first tee, the rain threatened. Teeing off down the short par 4, the rain started and the jackets went on. The hole starts level, and then bends up the mountain to an elevated green. The horn sounded and we gathered up the balls and headed into the clubhouse. Afternoon storms with lightening are not uncommon in the mountains. Thankfully, the storm passed quickly and jumping into our carts, we headed quickly to the 2nd hole. There’s a good-sized fairway bunker to the left about 190 out from the forward tees and we all managed to get around it without incident. Number 3 is a similar straight hole with fairway bunkers left and right down the 268 yards. Hole #4 is the first par 3 on this course, with a pond to the right in play for the forward tees, and water on the left as well for the back tees. It’s a short hole for the forward red tees at 83 – 161 from the whites.
Number 5 is fun. From the red tees, the green is hidden behind the brush growing around the creek. A left tee shot about 150 yards carries the creek and the scrub with a straight open shot to the green. A straight layup shot to the creek is about 140 yards, with a blind shot of about 150 to the green. From the white tees, the straight shot is about 210 yards. The hole is only 287 yards from the forward tees.
The 6th hole is the other par 3 on this course. It’s 121 from the forward tees, with water on the right and a pond on the left side of the green. An accurate shot is a must here.
Number 7 is a severe dogleg left. From the forward tees, the bunker is about 50 yards in front, but the shot is downhill to the left. There’s no telling where it lands. From there, the second shot is either to the landing area at the edge of a large pond, or an additional 50 yards uphill to the elevated green. This hole is a fun challenge.
Holes 8 and 9 are 290 and 264 each and are both par 4. They are long and straight, lined on the left with a lateral hazard. The green on number 8 has a huge ridge running across it. If the pin is in the back, over-shooting the pin on the approach is the best play. Putting up that hill is quite a challenge.
This course is fun to play for the high handicapper. It’s not hard, and players get lots of practice hitting from uphill and downhill lies in the fairways. Because this isn’t a very long course, just 3394 from the back tees, the long hitter may be waiting to tee off more often. For the low handicapper, there’s enough intellectual challenge here to make it fun.
The clubhouse staff is very helpful, and they were keeping a close eye on the weather. The lunch was delicious and the restaurant staff was gracious when the clubhouse filled up during the brief weather delay. If a trip to the Rocky Mountains is on the agenda, stop by and enjoy a round.
Pole Creek Golf Club, P.O. Box 3348, Winter Park, Colorado. Phone: 970.887.9195, 800.511.5076.
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