Evergreen Golf Course west of Denver: A rare gem of a Colorado mountain course
EVERGREEN, Colo. -- Throw your bags in your car and take a scenic 30-minute drive west of Denver to 7,100 feet above sea level. The drive will be worth it once you feast your eyes on the beauty of Evergreen Golf Course.
Wrapped around a mountain and carved through the ponderosa pines, Evergreen Golf Course offers 18 challenging holes with spectacular mountain views from every tee and a good chance at a glimpse of elk and other mountain wildlife.
While the golf course consists of only 4,877 yards (4,494 for the ladies), don't be fooled. Accuracy is the key to this par 69 course.
Average golfers will find the sloping terrain, wooded areas, and out-of-bounds offer more challenges than the yardage implies, and advanced players will be able to test their skills with hole designs that entice risk taking but demand solid execution. The tip on the course's brochure is "Boldness often leads to big numbers", and although this is very true, the temptation will still be there.
Evergreen Golf Course starts off in front of the clubhouse across the rushing water of Bear Creek for a straight and easy par 3. Then the fun begins, and you start getting a feel for what the course has to offer with the constant sloping fairways and frequent doglegs. Golfers, seasoned and rookies alike, would do well to beware the pine trees on the sides and use the slopes to your advantage, but keep an eye on the mounds at the greens. Hole no. 2 is a 464-yard challenge to go for in two with the uphill approach to a three-tiered green, which is followed by another par 3 fairly straight with a slight incline. Too much club on this green, as well as many others on the course, gets you in trouble.
Driving blind over the top of a hill, then downhill to a par 4 that slopes to the left, is your next challenge. Two more par 4's follow at 5 and 6 with variations of the blind drives and doglegs, with the continual sloping. Again, use the slopes to your advantage or you'll be out of bounds. These seem deceptively easy.
Three sand traps, OB left, and a row of pines right to a two-tired green with moderate to severe slope is offered at no. 7. Don't get above this hole or two putts will be a challenge! There is another blind drive over a hill at no. 8 par 4, but the remaining fairway is downhill and fairly straight so you should get a nice roll. Stay middle because trees are lined both left and right.
To bring you back to the clubhouse is a short downhill par 4 where many will be tempted to go for the green from the tee, but sand traps and a small lake right will catch those that fall short. Water behind the green will catch those over-achievers.
The back nine at Evergreen Golf Course
The second nine tees off right at the clubhouse, allowing a convenient trip inside for a drink or a sandwich. The 10th hole, a par 4, is deceptively straight, but slopes to the left. Play slightly right for your best shot. Another par 4 at 11 is a tight uphill blind tee shot, tall pines both left and right. Be straight or become a woodsman. Attempting to clear trees on the left is a hefty task. Once over the hill you have wide play, but stay center for the fairway.
The course's signature hole is their par 3, "The Rock Hole". (I call it the "The Bell Hole.) A rarity in golf - a "blind" par three. You'll need to loft it enough to clear a large rock with an arrow painted on top to show you the way. Follow the arrow exactly and you'll be on the green. Once you've cleared the green, ring the BELL when you've cleared the green so the foursome behind you knows it's safe to tee off.
Hole 13 doglegs hard right, but presents a grove of trees to the right. Your best bet is to lay up ahead of the trees. Going through the trees will get you in the rocky rough. Sand traps present another obstacle both right and left front.
Each time I've played this course I've been fortunate to get a close-up view of the wildlife. Here on 14 to the left, calmly grazing amidst the homes, was a handful of elk, undaunted by the gawking golfers 100 yards away. This hole is a long and straight par 5, but it is breathtaking with the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, and this time, the elk on the left.
Now that you're relaxed and feeling good about the game, the architect throws in a tough 3 par. Tall trees and rocks left and severe down slope right and back, make this a tight one. A "3" here deserves a pat on the back. Hole 16 is another blind hole over the top of a hill and then downhill and dogleg left for a par 5. Slope runs the ball to the right. Left is trees and high grass.
The next hole is another tight 3 par with woods to the left and a severe down slope to the right. Stay center or slight left and the ball will feed onto the green. The 18th is a 329-yard par 4 with the fairway sloping severely from left to right. Keep the tee shot left but not too far left or your bouncing off the trees. Hit it too far right and your ball will probably run 50 yards down the hill. Great view of the adjoining Evergreen Lake and dam from this green.
Denver Department of Mountain Parks acquired these four hundred spacious acres, and construction of the golf course (architect unknown) and the rustic-style clubhouse began in 1924 and was completed in 1925. A year later, land for the back nine was also deeded and construction completed that same year. The golf course was refurbished in the early 80's and the clubhouse converted into a restaurant.
Denver residents can still take advantage of this mountain gem at the resident rates, but if you don't live in Denver County or are just visiting Colorado, Evergreen Golf Course is still a very affordable and memorable experience.
May 22, 2001