An Old Friend: Meadow Hills in Aurora
Colo. - I've been stuck for 6 sand trap shots at Grayhawk's Talon. Been treated like a king (and paid a king's ransom to play at Troon North. Oohed and ahhed from Kapalua's hills. And cried "uncle" at Bear Creek from the tips in the afternoon pre-storm wind.
But give me a choice for plain ol' Meadow Hills off Parker Rd. and Hampden in Aurora and I'll say, "are you golfer enough?"
With its convenient location, you don't have to pack a lunch for your drive there, and coming home you do have a small chance of not irritating your better half by arriving more than an hour after your victory beer at the clubhouse, because of the distance home.
Getting a tee time is never easy at good public or daily fee private courses, and Meadow Hills is no exception. Yet the City of Aurora Golf Reservation and Information system (303-397-1818) is a shining example of how to reduce the pain and keep things fair for everyone who aspires to an 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning time for a foursome.
The computerized menu is clear and easy to follow, and leaves you with the feeling that this is a very professional and fair method to assign tee times. Enough time is left between groups to avoid the 5-1/2 hour round, and I've finished many a round, even on a Sunday, in less than four hours. The average, though, is about 4:20 a round.
Speaking of pace, Meadow Hills was a pioneer in the mid 80's of requiring golfers to have their scorecard stamped at tee-off, and checked at the turn, to weed out the groups who, for whatever reason, ruin the golf experience for golf lovers by taking too long to play.
Although Meadow Hills no longer employs this practice, the "culture" at this course is to "miss 'em quick" so as to provide a reasonable pace of play for everyone. More on this subject in my next article.
True to its origin as a private club in the 70's, the Dick Phelps par 70 design has a country club "feel" from the well-merchandised pro shop, to the grass tee-box driving range, and the friendly, professional staff. And, with water coming into play on eight holes, very mature trees lining each fairway, and strategically placed bunkers guarding undulating greens, you'll need some "members bounces" to keep it in play!
Although it's a par 70, the course plays far from short. Three of the five par threes play over 200 yards from the blues, and the distance alone is not the problem.
A straight shot is demanded to keep the ball out of the trees, water, sand, or healthy rough that surround these long three-shotters. The par two par fives seem quite reachable in two, but the trees/sand/out-of-bounds margin-for-error get the better of most errant fairway wood shots intended to make eagle.
Greens roll true from hole-to-hole, fairways are weed-free, and the course has a "cared-for" look. Thank Mickey Byrne and his able successors since he moved to Saddle Rock for keeping the "greenskeeping" excellent. The comment I hear over and over is, "wow, this course is in great shape."
Grabbing a cup of coffee at many public facilities can turn the simplest request into a odyssey from hell, but the concessionaire has provided highly adequate food and beverage service for all of the 15-plus years I have played there.
Sometimes it's better to execute a moderate program well than to not deliver on the promise of great food and drink... does anyone dispute that the Meadow Hills breakfast burrito is the best of any golf facility, anywhere? I think not!
Prices are reasonable, and downright cheap for Aurora residents.
With a respectable slope rating, more trees guarding fairways than any metro area course other than Green Gables, reasonable prices, and great condition, Meadow Hills is always high on the list of courses to play in metro Denver.
Meadow Hills Golf Course
3609 S. Dawson
Aurora, CO 80014
November 30, -0001