Challenge Yourself at Colorado's Coal Creek Golf Course

LOUISVILLE, Colo. - Like many of the newer courses springing up in the Front Range, Coal Creek Golf Course in Louisville, Colo., winds its way through a tightly spaced golf course community. Coal Creek is the course you see on your right as you drive from Denver to Boulder. The course is well maintained and provides an exemplary challenge for most golfers.

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The first hole is my favorite kind of driving hole. It starts out going uphill but if you put it out there a good ways you can catch the backside of the hill and get a killer roll. This will put you between 115-135 yards out. Hole two is another par-four where you can get really close for your second shot.

However, there is water in the form of two lakes, one to drive over and one just out of sight, which runs the length of the entire right-hand side. To make things a little more interesting, the fairway leans down towards the second lake and can easily snag anything from the center to the right of the fairway. You have the option of hitting a mid-iron off of the tee to about 150 yards out if you want to be safe.

The course then runs through a few nice and straightforward holes until you reach the par-four sixth. The tee box lines up fairly straight with the visible green a little over four hundred yards away. But, there is a fairly narrow flight-path to maneuver off the tee and water to the left and straight ahead.

A narrow stream crosses the fairway and is within driving distance for average to big-hitters. Again, you can hit a mid to long iron to get about 125-150 yards out. Make sure not to go left on your approach because of the stream and remember that the green slopes from back to front.

The eighth is a relatively easy par five to reach in three but extremely difficult to even make a decent attempt at in two. If you are new to the course, I would suggest laying up to about 100 yards out on your second shot. From the center towards the right of the fairway gives you the best angle of approach to the green.

Be sure to watch the water on the right for your third. If you want to be a hero, prove me wrong, and go for the green in two. Make sure to stay to the left of the fairway on your drive. This will leave you ample distance from the tall trees that line the right of the hole which may block any attempt at the green.

Then you'd better hit a hell of a shot. And if you're like me and tend to get hungry after nine holes, Coal Creek has provided a phone at the tee box of the ninth to call ahead and order food and drinks to avoid backups at the turn.

The first four holes on the back offer a relatively challenging par-five, a short par-three and two straight par-fours. The real fun on the back begins when you pass by the clubhouse again and start the last five holes. The 14th is a 525-yard par five and offers a deceivingly difficult tee shot. Go too far right and you may find yourself in the fairway, blocked by trees and forced to hit a short iron leaving yourself a long third. Too far left off the tee will put you in the tall grass or out-of-bounds.

The fifteenth provides a 360-yard par-four which is nothing but uphill. Generally you can't even see the green on your approach which is rare for Front Range golf. The uphill climb pays off by leaving you up there for the sixteenth, maybe the most enjoyable driving hole in the area.

At 360 yards and with about as big a change in elevation you'll find at a Front Range golf course, the sixteenth provides a nearly reachable green for big hitters and a fun driving hole for the rest of us. It is, however, possible to reach Highway 36, which runs parallel to the hole, in one also.

The 17th is a fun 150-yard par-three with a green that slopes towards the tee. But it is not an easy ride in from there. The 18th also has a stream running across it that can swallow a tee shot and trees that jut on the right. If you end up too close to the trees you may be forced to hit almost parallel to your lie to get around them. I have seen a few good rounds spoiled on the 18th.

The clubhouse is nice with a good view of the course and there is usually some golf on television as you order a snack and some drinks. Coal Creek offers a late evening special of four holes for five dollars after 7:30, which I wish more courses did. They charge seven dollars for a large bucket of range balls and the bucket is not that large.

The course is located at 585 West Dillon Road in Louisville and you can contact the pro-shop at 303-666-7888. They have a really good practice green and chipping area complete with a practice sandtrap which is key.

Overall, Coal Creek is a fun place to play and will challenge golfers of all abilities.

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