St. Andrews at Westcliffe Golf Course: Real down home golfing in Colorado
WESTCLIFFE, Colo. -- There you are. You've played all the resorts, country clubs, high-end publics. You've been there; you've done that. Yet you're yearning for someplace different and hidden where the rest of humanity has still to set foot on.
St. Andrews at Westcliffe Golf Course is just that place.
And if you choose to go to Westcliffe, located next to the splendid Sangre de Cristo Mountains about 60 miles west of Colorado Springs, plan on staying for at least a weekend. In Westcliffe, the cows and realtors outnumber the people. The air is clean. The hiking is breathtaking. There is a little movie theatre that shows cheap movies. And for all intent and purposes, Westcliffe is so small, you almost expect Barney Fife to come out and say "hello."
St. Andrews at Westcliffe Golf Course is one the few "mom and pop" run courses left in the state. Stop by St. Andrews if you want relaxing, easy golf where you can play at your own pace, never be hurried, and never, ever see some unemployed postal worker imitating a marshal who wants to do nothing more than sap the life out of fun.
St. Andrews at Westcliffe Golf Course is not about championship golf and doesn't have any other frills that will leave your pocketbook dry. The course is a low budget, cow pasture where the terrain causes unpredictable bounces against the sun-drenched, yellow grass. Up against that grass are the colorful mountains that are often snowcapped with views of a grassy range that make you thankful to be out west.
I've played few golf courses in Colorado that I've enjoyed more. St. Andrews is a quaint little course in a slow, rustic town. There's no resort pomp here. Farmers come dressed in their bibs and overalls, armed with ancient clubs that go back many a presidential administration and just hack away. Bring some beverages and do your best to play early in the morning or late evenings where the sunsets against the mountains will do nothing but invigorate you. Take your time here. They don't mind.
In many ways, St. Andrews is a bizarre little course. Course architect? Not here. Some rich guy years ago made the course just so he and his drinking buddies could play at their leisure. While he was designing St. Andrews, he was probably drinking a cold one. The craziest thing about this course are the postage-stamp size greens that are very difficult to hit while keeping the ball on the green.
Many of the greens not only are small but are also elevated so that if you roll the ball too far, you will be back doing another chip shot. Suggestion: unless you're good, drop the ball short of these greens and grab your pitching wedge.
If you live in Denver, St. Andrews at Westcliffe Golf Course is only a two-and-a-half-hour drive. From Colorado Springs, it's a little more than an hour. Westcliffe is one of the few towns left in Colorado that still has preserved its Western character without being overrun by the fancy, hoity toity, beemer-driving bubbleheads who run rampant in posh, resort towns. Westcliffe is a real place with real people to meet. But watch where you step because the cows are not too discrete.
So stop by St. Andrews for some golf, relaxation and fun. The owners wouldn't have it any other way.
July 15, 2003