The Divide at King's Deer: Monument's addition to Denver metro golf
MONUMENT, Colo. -- About two years ago, way down south where the native grass grows wild and free, a golf course opened. The Divide at King's Deer pulled in some great reviews; the timing was even better. That was then -- this is now.
How has The Divide held up from 1999 to now, when so many other golf course choices are available throughout metro Denver/Colorado Springs? After my recent visit, I can only say that The Divide continues to offer a challenging course well worth the venture south and then east of Interstate 25. Tee times are still spaced 10-minutes apart, a hard find in metro area.
Pristine meadows and majestic views surround the entire course. With 230 acres of open space, miles of community trails and a golf course skillfully etched through the meadows, the architects of Redstone Golf knew what they were doing. The Divide is not like the others, and that's a good thing.
"Golfers enjoy the challenges that this course offers," says golf pro Chad Kendall. "In the area around Monument, the Glen Eagle course is typically a more tree-lined course, and we are not that at all. The only tree you'll see is off in the distance. This is a completely different style of golf that people really enjoy and I totally love. The open spaces, abundance of native grass and the mountain vistas make The Divide a challenge, but a beauty to play." Kendall, a Colorado Springs native and University of Hawaii graduate, was delighted to return to his native state, even turning down an offer to stay and enjoy Hawaii's perfect golf climate.
At Monument's high elevation, grass isn't the only concern. The weather deals a huge hand at The Divide at King's Deer, but even with the high elevation and cooler temperatures, the course is in excellent shape. "Our superintendent Dave Cahalane does a super job. We had snow this year on June 13, but our play resumed quickly under Dave's meticulous course management."
The split-level facility houses a clubhouse, restaurant/bar and pro shop, and all are state-of-the-art. The employees are friendly, providing service very similar to country club style attention. The full-service golf shop can keep the shopper shopping with loads of selections of clubs and styles of clothing. The pro shop offers a complimentary printed, picture-less, "cheat sheet," aka guide, to help familiarize first-timers to The Divide.
The driving range is situated just below the clubhouse, easily accessible and putting greens are close by. The view from here will give you a good idea of what's ahead of you, and at first, the holes look fairly straightforward, a part of the golf higher plan, I suppose. This will lull you into complacency, with the feeling of being 10-feet tall and a birdie golfer. Hey, maybe you are--but here, your game will be challenged.
A short uphill climb from the driving range takes you to the first green. A quick glance around is all that is needed to see the great shape of the Bent grass greens and Rye grass fairways and tees. And native grass can be seen far into the horizon, along with the mountain peaks in the distance. Allergy suffers may have a problem here in the summer as the native grass in mixed with loads of heavily scented wildflowers.
"The grass will either make your game more interesting," said John Spencer of Denver, "or it'll kill it." The forced carries over these native grass areas appear longer than they are, but stick to the books and the numbers on the fairways and you can't go wrong. The bonus is that all but three holes offer a clear view of the flag, even if it does look far away.
All the staff at the golf shop warns that, "No. 3, a par 4, is one of our hardest holes." When you edge up to that tee box, you can see that accuracy is a must here. This hole is a good example of the several par-4's with long carries over very tall native grass. Any errant shots into this grass are difficult to find and an almost guaranteed lost stroke. (Not to mention that summer time brings the rattlers to the tall grass, so be cautious.)
Hole 6 is exemplary of the type of par 3's seen here. A straight drive, but over that, by now, very irritating native grass, seems relatively uncomplicated, but once you carry over the native grass surrounding the fairways and in all directions, the green is two-tiered with half of it hidden to the right. Paying attention to flag placement is especially important on this course. The greens are wide, rolling, slow, but consistent.
Take note -- the player's card lists Hole 9 as a par 4, when it is in fact a 306-yard par 3 with an ominous bunker back left. Playing short is better than long or in the bunker.
"An average golfer can golf well here," Kendall explains, "but they have to play good and consistent golf here to score well. One mistake on any hole can penalize the golfer, by not just one stroke. That's why I've always enjoyed playing here."
Kendall names No. 10 as his favorite hole. "Of all the courses I've played, this hole is the greatest designed one I've ever played. It offers pure challenge from tee to greens. Although this is not the official signature hole, if we had one, that would be it."
A long par 5, 576-yards, it is indeed a challenge from start to finish. Favor the left side of the fairway off the tee. A lay up shot 130-yards short of the lake by adding 50+ yards of roll to your second shot is your best bet. To reach in two, add 50 yards to the tee shot and aim over the left bunker. Even with that great advice, keep your head all the way to the wide and deep green, avoiding the trouble caused by bunkers and water.
The finishing hole continues the par 4 challenges. At 370 yards, this straight uphill drive has to overcome a native grass carry and then the bunkers along the fairway. Take two extra clubs for the approach. Keep your head down and your wits about you, or you'll struggle all the way to Hole 19.
Ah, Hole 19. With the abundance of native grass and the elevation, you will be thirsty when you finish your game. Drop your clubs off at your car, and enter the beautiful restaurant. The restaurant offers up mountain decor, a cozy stoned fireplace, and tables and chairs both inside and out, with a full view of the course. The hamburgers with the huge homemade Kaiser buns are to die for, and the full service bar will finish up your golf game nicely.
The key word to remember here is "grass". Some call The Divide at King's Deer "prairie links" style playing; others call this "plains style." No matter what you call it, this course is a must play and an ace-in-the-hole golf secret to remember. Play this course once, and you'll have to come back because it'll take more than once to conquer these holes with "amber waves of native grass."
June 1, 2002