Deer Creek Golf Club at Meadow Ranch in Cedaredge, Colorado: Worth a return visit
CEDAREDGE, Colo. -- Deer Creek Golf Club at Meadow Ranch, semi-private golf club near Denver, is a golfer's delight with challenges going hand-in-hand with Mother Nature.
Architect Scott Miller designed Deer Creek. Miller created a "links"-style layout with out-of-play areas maintained in their natural state. Set against the rugged mountain terrain of Dakota Hogback, Deer Creek is easily accessible, just off of C-470.
In fact, holes 6-13 run along the highway and turn west, then northwest along Kipling. Mounding on the west prevents the highway traffic from becoming too distracting. The only other distractions I found were construction on the housing developments around the course, but it was only minimal and in no way took away from the beauty of the course or of the game. (But it could provide a great excuse to a bad golf day!)
As part of a commitment to the land, the developers and owners have incorporated environmental considerations into the design of this course. More than 40 acres of wetlands have been protected. As much as possible, the course is designed around existing elements.
The course tests the shots of the most accomplished players, but multiple tees provide all skill levels a challenge. When I made the rounds of this course, the clubhouse was still under construction and the Pro Shop was in a temporary building.
The ranch-style clubhouse featuring a full-service golf shop, restaurant and bar, and men's and women's locker rooms, and a golf learning center with a driving range and putting green is due to open sometime in June.
A quick overview of the course might be helpful. The par-4 first hole plays only 296 from the back tees, although it is tight with trees and bunkers. Hole 2 is a longer par 4, fairly straight with the wetlands on the right. Hole 3 is a par 5, shorter than the previous hole, but with a dogleg left, followed by a par 3 with bunkers at the left middle fairway and back right of green.
The par-4 fifth is another short one at only 298 yards, followed by a par 5 with the wetlands on the right and bunkers left of the fairway. The par 3 at No. 7 challenges the non-accurate player with the wetlands lying between the tee box and the green. You're either on the green, or you're in trouble.
Hole 8 is undulating with slight hills but a straight par 4. Too much here, and you'll find yourself in the rough directly behind the green or searching in the trees. The last hole of the front nine is a straight par-4 446 yarder, but its challenge lies in the canal running at the 100-yard marker in front of the green and back along the right side of the fairway.
In my opinion, the back nine was the best -- the most challenging and picturesque and starts off with another undulating fairway for a short par 4 with trouble both right and left, making a straight shot mandatory.
From the middle and forward tees, the par-4 11th is longer than the par-5 12th. On the 11th, shoot blind over the left bunker for the green, and No. 12 slopes right, so drive a bit left, and the fairway will play it for you.
Up next is a straight par 3, a do-able par or birdie with bunkers surrounding the green. Hole 14, a par 4, is fairly straight with undulating hills making you question where you should lay up. Stay straight, and be safe.
Hole 15 is a long par 5 with water hazards on the right with a lake and a canal, and the left is rough on the hill. Be cautious of the slope right that could pull your ball into the water like a magnet.
I played the entire course in just more than four hours. On the day I played, carts were limited to the cart path. This 7,003-yard course could easily be walked for those in moderate shape, but be sure to allow another half hour or so to your time.
The major disadvantage of first-time play on Deer Creek is scratching your head while standing on the tee and asking yourself: Where are you supposed to hit it? Where's the fairway? Where's the greens?
The staff was friendly, and the course was in exceptionally good condition. Deer Creek is a course I will return to often. It is pretty tight, demands your attention to the course and your game, and gets you back to nature with its environmentally maintained wetlands and wildlife.