Nothing Flashy About Boulder's Steady Flatirons Golf Course

By Nate Nalbandian, Contributor

BOULDER, Colo. - Flatirons Golf Course is Boulder's municipal course. Offering good golf at an affordable price, Flatirons should not be passed up if you plan to be in the area. The course has adequate length at 6,445 yards from the blue tees and is fairly challenging and well maintained.

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The holes do tend to run parallel to each other, creating extra traffic as a big enough slice or hook may put you in the oncoming fairway particularly easily. As one of the lowest-priced courses around, Flatirons attracts an extra share of beginners and this sometimes translates into slow rounds. Usually, though, Flatirons pace of play is pretty decent.

The first hole is about as straight a par four as you can get and is fairly self-explanatory. The green does slope off towards the back so be careful on those blue pin placements. The second is a long par four that again is also pretty straight.

The third is a little more tricky with a little bend to the left. Stay right off the tee to give yourself a good angle to the green. Remember that it's better to miss left on your approach shot as there are hazards on the right and the sandtrap there is usually filled with water.

At this point, as you walk to number four, a par three, you can make an accurate assessment of whether of not your round will be slow. On an average weekend, there may be anywhere from one to three groups waiting to tee off on this hole. The staff seems to be addressing this problem with better starter management and the use of a ranger, although there is only so much they can do.

The next hole of note is the sixth. Here, a stream crosses the fairway giving you two options off the tee: 1. Lay-up to about 170 out (about 180 off the tee). 2. Pull out your driver and swing away. The stream widens at points on both sides of the bridge and you need about 220 in the air. It is easy enough to get away with but I've found the scores are better for a well placed lay-up than a less than perfect drive.

Play on a busy day usually picks up on the par five seventh. This hole is fairly long at 557 yards, bends slightly right off the tee and stretches out any knots in play. The next hole is another par three and then on to the ninth.

The tee shot here is tricky if you're unfamiliar with the course and leaves you wondering where the ideal landing area is. Go too far right and you may roll into water. Too far left and you wind up in the trees. This is one hole where accuracy off the tee counts as there are no alternatives. You must put it in the fairway to have a second shot at the green.

If you noticed your score was a little lower than usual at the turn, remember that this course is a par 70 with only one par five per nine. As you walk to the tenth try to visualize keeping your tee shot towards the right side of the fairway.

This is not because there is any immediate hazard on the left, rather, it may be impossible to find your ball among the thousands of errant range balls which clutter the left side. Or you can use a colored ball if you have one.

The 11th is a 150-yard par three, over a small stream and the green lies between two large trees. This green has about the most variation in it than most others at Flatirons. In the front 2/3 it slopes towards the tee and yet the back left side is very easy to roll off of. Going too long leaves you with a delicate chip shot, especially with a front pin placement.

Holes 12-15, two par fours, the other par five and a 200-yard par three, take you along the back and lead to the difficult sixteenth. A 420-yard dogleg left par four, the 16th plays the second hardest hole on the course. Water lies on the left and juts out right at about average tee-shot landing area.

There are also white out-of-bounds markers which line the right and are not that far from the fairway. If you want to have an approach on your second shot you must tempt the right of the fairway. Remember, on your approach, that the green slopes severely from the right down to the left. Behind the green on the 17th are two old picturesque silos covered with ivy. If you look closely enough you may catch the sparkle of beer cans left by underage trespassers.

The silos are considered an integral part of the course according to the scorecard. I'm not sure what that means but I have seen a ball bounce off of one and end up on the green. (I made that up.) The eighteenth is a straight par four that gives you a chance to end on a good note and leaves you right at the practice facilities if you don't.

Flatirons has a very large and well-maintained putting green along with a chipping practice area and a smaller chip and putt green as well. The driving range is lighted and offers large bags for $4 and small ones for $3.

Flatirons does not take tee times and is first come, first play so be prepared to kill some time practicing. You know you need it. The cost for nine is $16.50 making it one of the more affordable courses in the area. Overall, the golf course at Flatirons is a fun place to play, fairly challenging for all, but the pros and the practice facilities are above average.

Nate Nalbandian, Contributor

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