West Woods Golf Course: Arvada Layout has Come a Long Way
ARVADA, CO - Many years ago, I remember driving west on 64th Avenue toward Table Mountain and seeing a sign in the middle of nowhere: West Woods Golf Course. At that time, 18 holes was the extent of the offering, and they consisted of passable golf at best.
Today, West Woods has come a long way, baby! The upscale housing divisions have spread like wildflowers across 64th Avenue in all directions. Just when I think there's no more space, another dozen houses spring up out of nowhere, and another few acres of open land disappear from the horizon.
At least, a portion of this development has been positive. West Woods now offers 27 holes for your golfing pleasure. City owned and managed, Arvada's West Woods has quickly become one of the most played suburbia city courses at this end of Denver. (In my humble opinion, many city courses are underestimated--not to mention very affordable, so if you haven't hopped on a golf cart at a city course, you're missing a lot.)
West Woods Golf Course was designed by Dick Phelps. The first 18 holes, designated Sleeping Indian and Cottonwood, debuted in June of 1994. Sleeping Indian (3,498 yards) spans the area north of the clubhouse, viewable from the clubhouse patio.
The Cottonwood 9 (3,537 yards) is located east of the clubhouse. The most recent 9 holes, Silo (3,224 yards), opened in September 1999, and are positioned north and west of the clubhouse. Each of these three 9's offer a different game, and your 18-holes could consist of any 2 of these 3 as they rotate the 18 plays of the day.
Sleeping Indian "front" 9 begins with a few strong playing holes, testing even the best player. The par 4's green at Hole 1 can be seen from the tee box, but has a slight dogleg with a kick to the right. Houses border the left and bunkers at the bend on the right, but all in all it is a parable hole.
Just when you're feeling cocky about your game, Hole 2's 541-yarder par 5 springs into the horizon with a creek and thick bushes and trees crowding the right side along with a panoramic view of the foothills in front of you. Not an easy task with the suction power coming from the water. The finishing hole's par 4 (412 yards) on the Sleeping Indian 9 presents a lovely view of the clubhouse and Table Mountain.
Fortunately, a drive from this green will roll, but be cautious of the downhill kick to the lake short and right of the green. The entire front 9 is typical of a Dick Phelps course with sharp doglegs and smaller landing areas along with creeks edging in and out of the fairway. Over ambitious players will be penalized and underachievers will find this a long nine.
Cottonwood 9 would be more appropriately named "Lakes" as 6 of the 9 holes water comes into play, and to many players, this section is the most difficult, giving an entirely new connotation to "water hole." A very slightly elevated tee box on Hole 10's par 4 377-yarder starts your Cottonwood play and may be the easiest of the holes on this 9, even with its sharp dogleg left alongside a pond. At only 377-yards, a golfer could drive the green of this hole over the pond.
The easiest hole is immediately followed by one of the most difficult. A par 4 477-yarder, this scenic hole sharply dogleg rights in an almost C-shape, winding alongside a steep hill that guards a ditch. The approach shot is uphill to the largest green on the course, sloping severely from front to back.
Cottonwood 12 is considered one of West Woods signature holes, a par 3 playing through a grove of cottonwoods with water on the left and bunkers on both sides of the green. The ladies' tees are often more intimidating with the lake a few yards to the left and a shot through an opening in the cottonwood. Add a large undulating green and a par on this one is worth a stop at the clubhouse bar.
The finishing hole only confirms the nightmares you'll have later of water-laden golf balls. This par 5, 512 yard hole presents the golfer with a short dogleg right with ponds protecting the right and bunkers on the left. The long hitter may reach this one in two, but the water and the five additional green side bunkers will come into play. Good players can go home with a birdie on a good day, and on a bad day, well, you'll not want to count that high.
My favorite nine is the newest addition to West Woods, the Silo, and personally, I think Architect Phelps's skills came shining through on this course. On this entire 9, nature plays a major part in the layout. Phelps has artfully crafted the holes around and through waterfalls, lakes, creeks, woods, hills and trees, all with the majestic backdrop of the Colorado Rockies.
The foothills never looked so inviting. Silo's signature hole is # 23, a short 493-yarder par 5 with reachable bunkers on the left side of the fairway. The view gets more interesting with your second shot sharply uphill to a green without bunkers, and a large silo (thus the name) looming on the right side of the uphill climb. Bunkers scoot the left uphill climb.
Your second uphill shot needs to be perfect, or you're in trouble. Hole 26 sports a fantastic view from an elevated green for a short par 4. Here, a creek crosses the fairway about 200 yards down, separating another piece of fairway that has the creek crossing back just in front of the green. Most golfers can drive the green if their approach stays to the left corner of the middle fairway. A somewhat disappointing finish is at Silo 9 with a fairly straightforward par 3, considering the difficulty of the other 8 holes.
West Woods holds a special place in my heart as my home borders the Silo 9, and when factoring in those necessary "day jobs," golfers tend to migrate toward the convenience of their "home" course. In this case, not only is West Woods convenient, but I'm lucky to have this as my home course because it is an economical round offering a challenging course to play--no matter your skill level.
The 19th hole, in this case the 28th hole, houses a well stocked Pro Shop, but most importantly the Clubhouse Restaurant dishes up a table side guacamole, with your choice of mild to spicy, that is to die for. Complement your appetizer and your round with one of their loaded and tasty margaritas, a cold beer, or a frosty glass of lemonade, and a day of golf at West Woods is indeed a perfect day.
West Woods Golf Course
6655 Quaker Street
Arvada, CO 80007
Fax: (303) 424-3889
Green Fees: Jefferson County Resident $27; Non residents $32
Cart additional $22.50
Tee times can be made 5 days in advance, at 8:00 am
Be sure to call and check out West Woods Specials!
February 2, 2012