West Woods Golf Club: A Course for Players of All Levels

By Jamie Dawson, Contributor

My first experience with West Woods came in the spring of 1995. Colorado was in the middle of the wettest May on record, and I found myself trudging through the rain to play what I had heard was the latest of the best new course in Colorado.

West Woods Golf Club
West Woods Golf Club
West Woods Golf Club
If you go

While one would not say West Woods is on the level of Buffalo Run or Fox Hollow, two new courses that are an assets to the state, West Woods is a good golf course, particularly for a Dick Phelps course. It has all the signatures of a Phelps course: oddly placed doglegs, landing areas that shrivel in size 200 yards out, mysterious creeks, and so forth. But what works at West Woods is what makes a good golf course. It challenges the better players without overwhelming the lesser players, all in a natural and scenic setting.

The first few holes are the strength of the golf course. In particular, the first hole is one of the best. It is a par-4 that sets up very well from the tee. It is not a difficult or challenging hole by any stretch of the imagination, but a mark of a good hole is in the way it sets up visually from the tee box. While you stand on the first tee making bets, agreeing on the skins game, begging for strokes, sandbagging, nervously joking, or whatever it is you do, take a moment and notice how the fairway is framed for you visually.

The front stays more or less conventional until you reach the fifth hole, an uphill par 5. This hole is too long for most players. It plays straight uphill, and is one of those “all-you-got” holes. But I don't like to criticize a hole for being too difficult. Not all par-5 holes should be two-shotters for the longer hitters, and this one might be a four-shotter for some.

Eleven is the best hole on the course, a classic golf hole. Long and tight, with a small, sloping green. You won't be tempted to giggle at your opponent's score; yours might be higher. Holes like this are the ones that can cause you too throw your clubs in a lake. You get beat up for the first ten holes, and then play this one. I once saw a well-respected local pro completely come unglued at this green. Swearing, swinging at air, throwing clubs. He started to get undressed, but pulled out his hair instead. (Tip: Never make a 40 foot putt when you already have the hole won, in a downpour, unless you want to drop your opponent off at the psycho ward after the round.)

The only weak hole on the back nine, perhaps the entire course, is the par-5 fourteenth. It is a goofy dogleg with a very tight tee shot. In fact, better players usually lay back with an iron off the tee. I think this indicates a weakness of the hole. It is my belief that par 5s should be driver off the tee. This gives the players options in playing the second shot. When you take the driver out of their hands, the hole becomes rather mundane.

The final hole is a good par 5 that can be reached in two shots. This hole will settle bets, so if you are down, be sure to press here. Set up your press by noting on the previous tee that you like the way your opponent fades the ball with some goof move. Got to play with his head a bit. West Woods is a course for all players.

Call 424-3334 for tee times and information. Player fees are $26 everyday.

RATINGS: (out of five)
Condition: **
Pace: ***
Clubhouse: ****
Playability, 36 handicap or more: ****
Playability, 10-36: ****
Playability, 0-10: ****

The "Playability" categories are based on enjoyment. It measures how much we think you'll enjoy playing this course with your current handicap.

Jamie Dawson, Contributor

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