Willis Case and Wellshire Are in Great Shape
DENVER - If you want an enjoyable day, I would suggest getting a starting time at Wellshire GC. Wellshire is a well designed golf course and one of over 400 courses that Donald Ross designed. Remember who Donald Ross is? He is the guy that designed Pinehurst #2 where the men's U.S. Open was played this year.
Wellshire is nothing like Pinehurst #2. First of all the greens do not have the upside down saucer shape. They are actually pretty flat greens and your iron shots will stay on the greens. But each green has nice bunkering, but mellow and fairly easy to recover from. The sand is good sand. Wellshire has a lot of trees framing every single hole, and this time of the year the course is beautiful to play. And frosting on the cake is that Wellshire (a Denver public course) is in good shape.
The greens are great even though they are poanna. Wellshire has forward tees around 5700 and back tees are around 6500. Wellshire has what appears to be a nice clubhouse, but it isn't too golfer friendly. The pro shop is very nice and well stocked.
The golfer's snack or grill area is like being in a dungeon. Instead of putting the bar on the parking lot side of the clubhouse and having windows face the golf course, what Wellshire did was made the golfer's snack bar like a bar with no windows. They do have an outside patio at Wellshire and after you go in and get your own food and drink, I recommend going out on that patio. But guess what they did, they planted so many trees between the 9th hole and the clubhouse that you can't even see the hole.
Wellshire does have a very nice restaurant (in addition to the golfer's grill) but it is not really for the golfers, it is for the business person's lunch or a great place to come for dinner (you usually need a reservation).
Willis Case GC is also worth the while of getting a starting time and playing. The course is in very good shape and the greens are very good (again, poa annea). The greens at Willis Case and Wellshire stimp about 8-and-a-half feet, that is kind of a medium-slow green, but they are smooth and therefore enjoyable to putt on. Willis Case does not have as many trees as Wellshire because when the city of Denver allocated trees over the years they literally made sure Wellshire got about twice as many of the allocation of trees as Willis Case. They actually over-planted Wellshire and now have to take out some of the trees at Wellshire.
Willis Case's drive into the course is a pretty little driveway through trees and through the trees you will see the Rocky Mountains. The view from the first tee is spectacular. Willis Case is a little long from the forward tees (5950 yards) for women and a little short for the men from the back tees (6450). But it is enjoyable to play, you can't get in much trouble and you will probably not lose a ball for the whole round.
Willis Case has a charming little clubhouse that has recently been renovated. It is now no smoking, so it is a pleasant experience. However, the city of Denver has on the boards a plan to destroy this charming clubhouse (renovate and addition) and the nifty golf course (by shortening #1 and #18 amongst other things) so before they do this, get up to Willis Case and enjoy its charm before they destroy it.
About getting starting times: that can be more of a hassle than you could imagine. If you are a Denver resident and if you have gotten yourself a $10 resident card, then you can call at 7:00 p.m., 5 days ahead. Expect the phone line to be busy (about 10,000 Denver resident callers try to get starting times for 7 courses from one telephone number (303/784-4000).
There are 40 lines but it is a very difficult procedure, probably the most ridiculous starting time procedure in the country. Then if you are a non-resident of Denver or you do not have the $10 Denver resident card, you can call 3 days ahead at 6:00 p.m.. But good luck, they only save about 1 time per hour for this level.
Anyway, as a consequence to this terrible starting time procedure, Wellshire and Willis Case aren't that busy during the week anymore. Obviously all the new courses surrounding Denver have much more reasonable starting time procedures so many of the golfers are going there. Meanwhile, Wellshire and Willis Case are very nice courses and fun to play.
Wellshire Golf Course
3333 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80222
Cost: $16 nine holes/ $21 eighteen
Willis Case Golf Course
4999 Vrain St
Denver, Colorado 80212
November 30, -0001