Arrowhead GC, Littleton. Robert Trent Jones Jr, 1972.

A wonderfully dramatic site for a golf course with holes that play around and between giant red rock formations.

The routing occasionally makes clever use of some of these formations, as at the 12th, a gentle par 4 bending left around a huge rock monolith or the 15th, an otherwise mundane dogleg right that gets the juices up because just right of the fairway is a massive sheer rock formation that tempts you to take it on (though it would be a terrible idea to do so).

#12 looking back from the green (Credit: Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)

Even better are the smaller rocks that in a few places act as dramatic, terrifying hazards, like the rock outcropping directly behind the green on the par 3 third. I wonder if they ever actually use the back left section of green that’s virtually surrounded by rocks; it’s like the fourth at Spyglass but surrounded by rock instead of dune.

The green at #3 narrows to almost nothing in the back left corner wedged between the rocks (Credit: Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)

The most memorable hole by far is the 13th, a drop shot par 3 played between two huge rock monoliths, sort of like playing a shot from the top of Red Rocks Amphitheatre down to the stage.

#13 (Credit: Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)

But too many of the holes are just OK golf holes not living up to their spectacular setting. It’s a good golf course, but not a great one. You’re here more for the setting than the golf, of course, but wouldn’t it be great if—as in Monterey or Ireland—the golf was as much of an attraction as the scenery.

Colorado 2nd Decile [1997]