Copper Creek

Copper Creek GC, Copper Mountain. Perry Dye with Pete Dye, 1986.

At barely 6,000 yards this would be a short course anywhere, but this is the highest course in the United States, with the 15th tee at 9,863 feet above sea level. It may be a par 69, but that is a short golf course at this elevation.

The front nine is mostly squeezed between a river, the highway, and condos. Some combination of those three discourages treating most of the par 4s as drivable holes, but it might have been better to just let it be a place where everyone takes a rip because it’s no fun to hit irons off the tee all day, especially at altitude.

The seventh hole, on the other hand, works by being short. It’s a tiny par 3, under 120 yards, but the green is set hard against the creek, at an angle and with a notable tier in it so you can bail to the wrong half. By the ninth you finally get a reachable par 4 where you can swing away with driver, but a deep bunker guards the front of the green.

The back nine allows you to open up your shoulders a bit more and take out the big stick more often. The views are better, too, but unfortunately the holes aren’t as interesting on that side, mostly playing up and down ski slopes in classic mountain golf style. The 14th is another potentially reachable par 4. Over 320 yards and with a huge bunker to the right front of the green, but playing well downhill and at this elevation, a drive with a nice cut to it can find the surface.

Colorado 6th Decile [1995?]

Credit: Golf Advisor