Lone Tree

Lone Tree GC, Littleton. Arnold Palmer with Ed Seay, 1986.

This is pretty much quintessential mid-80s Palmer, which I’m sad to say isn’t really a compliment.

This is a tough but ultimately dull course that never asks a player to make anything like a sophisticated strategic decision. The greens have a lot of slope and quite a few dramatic tiers but never in a way that would affect your decision-making back on the tee.

Consider the 18th, which isn’t a terribly long hole at 422 from the back tees, but has a narrow green with a distinct tier in the back half. The back of the green is significantly harder to play to, and even narrower, but there’s no strategic difference in having the hole back there—off the tee your only consideration is just hitting the narrow fairway, no matter where the hole is located.

Credit: Golf Advisor

The 15th is another example. This is a short hole that bends to the right and plays uphill to a green guarded by several bunkers. Here the upper back tier of the green is bigger, but again there’s no advantage to playing to one side of the fairway or another—you want to get your tee shot as close to the end of the fairway as possible to open up the best angle no matter where the hole is located.

Credit: Golf Advisor

The sixth is probably the toughest hole here, a long par 4 with water right and a street to the left, though happily it does have one of the most generous fairways on the course. The second shot is played over the water to a slightly elevated green benched into a hillside. The bunker short right of the green looks like trouble but if you come up short you’d much rather be in that bunker than watching your ball take the slope and end up wet.

Yes, Bear Creek is an even nastier version of this course, but at least that course is a nice walk with no homes or streets around and a place you can play quickly (private club with limited membership are good for that). Here the public nature of the course leads to slow rounds. All the homes surrounding the holes means it isn’t especially pretty, either. Even if tough courses are your thing, there are better options.

Colorado 7th Decile [1997]

Credit: 2guyswhogolf.com