South Suburban

South Suburban GC, Littleton. Dick Phelps, 1973.

The name is so deeply uninspiring that you don’t expect much, but this is a pretty good piece of property with rolling hills and a few ponds. There’s no interior housing to negotiate and there’s plenty of room for this regulation course and a nine hole par 3 course next door. Too bad Dick Phelps did so little with the site.

#18 (Credit: South Suburban Park & Recreation)

When I was playing here 20+ years ago this course was about as plain as they come. The bunkering was not interesting, the greens were round and without much slope, and the fairways moved over the land like connect the dots lines. There were a few awkward doglegs, like the 10th which turned at less than 250 yards out—not close to far enough in the thin air of Denver even in the time this course was built.

But overall there weren’t really any bad holes, just nothing particularly inspiring. They used to hold the PGA playing test here, which seemed appropriate—this was a course, as they say, where it was all out in front of you. If you could hit it well and putt true, you were sure to pass.

But aerials show that in recent years, there’s been some more interest added here. There hasn’t been any real change to the routing, but fairway lines have changed here and there, expanding mostly, and the bunkering has changed significantly. The third, fifth, and 17th now have bunkers within the fairway. The 18th has been shortened but the green pushed closer to the pond, which makes for a more dramatic finish, and allows for room for a much bigger practice putting area.

Colorado 7th Decile [1997]

Credit: Golf Advisor