Walking Stick

Walking Stick GC, Pueblo. Arthur Hills, 1989.

I played here a good bit growing up, as we had some family that lived just across the road from where the course was built. It’s got more interest than your typical muni and a unique style, as really the closest thing to a desert course that Colorado offers with native desert areas dotted with the small native cactus that give the course its name.

The course plays over the slope of a long hill, but the real defining feature is the arroyo that runs along the western edge. The fourth hole is a 544 yard par 5 that wraps to the left around this arroyo in an arc that recalls the final hole at Pebble Beach, with the same risk/reward scenarim in play—a brave drive challenging the left side shortens the hole and could even make it reachable in two, but if you kiss too far left that ball is gone forever.

Looking across the arroyo from #4 fairway to #12 green (Credit: ColoradoGolfBlog)

The 12th returns to the opposite side of the arroyo. It’s just a 163-yard par 3 with the hazard to the right but the green is a virtual island surrounded by desert. The 13th skirts it a bit as well, especially on the drive, but unfortunately that’s the most the course gets out of the feature, which is a shame, since it’s unique for Colorado.

The rest of the course is solid, if unmemorable. The most remarkable other hole I could point to would be the 15th, which awkwardly plays to a green set beyond a pond, on a course with no other water hazards or really any water in sight. Of course, the pond is probably there for irrigation and I can see the argument that if you’re going to build it why not put it in play, but it’s just so out of place. Anyway, I’ve seen Hills do far worse, so a lack of memorable holes in the case of one of his designs is generally a good thing.

Colorado 6th Decile [1997]

#9 (Credit: Golf Advisor)