Eagle Trace Detail
As always, this guide is written from the perspective of a bogey golfer. However, it was also written from the back tees. The total yardage on this course is only 6742 yards, which isn't that long. But be aware that the course design manages to throw some curve balls at you. There are several par fours that aren't much more than three hundred yards. And then there are some that are pushing 450 yards. Uphill... The shorties are well protected, so you have to pay attention to accuracy. A mis-hit boomer will put some pressure on your short game! As for the long ones... well, you're a bogey golfer, and bogey is a good score on those...
Hole 1 is a straightaway par 4, stretching out to 443 yards. There are fairway bunkers left and right, but because of the length, driver is definitely the play here. (Just don't get wild.) Again, you're a bogey golfer, so don't feel bad about making a bogey. Keep it in the fairway, and if you come up a little short on your second shot (even if it's 100 yards short), you still have a chance for an up-and-down par. A two-putt bogey is an okay result. Keep it in play, and you should be able to avoid big numbers.
Two and three are probably the weakest holes on the whole course. They're both short, playing 351 and 374, respectively, and they're both pretty much straightaway. So if you gave up a bogey on #1, you ought to be able to make it back on two or three (or both). The key to both holes is to hit it in the fairway. It doesn't have to be long. (Embarassment time: I actually hit my drive OB on #3. It's not like it's a tight hole, either.)
#4 is an intersting hole. First of all, it's kind of intimidating because of its narrow look from the back tee. It plays right at 400 yards, and there's a road running up the left side. The fairway angles slightly away from the road, which is helpful, but there's also a pond on the right, so you can't just completely bail out. The best strategy here is to play for about 200 yards off the tee, leaving yourself 200 yards to the green on your second shot. The first 200 yard shot lets you aim away from the road, but if you lose it right you should still wind up short of the pond. Of course if you lose it right, then you have to hit it over the pond. If that happens to you, then back off to a midiron to make sure you get good contact and just lay up. Bogey is a good score here, and there's no need to incur a lot of penalty strokes.
#5 is a beastly par 3. It plays 209 yards to the middle of the green, and there's a pond to clear on the tee shot. Pay attention to the wind -- it was coming straight in the day I played here. My advice is to go for the distance. There's plenty of room to miss left and right. But be confident, because a topped ball is going into the drink! I hit a five wood, with a big slice. I lobbed on and had a 20 foot par putt, which I missed, but I made an easy bogey, and that's okay.
#6 is an uphill par 5, at 518 yards. The uphill-ness makes it feel like it's 70 yards longer. The important thing to remember here is to not try to get extra length out of your tee shot. That invariably leads to poor contact, and less distance. If it's going to take you three hits to reach the green anyway, accept it, be happy, and make them three good hits instead of four or five miserable ones, okay? (Yes, you can detect a little bit of bitterness in my tone, and I don't want to talk about it any more...)
#7 is another par 5, which runs right back down the hill beside #6. It's a few yards longer. Because of the downhill part, and the possibility of a tailwind, this one is a bit easier to get to, so long as you don't get greedy. The approach shot to the green needs to be pretty accurate. There's a bunker in front, waiting to gobble up anything short. And there's a drop off behind the green into the pond. And the green is not that large. So, like I said, accuracy counts. Even if you can reach this green in two, you might want to lay up in order to be able to hit a high soft-landing wedge shot, rather than a scorching four iron.
#8 is a tasty little par 3. From the back tees, it's only 158 yards, but it seems much longer because there is water everwhere. Enjoy the scenery, let serenity descend upon you like a mantle, focus on the green, and make clean contact.
#9 is a brute. It's a par 4, and if you're a bogey golfer, you're probably not going to get a four. It's 448 yards. It's uphill. And there's a good chance you'll have a headwind. Keep it in the fairway. Make good contact on your strokes, and if you make a bogey, pat yourself on the back. It's rated as the number one handicap.
#10 is a strategy hole. It's only 305 yards, and big hitters will be tempted to go for it. Whether you're going for it or not, make sure you hit something relatively straight. If you lose the shot right, there are several bad things that can happen to you. The best bad thing is to land in a bunker which you can't see. The worst bad thing is that you can lose the ball completely in a triangular patch of knee-high rough. An in between bad thing is that you can hit the ball into a finger of the lake. And of course if you hit the shot clean, you could actually land on the green! Or you could just hit a five iron and a sand wedge and go for the easy par. Whatever.
#11 is a little longer (325 yards) and it's uphill, but it doesn't have as much trouble. A friend of mine actually drove the green and then three-putted for a "bad" par. I hit a four iron badly, and a pitching wedge well, and made a ten foot uphill birdie putt. This is rated as the easiest hole on the course.
#12 is a hole that deserves to be admired for its aesthetics for a few moments before you even begin to think about how to play it. It's one of those majestic vistas that make golfing in Colorado such an enjoyable pasttime. The teebox sits on top of a high ridge, and the fairway points down the hill toward the mountains. It feels like you can see the entire city of Denver spread out before you, with the mountains rising up behind, crowned with snow-capped peaks...
Enough with the scenery. This is a tough hole. First of all it's a 444 yard par 4. It's tight. There's a creek crossing the fairway. Bogey is a great score. Double bogey isn't that bad. Let's start with the tightness. On the left is a row of houses and backyards -- lose it there and it's OB. Down the right hand side is a natural area that's fenced off as a hazard -- lose it there and you have to take a drop. Then there's the creek. The 200 yard marker is short of the creek, and the 150 yard marker is long of it. So, doing a little math... 230 yards off the tee is a great shot. 280 yards off the tee (in the air!) is a phenomenal shot. Anything in between is in the drink. Tiger Woods and John Daly should go for it. You and I should lay up. Once you've laid up, lay up again -- the fairway continues narrow (OB left, water right), and you can't afford any stray shots.
#13 is a 427 yard par 4 going back up the hill you just came down. The tee shot angles across the ditch in a challenging way. Don't be too agressive on your angle, or you'll wind up in that same hazard, the fenced natural area. Bogey is a good score on this hole too -- just don't turn it into a double or triple!
#14 is a short par 5, that you can pick up a par with some accurate iron play. A monster tee shot can possibly reach the fairway bunker, but for most of us, the bunker makes a great target. The hole eventually doglegs right around a lake, so you can favor the right side of the bunker as a target. Because of the lake on the right, I can't recommend trying to get there in two. Take what the hole gives you, and play three easy shots into the green.
#15 is another beautiful par 3, with a pond and associated wetlands on the right. It's 158 yards from the back. There's room between the pond and the green to hit it short. It's a well-conceived hole, which presents a challenge to the scratch golfer, but it doesn't kill us bogey golfers that don't hit the perfect tee shot.
The sixteenth hole is a 560 yard par 5 which doglegs left down a hill. Big hitters can cut the corner by hitting a monster tee shot over the massive fairway bunker on the left, and wind up with a downhill shot into the green from inside of 200 yards. Of course if you hook that shot OB then you're screwed. On the other hand, if you lose it right, you can still get home in three pretty handily. Even if you land in the bunker, you can still reach the green in regulation if you're able to advance the ball 100 yards out of the sand. There's a bunker fronting the green on the right that forces you to play sharp on your approach shot. Great hole!
#17 is a 178 yard par 3 over a veritable sea of bunkers. Take your best shot!
The finishing hole is a gorgeous par 4, that doglegs to the left around a pond. The scorecard says it's 410 yards, but I think they must have measured it all the way around the pond. Aim straight across the pond at the 150 yard marker. Play your 200 yard club. There! You just shaved 50 yards off the total distance. If you make the tee shot, you're perfectly positioned to come into the green. If you're a little further out than 150 yards, well there's some trouble. There's a little pond on the right you have to clear, in addition to the big one on the left you just teed over. Then there's a huge bunker right of the green to steer clear of, and big trees guarding the green left. If you need a bailout the bunker is your best bet.
This is a course that's well set-up for golfers of all levels. If you're a scratch golfer, this will challenge your skills. If you're a bogey golfer, you'll take some bogeys, but if you keep your wits about you the course won't beat you up too bad. You can beat your handicap index on a good day.