The Bogey Golfer © Course Guides
Grand Elk - Overview
Grand Elk is nestled in a mountain meadow just outside Granby, Colorado. Granby is a sleepy little town near the giant Winter Park resort. The whole Grand County area has become a year-round destination resort, offering all the obvious winter sports (downhill and cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating, ...) as well as fair weather activities such as golf, boating, hiking, camping, and the like.
Paradoxically, this mountain track is a links-style course (a phrase more commonly associated with the term "seaside"). While the mountains form a panoramic backdrop in all directions, they really don't come into play. The course is wide-open. While it has no trees, it does have a full complement of other hazards to keep you honest, including streams, swamps, native areas, and bunkers.
Since it's at a fairly high altitude, you tend to get an extra club's worth of carry compared to the Front Range, and maybe even two compared to sea level. Carts have GPS, which is great(!) for lining up on targets (bunkers, ponds) and knowing how much room you have to lay up, or fly over.
This is a fairly new course, and the housing developments around it are still going in. So they are still building a clientele, and consquently there are discount deals available if you look around. Start with Avid Golfer, watch their website, or just give them a call (866-227-4268).
Grand Elk Course Detail
Hole 1, Par 5, 495 yards – it’s short, nothing heroic needed off the tee, just keep it in play. Trouble right (scrub brush, swamp, etc.), bunker left. Play whatever you can hit that’s straight. Same song on second shot – fairway necks down on the approach, but there’s plenty of room at the 100 yard marker, which is where you’ll be if you can manage 220 off the tee, and 180 on your second shot. Don’t get caught in the bunker on the right side of the green, because then you have a heck of a time staying on the green when you blast out.
Hole 2, Par 3, 159 yards – it’s not too long, but it does have a forced carry of 120 yards over the junk – sorry, that’s “native area”. The green is also well-protected with bunkers on the front. There’s plenty of room to bail out left, and chip on if you don’t feel comfortable with the carry shot over the bunkers.
Hole 3, Par 4, 383 yards – this is a real mental hole, with a big dogleg right. If you try to cut the corner with a big drive, there’s lots of punitive punishment if you don’t hit the perfect shot. The safe play is to do what the GPS screen tells you – aim left of the bunker in the middle of the fairway. You don’t need a huge hit here – a three wood or even a long iron will work great. The important thing is to hit it straight, and get plenty of carry (you need at least 150 yards in the air to clear the sagebrush. The second shot will only be 150 yards in, but do NOT miss right – there’s no room before the junk. Actually, missing left isn’t that great either, because the green has this elevation that you have to chip onto, and it’s really easy to go right over the other side. So if you’re going to miss on your second shot, miss it short.
Hole 4, Par 5, 539 yards – At this altitude, this is still a pretty short par 5. On the tee shot, you want to favor the left side of the fairway, because there’s a big chunk of rough that reaches into the fairway from the right. I’ve played the course twice, and landed in this rough both times. The first time, it was really long, and I barely dribbled out with a 40 yard hack. The second time, it was pretty short, and I had a good lie, and hit a six iron out with good distance. The better play is to stay left of the stuff! Watch the GPS screen for directions on how to miss the bunker on the front right of the green.
Hole 5, Par 4, 421 yards – this is a longish hole, with a bit of a carry off the tee. Don’t force the shot! Hit a club that you have confidence in that will carry at least 160 yards for you. There’s lots of room on the right, but there’s trouble that comes into play on the left. As you come into the green on your second shot, there’s a deep bunker fronting the green on the left. If you’re too far out, lay up rather than trying to hit to the right. If a shot hit to the right gets away from you (slice), you can get OB pretty quickly.
Hole 6, Par 3, 216 yards. This is an interesting par 3 because it’s downhill with a pretty view. It’s also got a creek running in front of it, with a pond on the right. You can clear the pond, and still get caught in a bunker that wraps around to the right. Your bail out is short and left, but there’s not a lot of room there, so don’t get too cute. Hit the longest club that you can hit straight, and pick a line that will get you safely across the creek. Don’t chase a sucker pin placement on the right of the green. Stay dry!
Hole 7, Par 4, 432 yards. – This hole sets up to look kind of intimidating. It looks like a fence funnels in from the left behind a bunker, with no room right because of a natural area. In fact, the fairway is a lot wider than it looks, and the fence doesn’t really come into play unless you hit a duck hook. And the natural area on the right has a big grassy hill that catches any really bad slices. However, the fairway really does narrow down as you approach the green. You’re better off laying up short than being pin high but 20 yards offline.
Hole 8, Par 3, 188 yards – This is an intimidating hole, because of the forced carry off the tee – nothing but junk between you and the green. Once you get to the green, it’s easily 40 paces from front to back, so pay close attention to the pin placement, and adjust your club selection accordingly. Stay calm, and commit to the swing.
Hole 9, Par 4, 428 yards – While this is a longish hole, it’s pretty straight, and the green is at the bottom of the hill. So hit a nice shot, down the middle. It doesn’t need to be terribly long because the hill coming into the green gives you some help on the second shot.
Hole 10, Par 4, 412 yards – This is a tricky hole, because a) it’s kind of long, and b) big hitters can’t unleash their drivers – the fairway is relatively short because of a natural area that you have to go over on your second shot. However, you do need a respectable tee shot in order to clear the natural area on your approach shot. There is room short of the green, so two long irons is a viable strategy. A three wood and a mid iron is even better, if you’re happy with your three wood.
Hole 11, Par 5, 476 yards. Take a look behind you at the back tees – that adds another 120 yards to this hole!! Straight is all you need on this hole, especially on your second shot. There’s a large natural area to clear, and make sure you favor the right side of the fairway on the second shot. The farther left you go, the more of the natural area comes into play, and it can quickly get difficult to clear. The third shot is into a pretty benign green.
Hole 12, Par 4, 401 yards. Here is target golf at its finest. Do NOT hit a driver on this hole. There’s no room anywhere, including straight – you’ll simply run out of fairway. Take a fairway wood or a long iron, and aim just right of the sand trap on the left. 230 yards is a good distance for reaching the green in two. Your second shot is over a bunch of junk, so remember to hit down on the ball, and follow through on your swing. There’s a big bunker left, and while there’s room behind it before the green, it’s still risky to take that line coming into the green.
Hole 13, Par 4, 314 yards. This is a very short hole for a par 4, but it’s easy to roll up big numbers if you get off the fairway. The first shot has a huge area to land in, so play a mid iron. A long iron can roll off the edge into the swamp (no fun).
Hole 14, Par 3, 170 yards. Pay attention to the wind here. It can easily add two or even three clubs to your swing if it’s coming from behind. This is another really long green from front to back, so pay close attention to the pin placement when you pick your club.
Hole 15, Par 4, 356 yards. This is perhaps the easiest driving hole on the back. It’s got pretty good width where a driver comes down, so you might as well give it a whack, not that you need the extra distance. The danger coming into the green is on the right with the bunkers.
Hole 16, Par 3, 187 yards. A challenging hole if there’s a stiff crosswind. There’s lots of trouble to be found short, left, and right. If you hit it a little offline left, a trap will save you from the water. Too far offline to the right puts you in the native area. You have a bit of a carry over water and junk, so you need a firmly committed shot. A well-struck short iron is an okay bail out, but note the “well-struck” caveat!
Hole 17, Par 5, 567 yards. This is a great golf hole. The blue tees have a forced carry over a lake. The fairway circles around the lake from the right. So you have to pick a line that intersects the fairway at a distance that you can clear the water. Use the GPS system to pick the line – it gives you the distances to the three bunkers on the left side of the fairway. Once across the water, the hole becomes merely an exercise in hitting two more straight shots.
Hole 18, Par 4, 440 yards. The scorecard says 397 yards from the blue. It lies. They’ve built a new tee box which is back by the black tees (which are 474 yards). You need to stay calm hitting a good tee shot because there’s a forced carry over sagebrush and rough.
This is a great course -- well worth a midweek trip to stay a couple of nights, and maybe combine with outings at nearby Sol Vista and Pole Creek. The course is in great shape (it's been open a couple of years now), the staff is friendly, and the facilities are posh (log cabin style rustic decorations).