Indian Peaks Golf Club - Course Detail
This review was written playing from the 6617-yard blue tees. Your par-shooting friends are welcome to play from the 7083 black tees. And if you're feeling a bit off your game, the 6000 yard white tees are available too. The day this review was written, the course was specially tricked up for the Colorado State Championship for Assistant Pros, meaning that every single flag was stuck in an inaccessible corner, behind a burm, behind a pond, or behind a bunker. I'm sure the layout added many strokes to my score. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Usually, they employ a 1-2-3 zone system (see the scorecard) which gives you some easy pins and some harder pins on any given day.
Pace of play was a real problem, which was unusual for a Monday. We got caught behind two slow groups, and there were two holes open in front of them, which was frustrating on the front nine. Fortunately, they let us through on #10, and the back was smooth sailing.
The opening hole is a 556 yard par 5. For a bogey golfer, it's almost a forced three-shot hole because of a) a huge cottonwood on the left where the dog leg is, and b) a ditch running across the fairway about 80 yards out. If you go too long off the tee, you'll roll through the fairway and into a bunker. I recommend a fairway wood or a long iron off the tee, then a mid-iron or long iron on your second shot. Then take a close look at where you stand with respect to that ditch before you decide whether to lay up or go for it.
The second hole is an uphill 396 yard par 4. The fairway is pretty wide, and since you need all the distance you can muster, have a go with your driver. As you approach the elevated green, be mindful of bunkers both short and long. It's way easier to come in from the left than from the right because of the placement of the bunkers.
The third hole is back down that same hill, plus it's only 384 yards. It's also appreciably narrower, with bunkers on both sides of the landing zone. So, while driver was a good play on #2, it's better to keep it in the bag on #3. Pick a club that you have high confidence in your ability to hit it straight. The green is well protected by burms and bunkers. Again, the better approach angle is from the left.
The fourth hole is a short par 5 (516 yards). It's pretty open for your first two shots, so driver is a good choice off the tee, followed by a five or six iron. Coming into the green, be aware of the big ridge immediately in front of the green -- if you land short, it won't roll on... Because of the relatively short distance on this par 5, you've got a chance to score par.
#5 is a 141 yard par 3. Really the only tough thing about this hole is where they put the pin. My advice is to ignore the pin completely, and aim for the middle of the green. The rough is pretty long.
Number 6 is a difficult hole. It's a big dogleg left, with a pond in the middle of the dog leg. The hole is 424 yards, and the eternal question is: How much of that pond can I bite off on the tee shot? Being of a conservative nature, my advice is "not much". In fact, the right thing to do is ignore the dogleg, and aim straight down the middle of the fairway. Then use a club that you're confident you can hit straight. Then take what you get. Bogey is a good score here -- don't be discouraged if you take three shots to reach the green.
The seventh hole is tricky, tricky, tricky. It's also short, a 336 yard par 4. There's a helpful plate on the tee box that tells you the ideal tee shot is 231 yards. Believe it. A little bit shorter won't hurt you. The fairway is pretty narrow, and pretty short, and it takes almost a 90 degree turn across a creek up the hill to the green. If you drill it exactly 231 yards right up the middle, you'll be using a pitching wedge on your second shot. If you're a little shorter, then you'll have to go to an 8 or 9 iron. But the important thing is to hit something straight. Oh by the way, there's also a forced carry over an irrigation ditch about 150 yards in front of the tee. But it's an easy hole. Really.
Number 8 is a creampuff par 3 (at least in comparison with #7). It's 164 yards with a pond on the left. There are two bunkers left and one on the right. Obviously, if you need to bail out, it's to the right. However, it's not that long a hole, so just aim at the middle of the green, and trust the swing.
Number 9 is a difficult hole because a) it's long (429 yards), and b) your tee shot aims at a lake (then the fairway doglegs right). If you crush a drive down the left edge of the fairway, you might get wet. I've played this course two or three times, experimenting with playing down the right rough to avoid the lake. This was a truly bad idea because the rough is, well, rough. You can run up a seven or eight pretty quick with this approach, and as we've tried to re-iterate, that's not what "The Bogey Golfer" is all about. The last time I played this hole, I hit a driver really well, on a line just left of the bunker on the right side of the fairway. It was a perfect shot, letting me hit a pitching wedge into the green, resulting in a rare birdie. As unlikely as the experience was, it reinforced another basic bogey golfer lesson: stay the heck in the fairway!!! If you're big hitter, you can't stray left at all because of the pond, so you should hit a three or five wood. But you can safely hit 230 yards anywhere (in the fairway!) and still be in good shape. If you're too far out on your second shot, don't force it, focus on staying in the fairway (that lake runs all the way to the hole on your left hand side, so be mindful!). Getting on in three with two putts is a great bogey on this hole. Stay in the fairway, and you'll be fine.
Number 10 is a real mental hole. At 338 yards, it's pretty short, and you have a lot of options as to how to play it. The first and most important decision you have to make involves the split fairway. A stream runs down the middle of the fairway, angling in from the left. The hole also doglegs left. So there's an overpowering temptation to take an agressive line to the green, and hit your tee shot over the stream. This is the approach I've tried every time I've played this hole, and it's landed me in trouble every single time. The stream makes me anxious, and when I'm anxious, I subconsciously yank the ball even further left (trying to take the stream out of play). Yanking the ball too far left brings both the trees, and the ankle-high rough into play, and also forces you to play a wedge shot into the green from behind a burm and over a sand trap. Take a good long look at the right-hand fairway, and think about hitting a five iron down the right side, which opens up an easy short iron into the green from a more favorable angle. Despite the cursed stream, this hole is a chance to make a par!
Number 11 is a wide open par 5. It's so wide open, it's almost hard to pick a target. It also has a distracting view of the front range. Shake it off, and pick a target to aim at, prefereably right down the middle. Might as well use your driver here -- there are few holes with more room than this one. While you can play your first shot with wild abandon, you want your second shot to be more controlled, since the fairway begins to narrow down as you approach the hole. So pick a club that's reliable for you -- a five, six or seven iron, maybe. Depending on the distance you made off the tee, you can get home in three, maybe four at the worst case. Bogey is not a bad score, but there's a good chance to make par here too.
Number 12 has a pretty serious dogleg left. There's a strong temptation to cut the corner over a bunch of sand traps. While this strategy can easily cut 50 yards off your approach shot, I recommend against it, because not many of us bogey golfers will get away with that much carry. And I hate hitting out of fairway bunkers. Take what the course gives you, play your tee shot straight down the fairway, and then play one or two approach shots into the green. An ideal last chip will be from the right because there's a bunker on the left.
Number 13 is 352 yard par 4. The fairway is not as expansive as 11, but it's plenty roomy. However, the green is just plain goofy. It's protected by three bunkers, front and back, and it's laid out diagonally in such a way that the only direction you really want to come in from is the left. If you try to come in from the right (especially the right rough) you're almost guaranteed to wind up in one of those bunkers. So my advice here is to hit a five or six iron off the tee, then hit a layup shot to leave you front and left of the green, so you can chip on from someplace that doesn't carry a sand trap.
The 14th hole is a short (134 yards) par 3. There's a swamp curling in from the left, but after all, it's only 134 yards. Ignore the swamp, and fire at the middle of the green. The scorecard ranks this as the easiest hole on the course.
The 15th is a bit dicier. It's 406 yards, with a bit of an uphill slant to it. The view from off the tee is kind of intimidating, with a stream cutting across in front of the tee (lots of tall reeds), and a relatively narrow fairway. The green is elevated and is protected by a bunker on the left. The green is also a lot deeper from front to back than most of the greens here, so watch the pin position. This hole is rated as the most difficult hole on the back side. What to hit? Your first and most important problem is to carry the creek. You absolutely positively must get 180 yards of carry out of your tee shot. If you're hitting your driver well, go for it. If you've been hitting your driver thin, best pick a different club. On your second shot, mentally add 20 yards to whatever you think the real distance is. Getting home in two on this hole is unlikely, so don't stress out over it. Hit good solid shots with your mid-irons, and plan on getting there in three. Bogey is a good score on this hole.
The 16th is a difficult par 3. It plays 188 yards, and has a big bunker in the front, forcing you to choose a line left or right (flying over the bunker is a good way to wind up in the bunker, especially from this distance. If you're not comfortable with long iron shots, two wedges isn't a bad way to go here. Another hole where bogey is a good score...
#17 is a 517 yard uphill par 5 (think 550-580). The fairway is plenty wide, and you need a big shot off the tee, so the driver is a worthwhile play here. You still need good distance on your second shot, and as always, be thinking about control and solid contact. Five or six irons are good choices. Coming into the green on your third or fourth shot, aim for the middle of the green, and stay away from any pins placed near the edges, especially the right edge. Hale planted some special burms to throw goofy bounces into shots that land near the edges of the green.
The closing hole is a visual treat. You tee off from the top of a hill that has a great view of the clubhouse below, and an even better view of the mountains to the west. It's 406 yards, but because of the hill it's going to play 20-30 yards shorter than that, so by all means hit an iron or a fairway wood if it increases the likelihood that you'll land in the fairway. Be mindful of the pond on the left, and don't go after a left-hand pin placement (there's also another one of those pesky burms over there.
In summary, this is a very appealing course. It has lots of visual treats, lots of strategy holes, several power holes, and yet it's also very playable for bogey golfers. There are some par and birdie chances out there, but don't squander them by cutting the wrong corners!