Rifle Creek Golf Course –fun near the Rifle Gap

Rifle Creek Golf Club
Rifle Creek Golf Club

Rifle, Colorado was not our original destination. Our plans to spend a mid-summer weekend in Glenwood Springs changed because of the lack of hotel rooms. Having never visited Rifle before, we decided to check out the town and the golf course.

The Rifle Creek Golf Course is about three miles outside of town on State Highway 325, on the way to Rifle Gap State Park. The course is in a pretty valley, at the base of the Grand Hogback Range. We had set up our tee time on Golf Now, so check-in at the desk was quick and easy. The staff were very nice and efficient. Soon, we were in our cart and at the first tee.

The course is 6, 267 from the back tees, and 5,127 from the fronts. There are three sets of tee boxes, allowing the more novice players to keep up with the better golfers.

The front nine

Hole #1 is a mid-range par 4 at 358 from the backs and 323 from the front. From this elevated tee box it looks like the ball is going a mile. The dogleg turn is almost exactly half way down the fairway. Unless you’re quite the power hitter, it would be tough to carry the trees on the left. Once past the bend, the approach to the green is easy. We were off!

It was a beautiful morning, and as we teed up on #2, we marveled at the beauty of the mountains around us. Number 2 is a par 5 at 346 from the tips and 450 from the fronts. It’s lined with trees, but pretty straight. The fairway tends to slope downward and you do need to watch for the creek that runs in front of the green. There was a sand trap hiding in the shadows to the right of the green, but it really wasn’t in play for us.

Moving on to #3, my husband sighed as he climbed up to the tee box and saw that he would be shooting over creek and the bushes lining the bank. Since I was on the forward tee boxes, I had a clear shot. This is a shorter par 4, with 261 to the green from the reds. It’s a very slight dogleg right. What makes this interesting are the trees lined up on the right side of the fairway. If you avoid getting in those trees, the approach to the green is pretty easy.

We finished up and motored to #4. This hole is at the back of the course, with native grasses to the right. It’s a par 5, and the longest on the course for the back tees, at 512 from the tips, and 478 from the whites. It’s downhill and a slight dogleg right. When teeing off the back tees, the approach to the fairway seemed tight. With the mountain and native grasses right and the trees left, it looked intimidating to me. Luckily, the forward tee box is a bit closer and aiming to the center of the fairway was easy. There’s a huge pine tree at the bend in the dogleg. Once past that, the downhill fairway funnels the ball to the green.

Number 5 is a short part 3 over the pond and behind the clubhouse. The back tees shoot through the trees to the elevated green. A wayward shot may end up under a tree. Be accurate here

Hole #6 is a par 5 for the red tees and par 4 for the back tees. If you’re shooting from the tips, you’ll be shooting through the trees and back over the creek to a wide fairway. The creek follows the fairway, but really isn’t in play. This is a slight dogleg right to a slightly elevated green. The views from the green are beautiful.

On number 7, the back tees shoot over the creek onto a pretty straight fairway. No hazards here.

On #8, players shoot down a straight fairway with a large pond on the left. A berm guards the pond, so you have to work at getting the ball in the water. The green can’t really be called an island green, but the creek surrounds it on three sides. Of course, with the creek comes big cottonwood trees. The green has a definite right to left slope, so getting a ball to stick could be a challenge.

The final hole on this side is a straight par 3, ending up back at the clubhouse. The pond is on the left, but it’s really not in play.

I really liked the front of this course. It’s pretty flat and straight, making it easier for the high handicapper to get to the green without too much trouble. The better players can work on shot placement, and maybe drive the shorter par 4’s.

The back nine

The back nine at Rifle Creek is completely different from the front. The back of the course is more a mountain course, with more elevation changes and excellent views.

Hole #10 is across the street, not far from the driving range. It’s a dogleg left at 389 from the tips and 312 from the front, with a pond next to the tee boxes. It’s pretty straight and flat, with a large sand trap on the left about half way down the fairway.

Number 11 is the first par 3 on this side. At 200 from the tips and 118 from the fronts, it’s not that far. Players are shooting to a slightly elevated green sheltered by a large hill on the right and a deep bunker on the left. Keep right here – use the hill on the right to roll the shot towards the center of the green.

After handling number 11, Hole #12 starts up the mountain. The hole is pretty straight, with the tee boxes set on the left side. Players are hitting up the hill, 371 from the back tees and 301 from the fronts. The entire fairway slopes down, right to left so it’s prudent to try to put your shot at the far right on the fairway. There’s a creek winding through just in front of the green, so be careful here. Our shots ended up in the native areas on the right, but luckily the balls were easy to find.

Still climbing, number 13 is a dogleg right. Players are shooting from 448 from the backs and 368 from the front tee box. There’s a forced carry here over the native grasses – for the fronts it’s 145 and for the backs it’s 225. There’s plenty of fairway once you get over, with no other hazards for most of us, unless you can hit far enough to put it on the hill that lines the fairway. Once in the middle, the fairway slopes from left to right. It’s an elevated green, so you many need a bit more club to get over the sand and onto the green.

Number 14 is the signature hole here – or at least it should be. This hole is not really that long at 405 from the back and 314 from the front. Players hit from an elevated tee box that provides views of the surrounding golf course and beyond. Hit pretty straight from here or the ball finds the thick trees on the left or the native scrub areas to the right. The fairway slopes right to left so stay right, just out of the junk. This eleveated green is protected by a large, deep bunker on the left.

Hole #15 is a short par 3, but the views from the tee box are magnificent. This hole is harder than it looks, with players shooting down from elevated tee boxes to a large green. The mountain backs the green, with a couple of pot bunkers and a pond on the right. There really isn’t any fairway to speak of, so be accurate here.

Winding up the mountain, number 16 also has elevated tee boxes and wonderful views. This hole is a par 4, with 390 from the backs and 268 from the fronts. It’s a sharp dogleg left. Strong hitters might have a chance at cutting the corner to the green, though it’s over a hill and a blind shot. There is a creek that runs in front of the green at 16, so be aware with the approach shot.

Number 17 is also a dogleg left, and the longest hole on this side of the course at 509 from the tips and 435 from the front. From the elevated tee boxes many strong hitters can cut the corner. The fairway is pretty narrow, so be careful the ball doesn’t end up in the trees and rough lining the fairway. The green slopes from left to right with a large bunker on the left.

The 18th is the final par 4 here, with the fairway hugging the large pond on the right. Stay left with tee shots to avoid the water and to set up the approach shot with the water out of play. There’s a large rock formation in the middle of the fairway to aim at near the curve of the dogleg right.

We really liked this course. The back nine is different from the front, feeling like you’ve played two different courses. For the high handicapper, there are a few holes that could be frustrating because of the carries, but overall it is pretty forgiving. For the low handicapper, there’s plenty of challenge in shot placement and club selection. We’ll be back.

Rifle Creek Golf Course, 3004 Hwy 325, Rifle, Colorado 81650, www.riflecreekgolf.com, 970-625-1093.

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Warm weather golf trips to Nevada and Arizona

It’s the beginning of January, and the snow is falling consistently, and has  been for several hours. Yesterday was 60 degrees, but my request to play was declined due to snow on the greens. So sad.

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Time to dream of getting out of this winter wonderland and enjoying some sunshine. For those close to Nevada or Arizona, there is hope. Remarkable Travel has packages to Laughlin, Nevada. Four players spend three nights at the Colorado Belle (double occupancy) and play four different courses:

  • Boulder Creek
  • Los Lagos
  • Mojave
  • Laughlin Ranch

The package starts at $465 for weekdays and $489 for weekends, and the four players split the mini-van rental. Package includes golf, lodging, and car taxes. Visit Remarkable Travel Group for more information and other packages available.

I’ve never used this travel service, though they have several packages available focused on women’s golf travel. I’m always happy to promote folks that encourage traveling with my husband and girlfriends to play golf!

For those who prefer Arizona, Golfzoo.com has a special in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Four players stay at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center and play

    • Golf Club at Eagle Mountain
    • The Raven Phoenix
    • A.S.U. Karsten
    • Longbow Golf Club

The package includes lodging and golf with a cart. The prices start at $219 per player per day. Contact Chris Parcell (888.867.6911) or Lori Greene (888.867.6921) in our Phoenix/Scottsdale office for details, and a customized itinerary.

Stay warm!

 

 

 

Las Vegas golf specials after the holidays

It’s been quite a few months for us here. With golf season pretty much over in the Rocky Mountain West, I spent some time traveling and working at my day job. I spent 2 1/2 weeks in Spain, visiting La Alberca, Madrid, Sevilla, Cadiz, and Barcelona. Unfortunately, it was too cold to golf in any of those places, except Cadiz. But, no golf in Spain this time around.

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M and I did play on Friday afternoon here in the Denver area. The temps were in the 50s and the sun was shining. We played a quick 9 holes at our favorite executive course. There were very few folks on the course. The course was quite dry and the tee boxes were beat up. I’m sure once we get closer to Spring the super over there will work on the grass. Shot par on two holes, but I didn’t really keep score anywhere else. Just a friendly game.

Doing some research on golf trips for the winter. The Siena and Arroyo Golf Clubs in Las Vegas, Nevada are running stay-and-play packages for the winter. Stay at the Red Rock Hotel, Spa, and Casino for one night with one round of golf starting at $119 per person. Stay at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino for one night with one round of golf starting at $85 per night. It’s best to call the resorts and confirm the dates, times, and maintenance schedules for the golf course.

M and I are planning a golf outing to warmer climes, probably in March. Keep you posted.

 

 

Applewood Golf Course – in the shadow of the foothills

From the east side of the city, we drove through two separate rain showers before we pulled up to the Applewood Golf Course with the sun shining and the clouds moving off. To the west of Denver and nestled in a Golden neighborhood, Applewood Golf Course is providing golfers with a great budget alternative.

The pro shop is down the hill and round the corner. The staff is pleasant and helpful as they made our tee time, took our money and returned our receipt. We took the code and the advice to wait for the ball machine at the driving range as it pauses between drops. Hitting a few balls on the driving range got us limbered up and ready for the first tee.

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The course is a fairly short, 6188 yards from the back tees and 5386 from the fronts. The longest hole is 529 from those back tees, which means lower handicappers may be able to reach the green in two.

The first hole is a short, straight par four with the driving range along the right side. The second hole is set up behind the green for the first hole and is a par 3. There’s a lake to the right, but it’s not in play. On the third hole, the back tees are set so that player shoot over a swamp onto the fairway. The view through the scrub was intimidating, but our group managed to get over with no problem. Once out on fairway, be aware of stray shots from the other fairways. This hole played slow for us as we waited for folks to retrieve or hit their shots to other fairways.

Applewood Golf Course Hole #1
Applewood Golf Course Hole #1

 

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #2
Applewood Golf Course Hole #2

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #3
Applewood Golf Course Hole #3

Hole #4 is one of the par fives on this course at 458 from the back tees. It’s pretty straight with long rough on the right and hard pack on the left. The fairway went from patchy to soggy on this hole, but there aren’t any other hazards to avoid. Hole #5 is a sharp dogleg right. There’s a large pond on the right that is fenced off and doesn’t belong to the course. There’s also a large tree that sits in the middle of the fairway. Once around the corner, the green is slightly elevated and tend to move left to right.

Applewood Golf Course Hole #4
Applewood Golf Course Hole #4

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #5
Applewood Golf Course Hole #5

 

Hole number 6 is a short par 4 and dogleg left. There’s a bunker guarding the left side of the green, so stay right on the approach. Number 7 is the short par 5 and with a dogleg right around a pond. There’s a lot of tall rough around the pond, so hit towards the tree on the right to avoid the hazard. Once you get a view of the green, notice the small water hazard guarding the green on the left. You’ll want to keep your approach shot to the right.

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Applewood Golf Course Hole #6
Applewood Golf Course Hole #6

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #7
Applewood Golf Course Hole #7

 

Number eight was a fun hole. It’s a short par 4 with a sharp dogleg left that goes uphill after the turn. Low handicappers may be able to hit over the corner and get close to the large green. For those of us that play the fairway, on the way up the hill be aware of the large bunkers guarding the front of the green. The green is also a challenge, moving distinctly down the hill.

Applewood Golf Course Hole #8
Applewood Golf Course Hole #8

Hole #9 is a par 3 over a pond, 203 yards from the back tees and 99 from the fronts. There’s a bit of room to overshoot, but the green is large. Two of the four of us hit the green and were able to par the hole.

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #9
Applewood Golf Course Hole #9

We only had time to play nine on this course. The back nine looks similar to the front, with number 14 another par 3 over a pond. Overall this is a nice course to play. It’s not too difficult and there aren’t a lot of hazards to worry about. For the high handicapper, this course is a good choice. For the long shooter, there are several chances to drive the green and eagle, though play might be a bit slow. The course looked a bit stressed, though the greens were in reasonable shape. It looked like the grounds team was working on replacing some tee boxes around holes 4, 11, and 12. We enjoyed the round enough that we’ll be back to play again.

Applewood Golf Course, 14001 W. 32nd Avenue, Golden, CO  80401. (303) 279-3003, www.applewoodgc.com

 

Golf deals around the world for Spring 2013

It’s snowy and cold here on the Front Range of the Rockies. Golf seems very far away. So, to keep my spirits up and stay warm I’ve been researching a few international golf destinations in sunny locales.

Perusing Golfzoo, I found a great deal on golf at the Costa del Sol, Spain. Stay for seven nights and play five rounds for $945. Play three rounds at Almenara GC, one each at nearby San Roque Club and the Alcaidesa Links GC. This package includes lodging, rental car, and daily breakfast, based on double occupancy. The package is available April 1 through May 30, 2013. Visit Golfzoo.com for more details.

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I’m actually very susceptible to good deals, and even OK deals if the place is interesting. Golfzoo also has a special to Casa de Campo, an All-Inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. For $315 per person/per day, double occupancy, the Casa de Campo Golf Lodge Package includes

  • Four nights at the resort
  • Meals and drinks on the property
  • Unlimited greens fees at The Links course
  • Shared cart for 18 holes per day
  • One round on the Teeth of the Dog course (group forecaddie fee apply)
  • Complimentary use of the practice facility
  • Golf bag storage
  • Transfers from the airports (La Romana, Punta Cana or Santo Domingo)
  • All resort fees and taxes

This package is available from now until April 30, 2013.

I’ve never played in the Caribbean, but I’d love the opportunity to try this out! For a couple to visit for four nights, this totals out to $2520 without the airfare. Airfare from Denver to Santo Domingo runs around $5oo per person. This is not a cheap few days, but it sure sounds fun! If you have more money than I, check out Golfzoo.com for more information.

Just a note – I don’t receive any compensation or consideration from Golfzoo.com. It’s just a good site to find golf deals! Do you travel out of the United States (or wherever you live) to play golf? Where? Let us know!

P.S. What is a forecaddie fee? 🙂

 

 

Golf in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

It’s been busy here in the Rocky Mountain west. Fall has arrived, and with it, the first snowstorm. Golf is on hold for us here on the Front Range for awhile, but not further south.

I spent last week in Puerto Vallarta with some girlfriends. It was a pleasure to lounge by the pool and generally not do anything too difficult. We also played golf twice while we were there. We played the El Tigre course, which is actually in Nuevo Vallarta. We rented nearly new TaylorMade clubs at the course. On our way there, our driver mentioned that we may not be able to play the back nine because of the torrential rains the night before. Several of the holes were flooded.

By the time we got to the course, we were told “cart path only” for the entire front nine. Even though we play pretty well, it’s still a major pain to stay on the cart path on the long holes. Drive, get out and look, nope, walk back to the cart, drive, walk out to the fairway, look, walk back to the cart, get a club. Yuck!

By the time we got to the back nine, we were set to play those holes, and we could actually get in the fairway with the carts. That made the game go a bit faster.

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We also had a chance to play the Vidanta course, which is associated with the Grand Mayan properties. The cost? One hour in timeshare hell, with breakfast and two hours touring amazing properties. It was worth it! This course requires a cart and a caddie. My friend and I had never played with a caddie before, but we wouldn’t mind doing it again! It sure makes the game go faster when you’re not running back and forth to the cart for clubs.

I’m still working on the photos from the trip. Do you play golf when you vacation?

Golf vacations and Costa Rica

The first week of April, I visited Costa Rica with a college girlfriend. The trip was a girl’s yoga getaway and a chance for both of us to wind down from hectic careers. Initially, I thought I might want to check out a few golf courses while there. It turned out that wasn’t practical, since we didn’t rent a car, and the resort where we stayed didn’t often have guests that played. Costa Rica isn’t blessed with an abundance of courses. My friend and I were in Guanacaste Province, which has 5 of the 12 golf courses in the country. I just didn’t find the time between the surfing lessons and the zipline tour to visit the golf course. We spent one night in San Jose, the capital, which boasts 5 courses, but weren’t there long enough to find the courses. Our flight was very early next morning.

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As my friend and I were headed home after 8 adventure-filled days, I began to think about how my vacation time is divided. Boomergolfbliss.com is not my full-time job, and the Job comes with a specific allocation of vacation time. Taking a golf vacation takes different planning than a non-golf vacation. When planning a golf vacation, my husband and I think harder about driving versus flying. If we’re flying, are we taking our clubs? If so, can Southwest Airlines get us there – they don’t charge for golf bags. If we take our clubs, we want to play at least twice while we’re there. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem worth it.

We have gone on trips where we didn’t intend to play any golf, but ended up renting or borrowing clubs and playing anyway. I’ve had mixed experiences with renting and borrowing clubs. I rented in Puerto Vallarta at El Tigre and nearly bought the set when I was done. They were a high-end Callaway, and I played very well with them. I’ve also rented some awful equipment and borrowed worse. I don’t find it much fun to play with awful equipment.

I would like to go back to Costa Rica and play the courses. The people were very hospitable and the country is beautiful. I can only imagine that the golf courses, particularly at the Four Seasons and the Marriott, are beautiful as well. I would like to find out!

Have you played any courses in Costa Rica? Is it worth going back for the golf? Let me know!