The Broadmoor, Mountain * * * * 1/2
Completing an arc begun as an amateur, Jack Nicklaus returned to the Broadmoor as an architect in 2003. His charge was to completely redesign the Mountain course, which had been chewed up by underground springs and erosion. The course reopened last year, and it’s safe to say that the Golden Bear triumphed again, adding penal rough and meaty shoulders to a site that clings to the side of Cheyenne Mountain. Despite opening with a string of five par fours, the course bucks and kicks with such variety that it never gets monotonous—and never lets up. Bunkers gape from the landing areas, and greens shed approaches that have the misfortune of finding the wrong tier. Architects: Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, 1975; Jack Nicklaus, 2006. Yardage: 7,637. Par: 72. Slope: 149. Greens Fee: $190. Contact: 4325 South Club Drive, Colorado Springs; 800-634-7711, broadmoor.com.
Golf Club at Redlands Mesa * * * * 1/2
Architect Jim Engh’s Redlands Mesa course almost appears to be painted onto the rock formations adjacent to Colorado National Monument. Tee boxes sit atop mesas, the fairways jounce and worm between ochre outcroppings, and the greens hang in box canyons, protected by bunkers. Redlands Mesa is friendlier to the camera than it is to the player, especially one who fears heights or plays from the wrong set of markers. If you fail to drive deep enough into the landing areas, you’ll often face a blind second shot, possibly over boulders. All that said, the amazing setting makes this one of the most enjoyable courses in the state.Architects: Jim Engh, 2001. Yardage: 7,007. Par: 72. Slope: 137. Greens Fee: $100. Contact: 2325 West Ridges Boulevard, Grand Junction; 866-863-9270, redlandsmesa.com.
Raven Golf Club At Three Peaks * * * * 1/2
Tom Lehman’s runner-up performance in last year’s International at Castle Pines showed the world what golfers in Colorado already knew: The guy knows his way around a mountain course. More than just a name attached to the project, Lehman worked with Hurdzan/Fry to create a tight, inventively bunkered and tree-lined beauty that crouches below thirteen-thousand-foot peaks and yields views of the Gore and Williams Fork ranges. The front nine, which climaxes with a downhill 514-yard par-four ego booster, stokes you for a brutal back nine. Architects: Hurdzan/Fry and Tom Lehman, 2001.Yardage: 7,413. Par: 72. Slope: 142. Greens Fee: $139. Contact: 2929 Golden Eagle Road, Silverthorne; 970-262-3636, ravengolf.com.
Red Sky Golf Club, Norman * * * * 1/2
There might be no better poster child for exquisite mountain golf than Red Sky’s Norman and Fazio courses. Both loom high above the valley amid serrated peaks. The Norman is the tougher of the two, an alpine brute with canted fairways lined by nests of bunkers leading to heaving greens. Your hybrids and fairway woods will get a workout—four of the par fours max out at more than 450 yards—as will your wedges when you scramble to get up and down. If your game needs a fix, don’t despair: There’s a David Leadbetter academy here. Architect: Greg Norman, 2003. Yardage: 7,580. Par: 72. Slope: 144. Greens Fee: $240. Contact: 1099 Red Sky Road, Wolcott; 866-873-3759, redskygolfclub.com.