Best public golf courses in Denver

Denver, Colorado, is a city sitting a mile high, cradled in the arms of the Rocky Mountains, and breathes life into a dynamic, diverse, and deeply rooted golfing culture. Denver’s connection with golf dates back to the late 19th century, when pioneers of the sport first tamed the wild Colorado terrain to carve out rudimentary golf courses.

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These passionate pioneers were fueled by a vision to transform Denver into a hub of golfing excellence in the American West. By 1895, their dream had begun to take shape with the formation of the Denver Country Club, laying the foundation for Denver’s rich golfing heritage.

The evolution of golf in Denver since then has been remarkable. Let’s dive into reviews of public golf courses to show you where to enjoy time with friends or family.

Top 10 public courses in Denver

Arrowhead Golf Club

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Arrowhead is nestled in the Rocky Mountain foothills, just south of Denver in Littleton. This enchanting course was built and designed in 1972 by a father-son duo Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Robert Trent Jones Sr. They carved the golf club from an extraordinary landscape of red sandstone rock formations that are said to be over 300 million years old. It’s worth noting that you’ll share the course with wildlife, including foxes, elk, and deer.

The par-70 6,36 golf course offers challenging play that will test even the most experienced golfers yet is accessible to beginners. The 13th hole, a par-3, is the signature hole in the golf club. The hole causes many golfers to second-guess the club to use. At the same time, the steep downhill has a beautiful view, and it is easy to spot a wily fox that lives next to the tee box.

Arrowhead Golf Club provides more than a game; it offers a journey through time and a breathtaking connection with the earth’s history. The combination of incredible natural beauty, challenging play, and world-class facilities makes this course a must-play for any serious golf enthusiast.

Fossil Trace Golf Club

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Fossil Trace Golf Club, located in the heart of Golden, 20 minutes from downtown Denver, offers golfers an extraordinary blend of natural beauty, history, and modern golf course design.

Established in 2003 and masterfully designed by renowned architect Jim Engh, Fossil Trace has fast become one of Denver’s most celebrated public golf courses. The course’s name echoes the rich prehistoric heritage of the land on which it is built.

As players traverse the 18-hole course, they can observe real dinosaur fossils and triceratops footprints embedded in the rocks around the 12th hole – a nod to when these majestic creatures roamed the landscape some 64 million years ago.

Before the creation of the golf course, the land was part of the Clay Mining and Manufacturing operations, which contributed to the local economy of Golden for close to a century. Remnants of this industrial past, such as the large brick chimney in hole 1, have been preserved and incorporated into the course design, adding another layer to the course’s rich historical tapestry.

The Ridge at Castle Pines North

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Situated just south of Denver in Castle Rock, The Ridge at Castle Pines North is a golfing oasis that embodies Colorado’s rugged charm and natural beauty.

Designed by the acclaimed golf architect Tom Weiskopf and opened in 1997, this course has consistently been recognized among Colorado’s top golf destinations by Golf Magazine, Golf Advisor, and Golf Digest.

The Ridge spans 7,103 yards from the back tees and is a par-71 course. Its layout weaves through an undulating landscape of Ponderosa pines, oak-lined ridges, and native grass valleys. With four sets of tees, golfers of all skill levels can enjoy a challenging and rewarding experience at The Ridge. The par-4 15th hole has a tall Ponderosa pine in the middle of the fairway.

In addition to its natural allure and challenging play, The Ridge at Castle Pines North also provides golfers with world-class amenities. The clubhouse, pro shop, and on-site dining offer a level of service and quality that match the high standards of the course itself.

Fox Hollow Golf Course

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Set in the stunning landscape of Lakewood, only a stone’s throw away from downtown Denver lies Fox Hollow Golf Course – a venue that embodies the spirit of golf in the Centennial State.

Fox Hollow is the brainchild of Denis Griffiths and was opened in 1993. This unique golfing venue was one of the first courses in the country to be designed in an environmentally responsive way. Griffiths crafted a layout that worked harmoniously with the existing topography, preserving wetlands, enhancing wildlife habitats, and incorporating over 2.5 miles of streams into the course design.

Fox Hollow offers an impressive 27-hole layout, divided into three unique nine-hole courses: The Canyon, The Meadows, and The Links. Each nine offers a different golfing experience, capturing the diversity of the Colorado landscape.

The Canyon course, for instance, winds through Lakewood Gulch, offering an array of elevation changes that will challenge even seasoned golfers. The Meadows is true to its name, unfolding across rolling plains with expansive views of the Rocky Mountains, while The Links presents a traditional Scottish-style golfing experience.

The Canyon’s 6th hole is a standout, a par-4 that demands precision. It requires golfers to navigate a dramatic dog leg right, bounded by water on the right and out-of-bounds on the left.

The Fox Hollow Golf Course is deeply woven into the local community’s fabric, maintaining a long-standing tradition of junior golf programs. This commitment to fostering the next generation of golfers underlines the club’s forward-looking approach, as it keeps an eye on the future while remaining grounded in the sport’s tradition.

CommonGround Golf Course

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Situated in Aurora, just a short drive east of Denver’s city center, lies CommonGround Golf Course. The course was built in 1972 and redesigned in 2009 by Tom Doak with the help of Jim Urbina, Bruce Hepner, and Eric Iverson.

Renowned for his minimalist design approach, Doak revitalized the former Lowry Air Force Base golf course, creating a public golf facility that blends with modern architectural thinking.

CommonGround is a par-71 course that stretches over 7,229 yards from the championship tees. The course is characterized by its wide fairways and large, undulating greens, which allow playability for newcomers and strategic depth for more experienced golfers.

One particularly memorable hole is the 16th, a long par-4 that offers panoramic views of the downtown Denver skyline and demands both distance and precision.

In addition to the main course, CommonGround features a magnificent short course consisting of 9 par-3 holes. Known as the Kid’s Course, it provides a nurturing environment for juniors and beginners to develop their skills and deepen their love for the game.

City Park Golf Course

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City Park Golf Course is situated in the heart of Denver and serves as a gateway between bustling urban life and the serene enjoyment of golf.

City Park Golf Course was established in 1920 but underwent a major redesign by the celebrated golf architect Todd Schoeder, reopening in 2020. Their design merges modern golf architecture with the classic park-style layout, creating a course that is engaging for golfers and integrates seamlessly with the broader public park.

Covering 6,703 yards from the back tees, the par-70 course offers a challenging yet rewarding golfing experience. It features wide fairways, expansive greens, and a variety of strategic bunkering, ensuring that each hole presents a unique challenge to golfers of all levels.

The course is located five minutes from Denver and is a stone’s throw away from the Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Natural History.

Willis Case Golf Course

Willis Case Golf Course is located in the historic Berkeley neighborhood of Denver. Established in 1928, Willis Case Golf Course has a rich history deeply intertwined with Denver’s. The course was named in honor of Willis Case, a former Denver mayor known for his dedication to enhancing the city’s recreational offerings.

This par-72 course spans 6,306 yards from the back tees and blends park-style and links-style holes. The mature tree-lined fairways and well-maintained greens create a strategic yet visually appealing golf experience. Willis Case is particularly known for its excellent walkability, inviting golfers to stroll as they enjoy their round.

One of the distinctive features of Willis Case is its views of the Rocky Mountains, especially from the 12th hole, a long par-5. The mountain vistas serve as a striking backdrop, adding an element of grandeur to every round.

Wellshire Golf Course

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Wellshire Golf Course, located in southern Denver, is a cherished course that provides a challenging and enjoyable golfing experience for players of all abilities.

The legendary golf course architect Donald Ross designed the course in 1926. He is known for iconic courses like Pinehurst No. 2 and Seminole Golf Club. Ross’s design ethos, which focused on creating challenging but fair courses that blend with their natural surroundings, is evident in every aspect of Wellshire.

This 18-hole par-70 course stretches 6,659 yards from the championship tees and is characterized by tree-lined fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and challenging green complexes. One standout hole is the 14th, a par-5 that requires accurate shot placement due to a dogleg left fairway and a well-guarded green.

In the 1980s, the course was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, cementing its status as a vital piece of Denver’s cultural heritage. The clubhouse, originally built in 1927, is a Tudor-style building that harks back to the golden age of golf and adds to the course’s unique charm.

Kennedy Golf Course

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Located in the southeast area of Denver, Kennedy Golf Course is a bustling, multi-faceted golf facility that caters to golfers of every level, age, and interest.

Kennedy Golf Course, opened in 1962, is one of Denver’s most diverse golf offerings, with three 18-hole regulation courses. The courses are Babe Lind, Creek, and West, and a par-3 course, the Overland Course.

Apart from golf, Kennedy’s recreational offerings include Foot Golf, a unique fusion of soccer and golf, underscoring its commitment to providing varied and innovative experiences for its patrons.

Kennedy Golf Course has a rich history of promoting junior golf, hosting numerous junior golf programs and events throughout the year. These efforts reflect the course’s enduring commitment to cultivating the next generation of golfers.

Evergreen Golf Course

image of evergreen golf course - AEC InfoSituated in the tranquil mountain town of Evergreen, just a short drive west of downtown Denver, lies Evergreen Golf Course.

This 18-hole executive course was established in 1926, making it one of the oldest golf courses in Denver’s mountainous region. Its 5,011-yard par-69 layout is unique, presenting a charming mix of par-3 and par-4 holes that are fun and challenging for golfers of all abilities.

The par-4 10th hole is a noteworthy challenge. This dogleg left requires an accurate tee shot to avoid out-of-bounds on the right, followed by an approach shot to a green guarded by trees and a creek on the left. Its picturesque setting and strategic demands make it a memorable part of a round at Evergreen.

Beyond the course itself, Evergreen’s charming log cabin clubhouse, dating back to the 1920s, adds a rustic charm and historical depth to the golfing experience. Moreover, the course’s management by Denver Parks and Recreation attests to its commitment to ecological sustainability and public accessibility.

Bottom line

Denver’s public golf courses testify to the city’s rich golfing heritage, diverse landscapes, and commitment to the sport. From the stunning geological formations at Arrowhead to the serene mountain retreat at Evergreen, these courses offer golfers an array of unique and memorable experiences.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer seeking a new challenge or a beginner looking to take up the sport, Denver’s public golf courses invite you to immerse yourself in the world of golf, all against the inspiring backdrop of the Mile-High City.

Want to visit more public golf courses across the US? See our review of public golf courses in different cities: