The perils of Pine Creek Golf Club

This is why we play golf. Pine Creek Golf Club (9850 Divot Trail, pinecreekgc.com), on the north side of Colorado Springs, is a fantastic, two-for-one challenge fit for average to intermediate players. The front and back nine of this 7,241-yard (from the tips) tout two very different layouts; the front a self described “canyon” style course, the back being a more traditional links style layout.

Neither nine is easy, be prepared for a challenge on every hole. You’ll get a little taste of every kind of hazard, from ponds and bunkers to thick native grasses and meandering creek beds spread througout the course. If you end up in any of them, good luck. This is not a friendly course, you’ll want to use every trick in your bag to keep your ball playable.

Pine Creek Golf Club
Sunrise on the massive bunker welcoming players to the No. 1 green.

The trouble starts early at the 412-yard par-4 no. 1. The dog-legged fairway is protected by a narrow opening, lined on the left side by a thick natural hazard blocking your view to the green, and another hazard the right. Once you do lay eyes on the slightly elevated island green, you’ll have to decide how to deal with the mammoth bunker looming at the end of the fairway. Don’t expect a reprieve before the turn. The rest of the front plays similar to no. 1 — long, tight, and with difficult elevation changes.

The par four 419-yard no. 9, one of the hardest holes on the course, doesn’t do you any favors either. Another long, dog-legged fairway hides the green from the tee. And thoughts of an aggressive shot to the left side of the fairway — playing the inside curve of the dog leg — should be put to rest by more thick hazard, and a strategically placed tree protecting the inside line to the green.

The view from the no.16 green offers a little reprieve from the struggle on the course.
The view from the no. 7 green offers a little reprieve from the struggle on the course.

After the turn, you’ll find yourself on an entirely different course. That doesn’t mean that it’s any easier, mind, but new challenge is still refreshing… in a way.

The 412-yard par-4 no. 10 fairway is split in two by the creek bed — long hitters may consider playing less-than-driver off the tee to avoid any close calls. No. 11 and no. 12 run alongside the water hazard, playing long and fairly tight, followed by one of the easiest holes on the course, the no. 13 par-3.

The toughest stretch on the front comes via holes 14, 15, and 16, a dog leg par-4, a hazard happy par-5, and a signature par-3, respectively. No. 14 takes players back over the creek from the tee, following a constant curve to the green set near the no. 3 tee boxes, protected by several bunkers and undulations on the frontside.

No. 15 demands accuracy from tee to green, with little room for error between a natural hazard running the length of the hole on the right, and houses on the left. No. 16 is innocent looking enough, but a decorative pond, the creek, and surrounding houses are magnets for errant tee shots. Depending on the pin placement, aggressive shots will get you in trouble.

A look at the no.6 green, fairway, and pond from the green side rough on no.7.
A glimpse of the no. 15 green, and the decorative pond from the green side rough on no. 16.

Players face one final uphill challenge on no. 17 par-4 before closing the round on the beautiful 18th. An elevated tee shot does your confidence wonders on this par four. Take straight aim at the clubhouse set above the green — catch the hill at the bottom of the fairway for real ego boost. The approach to the green will play a little longer as you’re working your way back uphill. Depending on the lie you may not have a view of your landing on the green, don’t fly it and spoil this ending.

Green fees start around $29 for nine holes and as low as $30 for 18 — prices vary throughout the day (find updated pricing and tee times here) — making Pine Creek one of the more relatively expensive courses in the area. But the experience is certainly worth it.

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