Only a few Colorado courses may make the must-play list for your average golfer — Fossil Trace, Sanctuary, Bear Dance, Arrowhead, et al. — and each serves as an excellent example of what golf in the mile high state is all about. But there are countless other tributes to Colorado golf that remain lesser-known, their rich histories and truly breath-taking landscapes lying just outside the scope of the mainstream. Perry Park Country Club (7046 Perry Park Blvd., Larkspur, perryparkcc.com) is one such course.
A short, scenic drive off I-25, between the town of Monument and Castle Rock, Perry Park easily rivals Arrowhead, its famous red rock counterpart in the north. Views, views, views — that’s what Perry is all about — the track plays along stunning rock formations jutting from the manicured grounds in the foothills of the Rockies.
If the superlative conditions and country club amenities are what you call the icing on the cake, the sprinkles would be the property’s rich, and awesome, history — we’ll have more on that in a future post, but we can say if you’re one for western lore, Perry Park is your new favorite track (read: stagecoach stop, Pony Express, Native American glyphs, etc.) If that doesn’t do it for you, how about multiple 2017 Golf Advisor Magazine reader’s choice CAGGY award winner, including “Most Underrated Private Club”?
As our quest to crash the perfect Colorado country club continues, a CGB threesome took to the track upon an invite, and it was love at first sight.
Perry does not hold back its beauty — a commanding rock outcropping known as Sentinel Rock serves as the focal point of the view, from the clubhouse all the way to the no.1 green. An aggressive line down the 381-yard par 4 will buy you time to snap plenty of photos. Starting off in the red is definitely possible here, that is, with a soft hand good reads on the green — they only get tougher.
Scoring opportunities are dotted aplenty throughout the layout, though, the Dick Phelps design has very well placed hazards, and fairway movements that can definitely throw a wrench in your plans. The no.2 par 5, at 533 yards, serves as another scoring opportunity, as well as your first introduction to some of the striking rock formations serving as your peanut gallery.
Colorado is known for its red rocks, it’s our thing. (Did you know: That’s why the state is named Colorado (color red) and why Red Rocks Amphitheater is called Red Rocks, duh). It’s difficult to put this kind of beauty into words, these formations have been here for eons yet never look the same, and only become more stunning with every glance.
Don’t get too distracted, though, this layout isn’t just a walk in the park. Errant shots will start to add up here and it’s not a scrambler’s course — the tree-lined fairways run close together when not winding through the wooded residential area.
After the difficult yet picturesque par 3 at no.5, it’s a downhill run back towards the massive reservoir in the middle of the property. When we say you’re playing against the gorgeous red rock formations, we mean it — a hosel rocket could ricochet of the face and back into yours.
The 447-yard par 4 at no. 10 mimics its no.1 neighbor, playing directly into Sentinel Rock, but look for a little bonus in an ancient cave rests just behind the no.10 tee box and some spelunking after the turn. Trace more of your footsteps on the par 5, 514-yard at no.11 before breaking away from the bulk of the layout. The par 3 no.12 is a deceivingly difficult welcome to the other side of the track. Distance is key to keep the ball below the hole on the back-to-front sloped green on the other side of the water hazard, but anything too low is set to roll off the dance floor if not into a bunker.
No.s 13 and 14 make way for what may be one of the most enjoyable last legs we’ve played on the front range. The 418-yard, par 4 no.15 doglegs back towards the southernmost rock ridge — long hitters can aim low by cutting the corner and setting up a short approach to the downhill green. And 16 delivers another spectacular view of the red rocks, foreshadowing the arresting view from the no.17 tee box. The 222-yard par 3 is a difficult hole, shots guarded by strategically placed trees and a sand trap waiting to catch anything deep, but none of that matters when you’re teeing off within arm’s reach of the red rocks. (Play your scoring ball from your assigned tee then hit another one from against the rocks.)
Perry Park’s finale is awe-inspiring. Scoring doesn’t really matter at the 409-yard par 4, either — take it all in while you can. 18 delivers a taste of everything Perry Park’s setting has to offer, crossing the water (optional) and unveiling a stunning view of the property on its way back uphill towards the no.1 tee box. A bailout fairway rests on the other side of the reservoir pond from the tee, but playing from here makes this short hole a lot longer. The 18th green is protected by four bunkers surrounding it from all sides, and hosts a final glimpse of Sentinel Rock.
There are plenty of reasons why must-play courses are sometimes relegated to the “in our dreams” category. Perry Park itself is a members-only club, though it offers some of the most competitive and reasonable pricing options available, especially considering the caliber of the track. Facing water driving ranges, a picturesque practice green, and well-minded amenities round out Perry Park’s golf offerings, not mentioning the dining, events and other club features, all adding to the lure of this kind of country club lifestyle. Add Perry to your list of must-play Colorado courses, and if ever you have a chance to spend a day in the Park, don’t sleep on it.