Pine Creek Golf Club9850 Divot Trail, pinecreekgc.com
This is why we play golf. Pine Creek Golf Club, 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 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 throughout 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.
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.
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 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.
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.