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Pick 2 out of Bear Dance, Ridge @ Castle Pines, and Fossil Trace


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#1 AU94CMK

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 08:17 AM

After several years of looking at Colorado for our annual golf trip, we are finally heading there in early July. Here's our itinerary, most of which is set at this point:

Friday - fly in to Den a.m., play Bear Dance
Sat - Raven @ Three Peaks (plus a replay)
Sun - Sonnenalp & Red Sky (Fazio) (or Eagle Vail if we can't get on to Red Sky)
Mon - Breckenridge (27 holes)
Tue - Keystone River & Ranch
Wed - Fossil Trace, then fly out of Den p.m.

The only thing we're thinking about at this point is subbing in Ridge @ Castle Pines for Fossil Trace or Bear Dance. I've read great things about Bear Dance, so don't want to really give it up. We could play the Ridge on the morning of our departure, but we're staying in Silverado, and that means getting up 30 minutes earlier and bringing more traffic into play on our departure day. Plus, we don't really want to give up on Fossil Trace either as we've heard good things as well, and have liked other Jim Engh layouts we've played.

So, out of those 3, which two would you pick, and why?


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#2 TheKrushh

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 06:23 PM

Bear Dance for sure. Fossil Trace is cool and unique but is definitely a weird golf course. Fossil Trace will pair nicer with the mountain courses so I'd keep it as is. Have fun!
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#3 jdcadkin

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 10:30 PM

Bear Dance over Ridge for sure.  Ridge is fun, but has a few quirky holes and lots of houses.  Bear Dance is the all around better course.

If youre cool with Jim Engh courses playing Fossil Trace, as opposed to Ridge, makes sense on your way out of town.  Its a very unique course.  Looks a lot harder than it plays, but its really a target golf style layout.  Fun course, crazy greens and bunkers.  Save yourself the traffic driving down south.
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#4 divebreck

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 10:38 PM

For sure Bear Dance and Fossil Trace. You will love Breckenridge

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#5 gmetcalf18

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 12:51 PM

Bear Dance is a must play, Fossil Trace was OK but if I had to choose between the two nix Fossil Trace I wish I played the ridge at Castle Pines instead once I left Fossil Trace. With that being said Fossil Trace IS NOT a bad course, but compared to what is around it (within an hour) I would have FT be a back up plan to the other courses you have listed.

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#6 sabram

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 08:18 AM

Here are links to photo tours of your three choices. They are three pretty different courses. I'd probably skip the Ridge based on your driving route. I hate to add another suggestion, but you could replace Fossil Trace with Common Ground as your last round. Common Ground doesn't have the eye candy that your other courses have but it probably has the best greens and bunkering of the bunch and it's convenient to DIA

https://www.flickr.c...57631939415292/  Fossil Trace Photos

https://www.flickr.c...57631924335593/  Bear Dance Photos

https://www.flickr.c...ith/8153617108/  Ridge @ Castle Pines photos

https://www.flickr.c...57631924493031/  Common Ground photos


Posted Image
Fossil Trace #2 from tee


Posted Image
Fossil Trace #10 from tee - rev


Posted Image
Fossil Trace #12 pitch to green



Posted Image
Bear Dance #4 from tee


Posted Image
Bear Dance #6 from tee


Posted Image
Bear Dance #16 elevated tee shot


Posted Image
Ridge @ Castle Pines #9 view back up fairway


Posted Image
Ridge @ Castle Pines #16 view back to tee


Posted Image
Ridge @ Castle Pines #18 from middle tee



Posted Image
Common Ground #4 from tee 107


Posted Image
Common Ground #6 par 3 147 yards


Posted Image
Common Ground #12 par 3 over marshland 219 from tips


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#7 AU94CMK

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 02:26 PM

Thanks for all the input! Just found out that Fossil Trace has a tournament on the day we were going to play, so its looking like the Ridge at this point.

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#8 RobotDoctor

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 11:57 AM

I would pick Bear Dance and The Ridge at Castle Pines as the two I would play.  That said, for the round before flying out you may want to consider Riverdale Dunes Golf Course in Brighton.  It is close to the airport and is a terrific track, hosting the 1993 US Public Links Championship.  While I am not a huge Pete Dye fan I really do like this course.
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#9 wfwp

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 12:03 PM

Bear Dance and The Ridge
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#10 AU94CMK

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 01:23 PM

OK, just to throw a wrench in the works, I know that Arrowhead seems to generally be less popular on this forum, but would we want to play it instead of The Ridge for the views alone, or will we be giving up a much better golf experience if we didn't play the Ridge? If we did Arrowhead, we would do that Friday afternoon and pickup Bear Dance Wed morning before we fly out.

And while I appreciate all the great suggestions on courses like Riverdale Dunes and Common Ground, we really are looking for a wow factor and a golf experience unique to Colorado. Would we have those on those course vs the ones I'm looking at currently? No doubt they'd be excellent courses...


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#11 sabram

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 08:34 PM

If you are looking for eye candy, it's hard to beat Arrowhead.

https://www.flickr.c...157631922021919  Arrowhead photo tour

Posted Image
Arrowhead #10 from fairway


Posted Image
Arrowhead #2


Posted Image
Arrowhead #4 pitch to green


Posted Image
Arrowhead #5 from tee


Posted Image
Arrowhead #11 par 3


Posted Image
Arrowhead #13par 3 from left side of tee box


Posted Image
Arrowhead #13 from back right of green


Posted Image
Arrowhead #16 view from left side of green


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#12 pseudoswede

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 12:50 PM

View PostAU94CMK, on 15 May 2018 - 01:23 PM, said:

OK, just to throw a wrench in the works, I know that Arrowhead seems to generally be less popular on this forum, but would we want to play it instead of The Ridge for the views alone, or will we be giving up a much better golf experience if we didn't play the Ridge? If we did Arrowhead, we would do that Friday afternoon and pickup Bear Dance Wed morning before we fly out.

And while I appreciate all the great suggestions on courses like Riverdale Dunes and Common Ground, we really are looking for a wow factor and a golf experience unique to Colorado. Would we have those on those course vs the ones I'm looking at currently? No doubt they'd be excellent courses...

When deciding between Fossil Trace, Arrowhead, and The Ridge, I would pick one. They all have very unique views and exemplify unique Front Range golf courses.

For views alone, I would rate them Arrowhead, The Ridge, then Fossil Trace (IMO, it only really gets wow-y on the back 9).

For a combined golf/views "value", I would rate them The Ridge, Fossil Trace, then Arrowhead.

Just another thing to consider: I'm not sure when your flights are on Wednesday, but unless you're willing to shell out the $$ for the toll road (C-470), traffic starts to get really bad around 3pm; which means having to leave for the airport by 2:15pm if playing at Arrowhead; 2:30pm for the The Ridge; and maybe 1:30pm if playing Bear Dance.

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#13 AU94CMK

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 12:04 PM

View Postpseudoswede, on 17 May 2018 - 12:50 PM, said:

View PostAU94CMK, on 15 May 2018 - 01:23 PM, said:

OK, just to throw a wrench in the works, I know that Arrowhead seems to generally be less popular on this forum, but would we want to play it instead of The Ridge for the views alone, or will we be giving up a much better golf experience if we didn't play the Ridge? If we did Arrowhead, we would do that Friday afternoon and pickup Bear Dance Wed morning before we fly out.

And while I appreciate all the great suggestions on courses like Riverdale Dunes and Common Ground, we really are looking for a wow factor and a golf experience unique to Colorado. Would we have those on those course vs the ones I'm looking at currently? No doubt they'd be excellent courses...

When deciding between Fossil Trace, Arrowhead, and The Ridge, I would pick one. They all have very unique views and exemplify unique Front Range golf courses.

For views alone, I would rate them Arrowhead, The Ridge, then Fossil Trace (IMO, it only really gets wow-y on the back 9).

For a combined golf/views "value", I would rate them The Ridge, Fossil Trace, then Arrowhead.

Just another thing to consider: I'm not sure when your flights are on Wednesday, but unless you're willing to shell out the $$ for the toll road (C-470), traffic starts to get really bad around 3pm; which means having to leave for the airport by 2:15pm if playing at Arrowhead; 2:30pm for the The Ridge; and maybe 1:30pm if playing Bear Dance.

Thanks - good info!

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#14 TheKrushh

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 05:04 PM

Wow-factor being the highest priority, I would select arrowhead over the ridge. I think the golf, generally speaking, is weaker but the views are incredible. I call it an instagram course where you will get awesome pictures.

My progression when I have people in from out of town is bear dance, arrowhead, highlands ranch (home course), the ridge and don't tend to venture much further than this.
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#15 RobotDoctor

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:45 PM

Green Valley Ranch isn't too bad of a course and it's close to DIA.

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#16 cubuffs

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 10:08 AM

Great recommendations above and the good news is that you won't go wrong with any of the choices - you have a great schedule.  My opinion - I would play Arrowhead over the Ridge.

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#17 AU94CMK

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 07:49 AM

As an update, we ended up playing The Ridge on our departure day, and it did not disappoint. The greens were absolutely incredible - smooth and fast. The teeing surfaces were some of the best wed ever seen. Overall course conditions were very high.

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