My mates over here were trying to look after me, and made quite a few suggestions as to where I should play today
I opted for Pradera because it wasn't too far to drive from Denver (40 Minutes), and because I wanted to see some of Jim Engh's design work..
I thought I was booked to fly solo, but ended up playing with John, Paul, and Dewey- 3 local regulars who just loved their golf.
They were all characters, and very eager to show off the course they knew so well
It was a perfect 26 degrees without wind, so it all made for a good day
Jim Engh designed The Club at Pradera in 2004, and being a Colorado local keeps his eye on it's progress.
What struck me first was the feel of the place- after playing at clubs frequented by the well heeled, Pradera was a contrast- it was a club for the local businessman.
Rather than have caddies etc, I was back to heartbeat of American golf.
We even had piped music on the range..
Pradera is in the beginnings of the hill country at the edge of the plains, and looks quite dramatic with strips of green fairway amid the more desert like terrain.
And there was some pretty dramatic elevation changes!
Initially I was unimpressed- the bunkering with heavy grass facing looked contrived, and most of the greens were in bowls
It just looked and felt artificial
But as the round progressed we encountered some unique and quirky holes which really engage the golfer.
I didn't particularly like the way the course has been finished off (bunkering, mounding etc), but the routing works, and the strategies are sound.
Questions are asked each hole with split fairways, semi blind shots, and short 4's with hazards in play
I began to loosen up and enjoy myself and my playing partners warmed to my off beat sense of humour.
So we all had a good time!
Notable holes include:
- hole 5, a short, strategic par 4 with no greeenside bunkers and green in a bowl
- hole 6, a short par 4 from an elevated tee to another bowl shaped green
- hole 7, an amazing par 5 with alternate fairways and an island green in a desert sea (see pic mid page)
- hole 8, a pretty par 3 over a pond
- hole 10, a short quirky par 4 to an elevated green
- hole 11, a strong dogleg par 4 around a lake
- hole 15, a gorgeous par 3 over water
- hole 16, a long par 5 off an extremely high tee- the landing are is littered with bunkers, so pick your line and commit!
Despite my initial misgivings, The Club at Pradera won me over. I enjoyed myself.
And from personal experience I know the members love it- it certainly is fun to play
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