There are a number of golf courses in our beautiful state that I refer to as “Gems of Colorado”. Many of these are excellent tracks that are located in smaller towns, or are a little bit more off the main highways than some folks would normally venture. One such course that I recently played is the Pagosa Springs Golf Club. This one fits into the “great course in a small town” category.
Pagosa Springs is located on US Hwy. 160 about 250 miles southwest from Colorado Springs. It is just west of Wolf Creek Pass, and about an hour shy of Durango. The course sits right off the north side of the highway at the west end of town. Pagosa Springs is a 27-hole facility, which allows for flexibility in tee times, and a different layout for golfers who play on consecutive days.
Johnny Bulla is the course architect, and the first nine holes, now known as the Pinon course, opened in July of 1973. About five years later the Ponderosa nine was completed. These two layouts wind through forest settings, and have quite a bit of elevation change as you make your way through. In the late 80s the Meadows course was built. This nine is relatively flat, with no trees really, but water, which comes into play on about five holes. This nine also has a bit more distance from greens to tees, as it passes through some condos and time-share properties.
Par at Pagosa Springs is 71/72, depending on which two nines are in the main rotation on a particular day. The course length from the back tees runs from about 6,550 yards to 7,150 yards, again dependant on course pairings. Generally 27-hole facilities operate on a three-day rotation for their 18-hole setup, but Pagosa Springs does things a little differently. “Most people want to play the mountain pairing of Pinon/Ponderosa,” according to general manager/head professional Troy Persson. “So we run that combination every other day. So if you want to play nine those days, you get Meadows. It didn’t take me long to figure out we could get more play if we did it that way. Eighty to eighty-five percent of our play in peak season are tourists, and they want to play the mountain courses.”
Persson has been at Pagosa since 2007, and like most mountain courses, they operate on a tiered green fee system. “We have three seasons. The price is range is $25 to $79 during the course of the year,” he explained. Those prices are with golf cart included. They normally operate from April 1 through November 15. However, they have been open through Thanksgiving the past four years. “We get about 250 rounds per day during the summer months. But when the tourists leave after Labor Day, we drop to about 100.”
So now would be a great time for front range golfers to head that way. Mid-price rates will kick in after September 15. Then the low-price season will be in effect from October 15 until closing. “October is brilliant here, with the colors and all that,” Persson said. And of course, like all mountain courses in Colorado, the views are tremendous, regardless of the time of year.
Pagosa Springs has a spanking new bar/grill that can meet all your post-round needs. The course website, www.golfpagosa.com, has all the information you need, including various specials, and how to get a free round of golf for your birthday. You can also ring them up at 970-731-4755.
If you have never been to Pagosa Springs, or maybe have not ventured that way in some time, I highly recommend the trip. From Colorado Springs there are three or four routes you can take going and coming. And Wolf Creek Pass is much more easily traversed than it was, say, twenty years ago. And Pagosa Springs Golf Club truly is one of the “Gems of Colorado”.