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Monday, September 05, 2005

Redlands Mesa and Lakota Canyon Ranch

I am writing longer pieces on both, coming soon, but in the meantime here is the skinny on two of the best courses I have ever played or seen.

1000 Club House Drive
New Castle, CO 81647

Architect: Jim Engh
Par 72
Excitement Level - 11/12

Difficulty - 8/12
Conditioning - Four and ½ stars
Cost - $75 normally, 3PM twilight $65
Value – Five stars
Overall - Four and ½ stars

Tees Yards Rating Slope

Black 7111 72.2 137
Blue 6369 70.5 126
White 5608 68.1 116
Gold 4744 68.5 123

2325 West Ridges Boulevard

Grand Junction, CO 81503

Architect: Jim Engh

Par - 72

Excitement Level – 11/12
Difficulty – 6/12
Conditioning – Four and 1/2 stars
Cost - $75 Peak
Yearly memberships – Yes
Value – Five stars
Overall rating – Four and ½ stars

Tees Yards Rating Slope

Monument 7007 71.7 135
Redlands 6486 69.4 130
Canyon 5838 67.2 115
Desert 4916 69.0 115

Located a mere 90 minutes apart in western Colorado, Lakota and Redlands are two of the most brilliant undiscovered treasures in the U.S. At $75, both are a steal and a much more cost-effective alternative to pricey Scottsdale.

Lakota rumbles through wild, stark, barren, undulating topography. Elevation changes of over 100 feet present pinnacle tee boxes, fairways in valleys and par-3s clinging to cliffsides. There are very few houses, so the experience is rugged and surreal.

The front nine at Redlands has wide yet rumpled fairways, big slick greens and a pretty view at every tee box and green setting. Houses do crowd the fairways detracting a bit from the setting, but each hole is completely different and offers varied shot requirements. The best holes are the par-5 fifth with its two-tiered green set high on a plateau behind a waste area and the par-3 eighth with its green sitting in a grotto of rock.

The back nine is unbelieveable from start to finish. Holes 11-14 play towards the red-rock canyons offering stunning vistas. Muscle bunkers and rock outcroppings pinch fairways and present devilish cross hazards to put a premium on thoughtful planning.

The tee boxes on the other-worldly par-3 17th are carved into the side of gargantuan cone shaped rocky mountain.

Lakota and Redlands have everything that defines a world class golf course - inspiring beauty, intricate strategy and a phenomenal price. Though remote, they are worthy of planning an entire golf vacation around them. Go now, before the secret gets out.

Pix are below.


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