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Monday, December 05, 2005

My vote for Best New Public - Lakota Canyon Ranch and two new golf blogs

I'm glad Bully Pulpit won Golf Diget's best new affordable public award. North Dakota has a nice triumverate of courses now - Bully Pulpit, Hawktree by Jim Engh and Links of North Dakota by Stephen Kay. My vote went to Lakota Canyon Ranch this year. Personally, I thought it was well worth the $75 tag and should be in the "affordable" class, not upscale, but whatever. My stats and pix of Lakota are below and I will have a piece up on it soon.

Meantime, lets offer a polite golf clap to another excellent twosome of golf bloggers. Richard Oliver of the San Antonio News-Express has followed Rob Thompson's lead and has started a very good golf blog called Oliver's Twist. Next, Hitting the links is also a terrific resource. Congrats guys...looking forward to some interesting insights.

LAKOTA
CANYON
RANCH GOLF CLUB
1000 Club House Drive

New Castle
, CO 81647

970.984.9700

www.lakotacanyonranch.com
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


Stark. Barren. Inhospitable. Outlaw. Hostile. Phantasmagorical. Surreal. Golf in any desert environ is visually gripping, but Lakota Canyon Ranch is perhaps the most powerfully raw golf course a player will find anywhere. There is plenty of beautiful mountain golf both in and beyond Colorado, but Lakota Canyon is now the archetype of the genre.

Opened in May, 2004, Lakota Canyon has everything Jim Engh’s fans have grown to love. Engh combines some of the most stunning views found on any golf course in the country – the rugged Colorado Flattops wilderness area – with his distinctive artistic “muscle bunkers” and varied angles of play so each hole poses interesting strategic options and multiple avenues of play. Some drops from the tee box are over 100 feet. Its really a mountain course.…at over a mile above sea level.

“This was one of the toughest pieces of property I ever had to work. We had to make the steep valleys functional, so we had to fill them from the bottom. We almost didn’t do that project because the topo was so severe…trying to get it to work plus huge amounts of storm water that roll through there. We found other ways to channel the water through the course…hills and ridges on left of cartpaths take overflow that pipes cant handle and runs it down the cart path” Engh recalls.
"There were lots of ways to shoehorn holes onto that property, but the key was to maximize every tee box and green setting."

Lakota is pretty much impossible to walk, with very long sharply uphill climbs to tee boxes and no walkways from the teeboxes to the fairways. It would be bad enough at sea level, but at 6,000 feet up, without a cart or a caddy it is a murderous thing.

Seen right, the 18thy fairway is a terrific risk-reward par-5. Engh loves lots of options on the closing hole. Typical of Jim, scores can be anywhere from 3-10. Now if someone could just give the mountains a quick ironing...

1 Comments:

Blogger Chuck Collet said...

Jim Engh:- The name is becoming a cult following. The courses designed by this talented artist are like no others.. I've heard a fair bit of complaints that Engh's designs were "Tricked out Tracks", or not the way golf courses were meant to be... First of all, I suggest those who don't understand his work and golf courses in general should take a close look at the origins of golf in Scotland's seaside courses. These courses, although the birthplace of the sport, are only one Genre' of the game. "Parkland" or "Regular" style golf courses in the U.S.A., Canada, and the rest of the world in general, have held little resemblance to the "originals". Most Golfers however have grown up on their local "muni's" and when they see something so startlingly different as a Jim Engh "Mountain Course" like Redlands Mesa or Lakota Canyon Ranch, they don't quite know what to make of them.. These wonderful new courses offer something more than most older courses. Instead of just going out and banging a ball around 18 holes, it now may be imperative to LOOK at the real estate in front of you and decide the right approach to each hole as it applies to your own type of play.. As long as a golfer picks the proper set of tees to play from, (that means a 15 handicap doesn't play from the "championship" tees), then the game becomes only more interesting and challenging. Jim Engh's courses, along with a couple of the "Ryder Boys" courses in Mesquite Nevada, and good old standbys like Starrpass in Tucson offer wonderful experiences not found in "flat tracks". Mountain, Desert, and Canyon golf is every bit as valid as any other form of the game. Pebble Beach has history and the Ocean on it's side, Augusta can rear up it's head and stand up for itself, but there is a new breed of courses coming along that will thrill even the most jaded "Duffer".. I have taken a number of my golfing buddies on trips to some of the "tricked out" hotspots and marvelled at the looks on their faces when they see a course like Redlands Mesa, Wolf Creek at Mesquite, or it's sister, Falcon Ridge, along with more soothing but just as challenging layouts like "Devil's Thumb" (golf on the moon), or Fossil Trace Co..So lets all forget about what we "think" a golf course is supposed to be and realize that what it truly should be is a place where we can excercise body, soul, mind and spirit on the glorious grasses of any golf course...

2:23 PM  

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