Bear Dance (Larkspur, CO)

I played 18 at Bear Dance this afternoon. This course had been highly recommended by the pro I take lessons from and I’d heard nothing but good things about it. Unfortunately, it’s an hour plus drive to get there, but I’d say that it is worth it every so often.

When we got there, the staff at the bag drop was friendly and helpful; as was the staff in the pro shop. The facility is fairly new and quite nice.

The driving range, chipping and putting greens were large enough to accomodate all of the players that were there. However, the driving range was so wet, I ended up wearing a good bit of it on my shorts, shirt and face. I hope it isn’t like that all the time.

The course was also wet so we had to keep the carts on path for all holes. This is always an annoyance, but there were some long treks between holes so carts were definitely in order. The marshalls and drink gals came by with enough frequency to be helpful, but not so much as to be annoying.

The course itself was in good shape, despite being a little damp. The greens had recently been punched and sanded, but rolled pretty true, if not as fast as they will later in the summer.

There are a few things about the layout of the course that really stand out:

  1. It really feels like a mountain course with trees lining many of the holes and dramatic elevation gains and drops on different holes.
  2. There are a lot of blind/uncomfortable shots on this course. A number of tee shots require you to aim over some trees to a fairway you can’t see, and there are a number of approach shots (particularly on the par 5’s) with similar characteristics. Granted, the blind approach shots are generally lessened if you hit the right side of the fairway at the right distance off the tee.

I played pretty well, shot an 83 and definitely left a few shots out on the course (I think I missed 4 putts from within 6 feet – I blame the punched greens). I tried to drive the bear claw hole (#6), but didn’t catch all of my drive and put it into one of the middle bunkers.

The 18th hole is a 600+ yard par 5. I had quite the experience here. We’d been waiting on the group ahead of us on almost every hole (and they in turn had been waiting on the group ahead of them).

On 18, we waited for nearly 10 minutes until the GPS in the cart said they were 350 yards out. I hit my drive down the fairway, it bounced, then glanced off one of their heads. Yikes! I didn’t even see this, I knew I’d hit it where I wanted to and was putting my club away. We didn’t even yell FORE because none of us thought they were still in range. The marshall came by and told me what happened as we drove down the fairway so I immediately drove up to apologize. The fellow was very understanding – appearantly it was just a glancing blow – phew! Oh, the drive was 380+ yards – I nuked that sucker (I wonder how much distance my victim’s head cost me ;) ) then went on and over the green with a 4 iron, chipped back up and two putted for par.

GolfColorado.com currently has an online coupon for 18 holes with cart and range balls for $50.