Graham McKenzie at TPC Colorado


Golf News Travel Writer Graham McKenzie, revisits TPC Colorado in the golfing season and tackles one of the most brutal par fives in the game.


When I first visited TPC Colorado in Berthoud it was deep mid-winter. Frosty wind certainly did make moan and the earth apart from being covered in about three feet of snow was as hard as iron. Where the course began and ended was difficult to ascertain as the countryside that surrounds it was covered in a white blanket and melded seamlessly into the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains clothed in its winter coat.  I had been invited to the club for dinner as the food at the club is of the very highest order but being a typical inquisitive golfer and with a wardrobe back home  bulging full of shirts, caps and tops into the pro shop I went to, of course, look for some more.


My eye was taken to the prominence of the numbers 773 on much of the apparel. ‘Hello mate whats with the 773?  Is that the local telephone dialling code for this area?’ I enquired of the young man behind the counter.  I genuinely asked in complete ignorance.  ‘No sir that is the yardage of the par 5 13th ‘. My eyes bulged and I did my best impression of Stuart Broad taking an Aussie Wicket.  ‘Yes, and when the Korn Ferry Tour visit for the Colorado Championship some of the players make the green in two’.


Well, I know the course is at altitude but even if you make an allowance of say 10% or even 15%  for greater ball flight that is one hell of achievement. Drive 400 yards and you still have 373 to go – maybe a flick with a 5 iron ?  Hells bells ! Suitably impressed, off to dinner I went in the magnificent clubhouse, which incidentally houses a number of underground golf simulators that the members use for indoor golf leagues during the inclement months. I vowed to come back at some stage of my life and play the course and no matter what, take on the 13th hole on from the tips.




Seven short months later, much sooner than I expected, I returned to Berthold. The summer was in full swing, the temperature perfect, very few clouds in the sky and one could view the course in all of its true magnificence. The snow-capped Rocky Mountains were still there in all their majesty but what lay in front was an absolute picture of greenery, water, sand, and challenge.


Playing as a solo I requested to be paired with someone who knew the course well and sure enough they did just that as I was introduced to the Club Champion! Daunting ? Not much as we approached the first which is a short 612-yard par 5 from the gold tees which in total amount to 6,875 yds for the course which I was advised to play based on handicap. The exception was to be the 13th and the 773.

TPC Colorado is nothing short of spectacular




The course itself was designed by Arthur Schaupeter Golf Course Architects from Missouri and is a regular fixture on the Korn Ferry Tour .  It’s a par-72 course that can be stretched out to over 7,991 yards long  but the beauty of the design and the multiple tees as that it offers recreational players such as myself an opportunity to play the course and find it enjoyable.


It is truly a treat of a course. Lots of elevation changes, use of local grasses and vegetation surround a huge manmade lake in the shadows of the Rocky Mountain range. With the sun high in the sky, the occasional eagle swooping over , the crisp clean air and due to the altitude, the ability to hit each of your clubs about 15% longer it is definitely a feel-good experience.


After some coaching from my Club champ, he decided after nine holes enough was enough, and I was supplied with a new guide, Jason. Well at least it was not the club champion, but the boy could hit it. ‘So, what do you do for a living Jason’ I enquired. ‘Well until recently I was a Golf coach’ he replied.  Was anybody a normal player other than me round here?




We got to the 13th and the 773. Into the wind I went with a reasonable drive. It only left me 523 to the green. A bang average 3 wood got me another 210 yards and yet another an additional 200. I hit an approach wedge from 113 to the fringe of the green. A chip went 15 feet past. Oh, I forgot to mention the greens were running at 13 on the stimp meter !  Missed the put back and then holed out for a very comfy seven. I was delighted .


Obviously, the 13th stands out as the signature hole but each of the eighteen represents a new and unique challenge. Not least of these is indeed the shortest hole on the course the par 3 16th which from the tips is only 140 yards. Like many holes that are short it is not easy. First of all is the challenge of the tee. It is so close to the clubhouse that you can sit at the bar, have a pint, have a chat to the members then walk 10 yards and take your shot.


In the summer the doors are open, the outdoor furniture is on display and the pressure to make a good swing so much more. The green is set below  and is one of those two tier Salman Rushdie jobs – impossible to read. Thankfully a pitching wedge (remember downhill plus altitude) and a couple of puts laid that one to bed This hole has been used for Korn Ferry play offs and you can just imagine the atmosphere as two golfing gladiators go at it over such a short distance  with the entire golfing population of Northern Colorado baying for blood from the club house. Heady stuff !


The TPC Colorado is a fantastic place to play Golf and is only a 45-minute drive from downtown Denver and about 40 minutes from the International Airport. I rented clubs which were almost brand-new TaylorMade Stealth Irons and woods. Green Fees start at $175 which quite frankly given the quality of the course , the clubhouse and the service is exceptional value for money. It offers a challenging course that attracts some of the best golfers in the world with wide fairways, deep bunkers, and fast greens. If you add into this mix the scenic beauty plus  the friendly and welcoming nature of the members you are onto a winner.

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