Clifftop putting course delivers wow factor for Colorado club

  • CC at Castle Pines
    Country Club at Castle Pines

    The Country Club at Castle Pines in Colorado opened its one-acre putting course, The Crags, earlier this year

  • CC at Castle Pines
    Country Club at Castle Pines

    The Crags features steep slopes and bold contouring

  • CC at Castle Pines
    Country Club at Castle Pines

    Sean McCue says the reaction from members and guests has been “overwhelmingly positive”

  • CC at Castle Pines
    Country Club at Castle Pines

    Players have to negotiate rock outcroppings and trees

  • CC at Castle Pines
    Country Club at Castle Pines

    Seating areas with fire pits provide a views out to the Rockies

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

The Country Club at Castle Pines in Castle Rock, Colorado, has received an “overwhelmingly positive” response to its dramatic new one-acre putting course, The Crags, which was completed during the pandemic.

Discussions about a putting course had been ongoing for more than five years, and in late 2019 a land swap saw the club acquire a parcel of land directly adjacent to the clubhouse.

“The new land provided the perfect location for The Crags,” said Sean McCue, the club’s director of agronomy and designer of the putting course. “The result sees the new offering perched upon a steep clifftop with views of the entire front range of the Rocky Mountains.”

Construction of the green was completed in 2020 by an in-house team led by McCue.

“The design concept merged features found on the Punchbowl at Bandon Dunes along with the lost twelfth green at Sitwell Park in England,” said McCue. “These inspirations helped serve to create a wildly over-the-top green that is decidedly specific to our local topography and mountainous terrain.

“The bold contouring goes against modern golf green design, by paying homage to the Golden Age of golf architecture. The putting surface is oversized with steep slopes – some as much as 20 per cent – that move the ball in ways that one could not imagine until they play the course. The internal rock outcroppings and trees that were preserved also add to the design element, creating natural barriers that add a unique natural setting to the course, with players also able to work their ball around them too.”

A soft opening of the course, which is only available to members and their guests, took place in October 2020. However, play has been limited during 2021 due to a clubhouse renovation, which has restricted access to The Crags.

“The reaction to The Crags has been overwhelmingly positive by both members and guests alike,” said McCue. “For almost everybody who sees the green for the first time their reaction is ‘wow’, followed by pulling out their phone to take a photo of it.

“Next year we are anticipating, once the clubhouse reopens, that The Crags will be busy throughout the day. Located directly adjacent to the clubhouse, food and beverage service will be easily provided for those enjoying themselves out there. Revenue generation was a factor in the construction of The Crags, with merchandise sales of branded apparel and upselling The Crags usage for non-member play also considered.”

Multiple seating areas and fire pits are located near The Crags so people can watch play while taking in views of the Rockies. A 15-foot replica of a fire beacon has also been added, which is illuminated and can be seen for miles.

“The Crags gives us a competitive advantage over other local private clubs since no one else has anything like this to offer from an amenity standpoint,” said McCue. “The club has been marketing both the Crags and the $17-million-dollar clubhouse and facility improvements that are taking place, to help successfully drive up initiation fees and new membership sales.”