Here’s the safest way to get high this summer while playing golf. Really high. We’ve found five golf courses in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico where the elevation is right about 9,000 feet. That means you can expect to add a little distance to your drive. Tee it up and watch in amazement as your golf ball cuts through the thin alpine air. Striking a golf ball at higher altitudes adds close to 10 percent more distance to your overall yardage, which can turn those pesky bogies into pars and pars into birdies. The following courses boast some of the highest tee-boxes in the country and offer golfers the best opportunities showing off high in the mountains.
1. Copper Creek Golf Club, Copper Mountain: Elevation 9,863 feet
Claiming the highest tee-box in North America, Copper Creek’s Hole 14 rests at 9,863 feet. Enjoy views of the 10 Mile Range while making your way around this 18-hole course. Designed by Perry Dye and Pete Dye, Copper Creek measures 6,057 yards from the longest tees. The 18 hole golf course is actually built around the Copper Mt. ski resort. It features viewsthat will most certainly distract you well designed greens for golfers of all ability levels.
2. Mt. Massive Golf Course, Leadville: Elevation 9,680 feet
Mt. Massive Golf Course is a 9-hole public course that sits in the Arkansas River Valley and is surrounded by ranchland and forest. This course measures 3,003 yards from the longest tees and offers a relaxed atmosphere off the beaten path. The course is ringed by the tallest mountains in the state, surrounded by ranchland and forest. Yes, label the setting spectacular. You’ll likely want to bed and chow down in the old western town of Leadville (think Unsinkable Molly Brown), about 40 minutes away.
3. Telluride Golf Club, Telluride: Elevation 9,417 feet
First off, stay hydrated. This course is the highest in the world. Nestled into the country’s highest concentration of 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks, the Telluride Golf Club offers 18 holes of challenging golf. The 6,574-yard course winds through rugged terrain in the heart of the Rockies. Keep an eye out for the ancient barn located on the 10th hole—it once belonged to the property’s original owner. The air at this elevation creates less resistance for your ball during flight, resulting in ego-building longdrives.
4. Breckenridge Golf Club, Breckenridge: Elevation 9,324 feet
Breckenridge Golf Club is set in the middle of Colorado ski country and is within a reasonable I-70 drive of downtown Denver. All three nines were designed by Jack Nicklaus. Breckenridge opened the Bear nine in 1985, built in an area where early day miners called Buffalo Flats. The second nine to open, in 1987, was the Beaver. Look for the rock piles; “tailings” as the miners called them near holes 7 and 9 leftover from the days of gold mining in the area. The Elk nine opened in 2001 giving golfers 27-holes to play. The Elk offers the most panoramic views of the Ten-Mile mountain range. And lively Breckenridge is the perfect place to enjoy night life.
5. The Club at Crested Butte, Crested Butte: Elevation 9,003 feet
The Club at Crested Butte is a 7,208-yard championship golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones II and sprawls over 160 pristine acres of land just south of the town of Crested Butte. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Elk Mountain Range. “The bunkers resemble the patterns of snow melting in the mountains,” the designer says. “The shapes of the fairways and greens strategically echo the surrounding landscape, which reveals itself from virtually every hole.” Public tee times are available on a limited basis.
5. The Lodge at Cloudcroft, NM: Elevation 9,000 feet
The Lodge at Cloudcroft is in southern New Mexico, high above the resort town of Ruidoso in the Sacramento Mountains. Watch that first hole tee, it’s a doozie. A 150 foot vertical drop welcomes you onto The Lodge golf course. At 9,000 feet above sea level, it is both challenging and beautiful. The Lodge golf course is one of the oldest in the nation, established in 1899. Note that it is a 9-hole course in the Scottish tradition of playing different tees and separate flags at each hole. Play it twice for 18 holes of pure challenge. Then, head back to the famous and very comfortable Lodge and say hello to Rebecca, the resident ghost who hovers about the superb restaurant in her name.