High-Elevation Golf Courses in the Colorado Rockies

Newsroom Summer Mountain Getaways High-Elevation Golf Courses in the Colorado Rockies

Golfing at a high-elevation golf course is a different way of getting high, yet an experience you can’t just have anywhere. We’ve scoured the West to find a few golf courses in New Mexico and the Colorado Rockies where the elevation is right about 9,000 feet. That means you can expect to add a little distance to your drive. Striking a golf ball at higher altitudes adds close to 10 percent more distance to your overall yardage, which can turn that pesky bogey into par and par into birdie.

Factor in how altitude will impact your game, say PGA pros. They suggest getting to the range before your round at altitude. Don’t wear yourself out; remember, the thin air is also going to take a toll on your body. “When I get to 3,000-4,000 feet, it’s about a 7-yard difference in distance for me,” says PGA Professional Rob Labritz. “The higher you get, maybe it’s 10-15 yards. Don’t change anything in your swing, but stand out there and figure out how far you’re carrying the ball. And then trust it. It takes a round or two to get used to.”

Labritz suggests if you are someone who typically hits your 9-iron 150 yards, suddenly that club from that yardage is going to be flying over the green. “Playing well at altitude requires you to commit to a mindset,” he said. “Just like a round at sea level, you want to make solid contact. You just have to accept that it’s going to travel farther. The more practice you put in, the more comfortable you’ll be.”

The following courses boast some of the highest tee-boxes in the country.

High-elevation golf courses in the Rockies

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 Ten-Mile Range while making your way around this 18-hole course that is build around Copper Mountain Ski Resort. Designed by Perry and Pete Dye, Copper Creek measures 6,057 yards from the longest tees. Enjoy stunning views and well designed greens for golfers of all ability levels.

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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 surrounded by the tallest mountains in Colorado, ranch land and forest. This course measures 3,003 yards from the longest tees and offers a relaxed atmosphere off the beaten path. Yes, label the setting spectacular. You’ll likely want to bed and chow down in the old Western town of Leadville, located about 40 minutes away.

High altitude golf
Oh, so high.Mt. Massive is near Leadville, Col

3. Telluride Golf Club, Telluride: Elevation 9,417 feet

First off, stay hydrated. This Telluride course is one of the highest golf courses in the world. Nestled into the country’s highest concentration of 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks, 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 long drives.

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Golf club at Telluride
© Telluride Ski and Golf Club/Daily Planet photo

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 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 6, 7 and 8, which are 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. Lively Breckenridge is the perfect place to enjoy nightlife.

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Breckenridge golf course
©Breckenridge Golf Club

5. The Club at Crested Butte, Crested Butte: Elevation 9,003 feet

The Club at Crested Butte is a 7,208-yard, 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. 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.

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Golf Club Crested Butte
The golf course at Crested Butte is a hidden Colorado gem. @The Club at Crested Butte

6. The Lodge at Cloudcroft, New Mexico: 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.

Lodge at Cloudcroft course
©The Lodge at Cloudcroft
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