It would seem that any golfer who has spent time hacking out of a bunker would have nightmares at the thought of playing near 85,000 acres of sand. But golfers in Pueblo do just that every day, taking their swings not far from the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.
Elmwood Golf Course
The oldest and most popular public course in the city is Elmwood Golf Course, originally known as the Pueblo City Park Golf Course. It was built in 1932 as a New Deal project, and recently underwent a $2 million renovation and redesign. The name change comes from the numerous Elmwood trees that line the course and make the fairways seem tighter than they actually are.
Elmwood actually consists of two courses: an 18-hole par-70 that plays at 6,624 yards from the back tees, and a nine-hole par-30 (known as the Executive course) that is 2,119 yards in length. Both courses are relatively flat but can still provide some interesting challenges. The trees and thick rough on the 18-hole course place a premium on quality drives, while water abounds on the Executive course, providing a test for the iron game.
Walking Stick Golf Course
The city of Pueblo also operates Walking Stick Golf Course, a long (7,147 yards) par-72 that opened in 1991. Over the years, Walking Stick has received several honors from Golf Digest magazine, including being named one of America’s Top 75 affordable courses, and one of America’s best courses everyone can play. Good scores are possible as long as you avoid the thick rough.
Residents receive discount rates at both courses, and annual playing passes are available. Even the most expensive fees – weekends for non-residents – barely top $30, and the nine-hole Executive course can be played for as little as $12.
Desert Hawk Golf Course
Another lengthy challenge can be found at Desert Hawk Golf Course, which measures nearly 7,400 yards. The course opened in 1972, fell into some disrepair in the 1990s, then gained new ownership and underwent a $1.2-million renovation in 1999. There are bunkers scattered throughout the course, and the greens are fast. High winds can play havoc with the ball on the open fairways.
Pueblo Country Club
They have been playing golf for more than 100 years at the private Pueblo Country Club, which opened in 1903. Because of its age, the 6,428-yard, par-70 course is somewhat short for the modern game. But the rolling terrain, tree-lined fairways and well-bunkered greens can keep things interesting. Hole No. 7 is a 583-yard monster with bunkers on both sides of the green.