Many have argued against the use of trees at the inside corners of doglegs as unsound architecture. Does the same argument carry for geologic wonders like the red sandstone that juts out of the corner at Arrowhead Golf Course’s short par four No. 5? Considering that you can attempt carrying it to get a shorter distance in, we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
These awe-inspiring rock formations exist across the rest of the property, albeit in a less strategic sense. The course plays just over 6,600 yards from the tips so, in many cases, the distraction is the best hazard that the course has.
Two par threes revel in their setting. No. 11 is one of the easier holes on the course, in theory, at just 145 yards. Looming far in the background is one of the jagged sandstone spires. Even this hole pales in terms of photo opportunity when compared to No. 13, a 175-yard hole that plays between two stone formations off the tee and down to a green backed by a pond (with even more geologic wonder lurking in the background).
You’ll get one last signature view at No. 16, where you can see downtown Denver, rising 25 miles in the distance.
I am generally a fan of all that is RTJ, but this one is horrible. This course is all about the views. The layout itself is completely manufactured.
If you want to play a good course with great views, play Perry Park. With the exception of an atrocious hole (18) and a ridiculous range, it is a really solid and challenging golf course that is usually in really good shape. Great greens at Perry.
But Arrowhead is a tourist trap. Not worthy of playing unless you are invited to play in a corporate scramble.
Loved the scenic beauty of this course. Several memorable holes & course in good shape
The sum total of Arrowhead is this -- the first four holes really spark interest and then a lull occurs till you reach the start of the back nine. The opening quartet on the inward side are also good. After that you get formulaic pedestrian golf. Nothing totally bad per se, but nothing that really gets the pulse and heartbeat moving quickly either.
When Arrowhead came onto the scene the depth of public courses was only starting to take off and the course clearly benefited from being out front early. That situation has clearly changed and the range of public golf offerings in The Centennial State has clearly intensified.
The scenery adds to the time there -- the rock formations really capture one's eyes. But an eye-candy connection is more about what's off the course rather than what's contained within it. If you're looking for something with real architectural heft, you'll need to head elsewhere. Arrowhead has its moments - just too few of them.
M. James Ward
Fabulous day in the foothills. Spectacular backdrops and views galore. Enjoyable course with numerous elevation changes and largish greens that depending on the time of day are going to be fabulous or furry with scraped soles.
You're hard-pressed to find a more scenic course that's not alongside a body of water than Arrowhead. Holes 10-14 make up a great stretch of golf where you get to play through and around the beautiful rocks you see in the famous pictures of Arrowhead. Holes 3-6 offer a similar experience, which is a great way to set up your appetite for what's to come at the start of the back nine. My personal favorites amongst these nine holes that utilize the rocks are the 3rd, a mid to long iron Par 3 hole, where you essentially can't go over the green because of a large red rock being situated a few feet behind the green. Next would be the 4th, a downhill Par 4 requiring you to carry a pond on your 2nd shot to a fast, undulated green. The 13th takes the cake though as my favorite hole at Arrowhead, and my favorite Par 3 I've ever played. 175 or so yards from the tips, straight downhill, with the ambiance of nature surrounding you from every side. It's one of the most unique holes in America and something you have to experience to truly appreciate. Every time I've played here, that hole is what I look forward to most.
Arrowhead's one downfall is that the nine holes not directly utilizing the rocks in some shape or form are pretty forgettable, and don't have anything that's overly interesting to draw your attention to. The closest thing to that is a double green that shares the 1st and 17th holes, which makes those two holes pretty fun. The 9th is also fun because of the overhead view you get of those rocks that await once you make the turn. I've always been critical of the 18th though as it's a pretty weak finish to what's an exciting day before you reach that hole. A short Par 5 with a lake next to it that's not utilized nearly enough, and no other main defense, making it a straightforward hole that doesn't elicit a lot of strategy.
Arrowhead is something to see at least once just to get a taste of how different the golf here is versus any other course you experience. It can admittedly get repetitive and lose its luster once you've played the course several times, but there's no golf course comparable to it, which makes it an extremely worthwhile adventure.