Situated to the south of Denver, The Golf Club at Bear Dance (home to the Colorado Section of the USPGA) first opened its doors to golfers in 2002. Dramatic elevation changes, oak-lined ridges and native grass valleys characterize a fine example of a mountain-style golf course where the game is played at an elevation of 6,800 feet above sea level.
Offering stunning views of the Front Range and surrounding Rocky Mountain landscape, this layout is consistently rated as one of the most challenging public golf courses in the local area.
Water hazards come into play at half a dozen holes, most notably at the par four 16th which plays from a seriously elevated tee position to a valley fairway with a pond situated in front of the green.
The par threes are all feature holes too, especially the demanding 249-yard 7th, played to the green over a rock-walled pond, and the 145-yard 17th, with a cascading stream protecting the raised putting surface.
These holes certainly have their admirers but the signature hole on the course is undoubtedly the short par four 6th, featuring a bear paw-shaped cluster of small bunkers positioned right in front of the green.
One of a number of high-end daily fee facilities that came onto the scene during the late 1990's and entering the new century.
Bear Dance is routed well -- best of all there's no sharing the eye-space with invasive housing. The combination of holes is also very good and the long par-4 1st sends a loud and clear message that hitting the ball at a high level is going to be tested again and again.
The main deficiency for me rests with the pedestrian putting surfaces. One of the virtues in having a highly skilled architect is someone who knows well how to tie in the greens to the shots one will play. It's not enough to have a testing driving hole and then end the process with greens that, for the most part, are nothing more than adequate.
This is a layout that can easily be better than what it is now. The greens are the heart of any course and it's crucial to provide putting surfaces that place a high premium on positioning one's approach shots. Good holes become great ones when greens provide the ultimate definition in terms of shotmaking. Bear Dance has the potential for even greater acclaim. Right now -- the dance is simply incomplete.
by M. James Ward
I spent my summer of 2015 working at Bear Dance so I got to play the course often, and spend many a day on the track getting a true appreciation for the design. I believe it's one of the most underrated courses in Colorado. There are stunning elevation changes across the Back 9 offering incredible views of the Rockies, particularly off of the 14th and 16th tees. The whole course is well-designed and a wonderful test of golf. Each hole is unique to itself, with some that are clear birdie holes, and others that you just have to survive. It's ranked as one of the best public courses in the state and for good reason. I highly recommend a visit here if you find yourself in Denver or Colorado Springs.