The Ranch course was the first of two 18-hole layouts to appear at the Keystone Ranch golf complex in 1980. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Junior, it’s a classic mountain track that winds around a pine forest and a beautiful 9-acre lake.
Keystone Ranch is the original course and a Robert Trent Jones design. As with many of his designs, it needs more tees with less yardage disparity, yardages are, 7065, 6571 and 5842. Obviously, at 14k feet elevation it plays shorter. The first hole is a tree-lined straight-away par five. Bunkers where you would expect them to be, three average shots and you are putting for birdie. The 2nd is a long par four that parallels one. The 3rd is a good birdie hole, dogleg right with a bunker on the inside elbow about 190 yards out. You can challenge the dogleg, but don’t get crazy as the left side of the fairway is better. The green is protected by three bunkers and the front right bunker has a large tree in it that acts as a bunker in the sky. Good hole. The 4th is slightly downhill and the fairway runs out about 90 yards out as a stream cuts across the fairway and then up the left side. The first par three is mid-length, table top green and supposedly the 2nd easiest hole on the course. Not for me, from the front pot bunker to the rear bunker led to a double. The 6th is aa long par five and the number one handicap hole. Water hazard down the left side and a stream comes in from the right about 160 yards out. Pretty good hole. The 7th is the longest par three and has water all the way down the left side. The 8th leans left and has one of the tighter fairway landing areas, due to the three fairway bunkers. There are also, two large bunkers front left. The 9th is a fun hole. Dogleg right all over water. I suppose somebody could drive it, we weren’t even close, but it was fun trying.
The back starts with the longest par four. We were there mid-June and this hole is at the base of the mountain and had suffered significant runoff erosion issues. The 11th is the shortest par four and leans slightly left. You can cut the corner a wee bit to take the right fairway bunkers out of play. This should leave you with an attack wedge to set up your birdie putt. The 12th is the shortest par three (by one yard) and is rated the easiest hole. The 13th is a straight away par five. Not sure why it is the number two handicap hole. The hole slopes left to right, with a couple of fairway bunkers on the right so favor the left side. The real teeth to this hole is the two tiered green that is surrounded by four compass bunkers. The 14th is a slight downhill par three with large bunkers left and right. The 15th and 16th parallel each other and are about the same distant and both use fairway bunkers to make you think about your tee shot. The 17th is also about the same yardage and it leans left with a stream and gunch left. The 18th is the longest par five and has water all the way down the left side. Play it as a three shotter and favor the right side.
If you could only play one of the Keystone courses play The River.