Tom Bendelow set out the original course at Lakewood Country Club in 1908 and eight years later this layout was redesigned by Donald Ross. Ahead of the US Women’s Amateur in 1965, Press Maxwell redesigned six of the holes. Gil Hanse has been consulting at the club since 1993, when he stayed for four years in nearby Evergreen while studying at the University of Denver.
Interviewed in coloradoavidgolfer.com in 2017, Hanse spoke about his work at the club: “Here at Lakewood, there’s a lot of Donald Ross, but a number of other architects have worked here over the years. The most important thing is to pick a style and make it consistent throughout the course while making sure that features and strategies are appropriate for today’s game.”
Recent improvements include creating a more challenging angle of approach for the player who plays conservatively off the tee at the 1st, with a new back tee installed, bunkers repositioned and the green lengthened. The 4th (regarded as the club’s “signature hole”) is now longer, with the green moved to the left, allowing the tee on the par three 5th to be moved back fifteen yards.
The downhill, right doglegged 6th has also been extended by more than sixty yards, with trees removed, two new fairway bunkers added, and the green repositioned over the Lakewood Gulch. To allow for these changes, the green of the par three 10th has been shifted north, towards the clubhouse.
“There’s a lot of challenge in working with compact properties,” says Hanse. “But there’s a lot to love. This course is a great walking course, with tees very close to the previous green. Golf is a social game, and I love the idea of people spending time together and seeing other friends during the round. We are excited about the work we’re doing here.”
I had the chance to play here for a work outing and was pleasantly surprised. Given its location in the heart of Denver, I expected it to have very flat land with a generally back and forth layout, but found a majority of the holes to be engaging. The land that Lakewood CC is laid out on is locked in by residences and therefore has not aged well in regards to modern driving distance, but I felt that the shorter holes had good and fair risk/reward shots. The conditions of the fairways, greens, and sand were excellent. Most of all I enjoyed the bunkering; it involved some clever locations around the green and along the fairways - both to save you from going OB and to punish you while trying to split a narrow strip of fairway.
Enjoyable club - good, fast greens. Played before the remodel, so would like to go back to see how they have softened a couple of the severe greens.
Good playable parkland course. Seems to be a little packed in, but it makes good use of the land. Precision is what really counts here. This could be a very good course to play everyday. Fun, but not too taxing.