Murphy Lake is the crown jewel in Aurora, Colorado’s municipal collection, and architect Ken Kavanaugh designed it to prove a test for even the biggest hitters. Granted, the air is thinner in these parts, but Murphy Lake lacks any significant altitude change to help you on your way to the 7,550-yard final tally.
It would have been polite, perhaps, for Kavanaugh to stow the biggest monsters until late in the round but players who need a minute to get up to speed are out of luck. The second hole is a par four tipping out at 495 yards and that appetizer is immediately followed by a 640-yard par five (another 600-yard long will come later in the round).
This course is hardly just a test of brawn, however (although a little brawn will go a long way for players). Many of the holes will open up for those willing to take risks, such as the 470-yard par four closer, where those who challenge the bunkers along the right fairway will be rewarded with a clean line into the bunker, and a scoring opportunity.
There are some scenes of pure adventure as well: No. 9 is designed to appear like you can go straight over a hazard valley into the green, despite being 350 yards. Achievable at this altitude? You try it first.
Most people think of mountains when they think Colorado golf. As Aurora is east of Denver this course is really a prairie course and is pretty darn flat. Interesting layout and they use multiple tricks to put some teeth into it. For example, on the par 5 3rd hole, which is over 600 yards, I pulled my approach shot and found myself in the fescue grass surrounding the bunker. My rule of thumb, which perhaps needs changing, if i can see it, i can hit it. Three shots later, mercifully, the ball trickled into the bunker. Nine is a fun hole, short dog leg left, aim further right than you think as the contour pushes balls hard left toward the hazard. On the 10th tee do not yell at the barking dog as the owner will then yell at you and threaten to call the pro shop on his flip phone. Good luck on the 500+ yard 12th. The 248 yard par 17th is so long I christened it the first dogleg right par 3 i had ever played.
Murphy Creek has a lot of length, but it is hard and fast (or at least when we played). There are a few reprieves. Good value for the $$$
Murphy Creek has a little bit of Ballyneal in it. This course would get "very good" from me if not for a bit of a weak stretch on the Back 9. The opening holes are a brutal test, but fun. One of the most wide open courses I've ever played resulting in a vibe that rubs off as a links course to start, with lots of sand, heather, sloping greens, and a noticeable absence of trees. #5 is one of my favorite Par 3's I've come across, with the most massive waste bunker you can imagine taking up all the space between the tee boxes and green. Really photogenic hole. As I mentioned, this course has a weak stretch and it comes into play on #12 and continues through #17. There's a definite dip in the quality of the course, added on by the fact you enter a housing community and eliminates the peaceful, Scottish feeling the first part of the course provides you. That shouldn't take away from the fact, however, that Murphy Creek is a very unique course that provides not only a stern challenge, but a different taste in Colorado golf as well.