Rope Rider is the newer of the two public layouts at the Suncadia Resort, opening for play in 2011. Designed by the Texan-based Jacobsen Hardy firm of architects, the course is laid out around the local Tipple Hill landmark, which consists of tailings from an old mining operation.
The resort lies four miles from the small town of Roslyn, founded as a coal mining town in the mid-1880s, and the industrial heritage of the area is recognized by the course name referring to the miners who were once transported to and from the underground seams by miniature railway vehicles.
It never crossed the mind of the architect to shift the enormous hill of mining waste material that lies in the middle of holes 7, 8 and 9. “You don’t want to do too much with what is there,” said Jacobsen, explaining the team’s philosophy of golf course design. “The land should be the hero. I think we got that at Rope Rider.”
Measuring 7,203 yards from the tips, the layout was constructed with bluegrass fairways and bent greens. Bunkers aren’t quite in play or as deep and difficult to escape from as those on the neighbouring Prospector course. The greens are also a bit more straightforward, allowing the course to blend into the surrounding landscape, rather than rise above it.
Rope Rider isn’t without minus points, as there are a few long treks between holes if you choose to walk but, overall, it’s eminently playable, and even divided into neat six-hole segments which allows for shorter rounds.