I've wanted to test my skills at Cougar Canyon for a long time. I played it July 16, 2010 on a typically beautiful Southern Colorado day with 3 good friends that drove up from Dallas for a week of Colorado golf. GOLF Magazine listed Cougar Canyon in 2007 as one of the top 10 courses you can play. And they're right!
This Nicklaus Design course proved to be a challenge to our skills and our egos. We played the Blue tees knowing the 7,669 yd 76.2 rating and 139 slope would be way too much for us for our first day (or any day).
The course proved to be a beauty. The fairways are wide enough but serious trouble awaits wayward shots. The greens are big and fast. A unique feature is their black sandtraps. The sand is actually crushed volcanic rock from New Mexico. It's fairly soft and dry and you won't get a buried lie in these traps. I think we saw cougar tracks in one of the traps up in the hills.
There are elevation changes and at 6,000' above sea level walking this course would be a real workout for a visiting lowlander.
The par 5s are exceptional. Hole 3 is a target golf adventure while hole 6 offers a split fairway option. Some are blind off the tee so this would be a great course to play several times and learn what's over those hills.
Their signature hole is the par 3 16th sitting like a rock island surrounded by canyons…………..But it's not as tough as it looks in the photos. My buddy and I both birdied it……and both took a big sigh of relief when the downhill putts found the cup.
The current economy has caused struggles for Cougar Canyon as the bank financing their hotel went under and construction on the hotel is on hold. But the pro shop, villas and golf course are all in super shape at this time. And Cougar Canyon offers Stay n Play deals with three fine Trinidad hotels.
Lastly, I didn't get to try it but someday I hope to enroll in their Phil Ritson-Mel Sole Golf School. Cougar Canyon would be a great place for a 1, 2 or 3 day golf school.
Laurie and Kristen do a great job of running a classy pro shop. See photo.
Cougar Canyon seems to be attracting a lot of good tournaments which is exactly what they need in this economy. They do a fine job on the course maintainence and management. The Player's Assistants give helpful tips and keep the pace of play reasonable.