Gypsum Creek (formerly known as Cotton Ranch) has a great location in the "Banana Belt" of Eagle River Valley just south of Gypsum, CO and very near the Eagle Regional Airport.
Gypsum Creek is loaded with classic Pete Dye features. It's a nice combination of links-style golf with 14 of its holes winding through meadowlands and 4 of its holes playing mountain-style golf.
The front nine opens with some rather tame first three holes. Then the 4th hole is a challenging uphill, double dogleg 555 yd (black tees) number 1 handicap par 5. The receptive green has saved me when I've played this hole. (See photo). My real challenges are holes 5 through 8. These holes play up on the ridge west of the meadow. Holes 5 and 6 are classic par 4 and 5 target golf holes. The 7th hole is my nemesis. It's not long but you need to work the ball right to left with a fairway wood or long iron to hold this dogleg right fairway and have a clear shot to this tough green.
The 8th hole is probably Gypsum Creek's most famous. It's a severe downhill par 3 (see photo) with O.B. fence on the right keeping a field often loaded with grazing deer off the green. I play the Brown Tees and find my pitching wedge is just right for the 161 yd shot that often has very strong crosswinds. Normally in Colorado altitudes my PW is a 125 yd club.
The par 4 9th brings you back past some old farm and ranch remnants and near the clubhouse. Be careful not to over club off the tee on the short par 4 10th hole or you'll find a stream at the end of the fairway that's not visible from the tee box. The 11th hole is a rather strange and challenging par 4. If you try to carry the hazard off the tee the safe landing area is smaller than the Gypsum Creek Pro Shop floor. If you elect the wiser option and lay up short of the hazard you'll have a very tough 190 yd shot to the green with loads of trouble to the right. Good luck!
The last 7 holes are relatively mellow and offer chances to recover from the tougher holes in the middle of the round. The 18th hole is a short par 4 with a challenging 2nd shot over a stream. Another classic Pete Dye design. See photo of the bridge and clubhouse shot from the 18th green.
Gypsum Creek's fairways are normally lush and their greens are generally in very good condition compared to most Colorado mountain courses. The tee boxes were going through a repair phase when I last played there in August, 2012. I'd bet they'll be in fine shape in 2013. If you're a real long hitter and love to play the tips you'll have to do some searching just to find the Black Tees on some holes. The Brown Tees play at 6,468 yds and that seems to be a good length for someone playing around a 10 handicap.
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