Review of Hillcrest Golf Course
Wow, what a pleasant surprise. When we drove past Hillcrest Golf Club it looked flat and boring with side by side holes and very little character and we thought it was a muni course which typically means low rates, somewhat poor conditions, and a slow pace of play. But that wasn’t the case at all – Hillcrest Golf Course:
- sits on leased land, is non profit, and member owned which helps keep the rates low and the conditions excelllent
- is scenic with some rolling green fairways, sparkling ponds with water fountains, the towering San Juan Mountains far in the distance to the West, the LaPlata Mountains closer in, the Animas River Valley, and a ridgeline dotted with some homes to the east
- has some very interesting and fun holes
- is in great condition and an excellent value
- has what may be the best and most challenging greens in Colorado.
Hillcrest Golf Club's first nine holes was established in 1969 on some land sitting atop a mesa overlooking historic Durango and another nine was added in the 80's. The course was built to leverage the natural terrain and as such you'll encounter some flat tree lined fairways as well as some dramatic up and down hill shots.
With four sets of tees boxes and yardages ranging from 5194 to 6912 yards and some straight ahead, what you see is what you get, and side by side holes, the major defense when you play Hillcrest are the greens which are heavily contoured and sloping and very slick and fast. If you can one or two putt, you’ll have a fun and low scoring round.
In addition to some great scenery, Hillcrest is home to some very fun holes:
- The first six holes on the front nine play downhill and then back up the hill creating some fun shots from elevated tee boxes and some longer uphill shots; for instance, #2 is a 421 par 4 with an elevated tee shot and a slight dog left through a tight fairway to a raised green with a left and right side bunker and #3 is a fun and long (527 yards) uphill climb to a green tucked on the right side which requires a precise shot to avoid the hidden ponds on both sides and the two bunkers
- #8 is a 404 yard par 4 with a 90 degree dog leg left and it offers a great risk reward shot if you think you can carry the trees or get lucky and roll under them to the fairway for a chip shot to the green
- #12 is a great par 3 with a 90 to197 yard carry over a sparkling blue pond and a long bunker fronting the green – the mountains form a scenic backdrop to this great hole
- 17 is fun – a 564 yard dog leg right par 5 that offers a very risky second shot to try and fly the trees and out of bounds area for a potential birdie
As mentioned earlier, what makes playing Hillcrest Golf Club challenging are the greens – most are raised, they range from small to average size, all have lots of contour and slope (some of which is severe and will take your ball back down to the fairway and a couple are like a turtle's back), and they are fast. When we played they were in excellent condition and running around 10 to 11. You’ll need to come in high and soft to keep the ball from rolling off the green. They run true and if you can read the breaks and adjust to the speed you’ll love them! Practice your putting before you tee off.
The fairways were also in very good condition when we played in June. They range from generous off the tee box to a tad tight from tee to green – in most cases the holes are what you see is what you get, no tricks and only a couple surprises. The good news is if you do spray the ball, you’ll be in another fairway or on a very playable rough and have a good recovery shot. Elevation changes will require you to club up or down. And at 6800’ in elevation, you’ll get some extra yardage and it’s a blast to let-er-rip from the elevated tee boxes.
The roughs are and bunkers were also in very good condition. The bunkers range in size, have very playable lips (I did happen to find the ones that are steep and deep), and good sand.
Bottom line – we aren’t big fans of side by side holes but Hillcrest Golf Course is a very good course with a fun and playable layout, excellent but challenging greens, and a very affordable rates.
Read all about this fun trip to Southern Colorado/Northern New Mexico where this is one of the courses we played.
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Service is very good and friendly, the grill has the basics, the pro shop is well stocked, and the practice facilites are adequate.