Review of Pagosa Springs Golf Club – Ponderosa Course
Pagosa Springs Golf Club is home to three nine hole courses that are framed by towering Pagosa Pines, some clear lakes, beautiful mountain homes, and the stunning San Juan Mountains. Each of the nines has its own unique personality and characteristics:
- Meadows is the longest at 3734 from the tips and it’s a links style course that has water on 7 of the 9 holes and several intimidating forced carries over the water – bring a life jacket or at least a long ball retriever
- Pinon is the middle of the roader in terms of length and difficulty and it’s got wide forgiving fairways, some elevation changes, and good greens
- Ponderosa plays up and down through the towering ponderosa pines and is the shortest of the three and the only par 35
We didn’t have time to play the Meadow Course but here is a link to our review of the Pinon Course.
In June 2013, Pagosa Springs Golf Club was in receivership, being managed by Tri Star a premier golf management company, and was going through a transition waiting for new owners. In addition, Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico were suffering through a third year of drought and no rain, which has had a significant impact on the course conditions. In addition, the snowpack was light this year which also impacts the conditions. And even worse, in mid-2013 the water pump for the Pinon Course broke! What a streak of bad luck – pray for rain!
We enjoyed playing the Ponderosa nine – it’s scenic as it plays up the hills and back down through some towering ponderosa pines with some beautiful views of the San Juan Mountains rising high into the clouds, and it seems peaceful and serene. It’s short at 3136 yards and a par 35 – offering a great opportunity to turn in a good score if you can keep the ball in the fairway. And it’s got some great holes like:
- #3 is short at 348 yards but challenging thanks to a very narrow fairway with no room for error (spray it and you’ll need to reload) and a skinny oblong challenging green guarded by a bunker on its left side – this hole puts a premium on accuracy from tee to green to par it
- The #1 handicap par 4 #4 is 442 yards with a wide landing zone, a downhill slight dog leg right, and a well-guarded green with 3 bunkers
- #5 offers a dramatic elevated tee box and a big downhill shot where you’ll want to let-er-rip
- #9 is a great finishing hole – an elevated tee shot to a dog leg right long 567 yard par 5 leading to a green with two bunkers waiting for your approach shot – watch out for the two towering ponderosas on the right side of the fairway that could stop or block your tee shot
The fairways on the Pagosa Springs Golf Club Ponderosa nine are the tightest of all three nines and when we played, thanks to the limited snowfall and drought were a little dry and brown in spots, but still very playable. The rough was cut thin and easy to get out of, but miss it and you’re most likely lost. There are lots of ups and downs and elevation changes and the fairways are relatively flat with very few uneven lies. Most of the fairways are lined with some beautiful mountain and vacation homes.
The greens on the Ponderosa Nine range in size and shape from some ovals to some tough oblongs. The greens are good sized making the approach shouts a little easier. All of them have some slope and lots of contour which you need to carefully study before you putt. When we played they were in very good condition, ran true and at a great speed, and held the ball well.
The 14 bunkers are all guarding the green, putting a premium on your short game. The sand is gritty, thin, and firm and tough to get under. The lips are 2 to 4 inches and easy to carry.
Bottom line – a very fair, fun, scenic, peaceful nine with pretty good conditions and some fun holes and best of all an opportunity to turn in a good score
Slope and rating are based on playing the Pinon and Ponderosa Nines.
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 ok, the course keeps busy but the pace of play for us on a Sunday morning was excellent, the pro shop has a limited supply of the basics, and the range and putting green are adequate. The outside grill at the turn serves burgers, sandwiches, dogs, and more.