Beware the greens and oncoming traffic at fun Park Hill Golf Club in Denver

DENVER -- All the signs of downtown municipal golf are there at Park Hill Golf Club.

The classic course, dating to 1931, is short by modern standards (6,592 yards), is scruffy around the edges (compared to higher-end, daily-fee standards) and can be a bit noisy (surrounded by train tracks and a major road and jam-packed with golfers hitting shots in all directions).

But municipal golf is alive and well in America at places like Park Hill, thanks to inexpensive green fees and central locations convenient to golfers.

There are not enough trees and bunkers (just 23) at Park Hill, designed by Clark Hamilton, to defend the modern game. What saves Park Hill's integrity are sprawling greens. There's no sense in celebrating a green hit in regulation until you safely two-putt for par. The putting surfaces, a mix of poa and bentgrass, tend to roll nice and putt true, yet they're tricky to read.

"The greens are a lot bigger than what I am used to," Denver resident Adam Kaba said after a recent round. "It's hard to figure out where they break."

The two scariest shots come at the 14th and 15th tees running parallel along Colorado Boulevard. One bad swing thought could lead to a dangerous duck hook into oncoming traffic.

Park Hill might not be overly photogenic or memorable, but any course generous enough to offer up a potential career round at an affordable price serves a great purpose in this maddening game.

Oct 18, 2012

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Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.