COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- They say graduation day at the U.S. Air Force Academy is just a bonus for golfers at Pine Creek Golf Club, opened in 1988 with an awesome view of the AFA and Pikes Peak.
When they are having graduation you can just stand here in the fairways, and the Thunderbirds streak by almost at the same elevation as the golf course. It is an unbelievable rush for the Pine Creek homeowners and golfers.
Pine Creek, designed by Dick Phelps, is a demanding, 7,241-yard par 72 and a tight excursion -- put the driver away on many holes. Situated on the north side of Colorado Springs, Pine Creek G.C. has lush natural grasses (this was prairie before development), swift, firm-but-true rolling greens, the creek, canyon and water holes, and an elevation change of 376 feet.
Pine Creek dissects the front nine with forced carries and small targets on land where 50,000 Boy Scouts camped out during the 1960 National Jamboree. The back nine is more forgiving and has far less trouble as it opens up with views of the Air Force Academy.
The first hole is a target ambush. It's only 312 from the white tees and requires a five-iron shot to a small area before an approach over the creek, downhill to a green guarded by water in front and three bunkers over the green.
No. 6 is another very tight, driving hole, 558 yards and a par 5. If you nail a straight drive you can go over the creek to a green tucked right and around a corner, but the creek is in play all the way. Seven is a fun par 3 of 213 yards with water left and right and four bunkers that come in to play.
Sixteen is another that requires a perfect drive on a 433-yard par 4. The second shot is downhill with no recovery forest right of the green. Seventeen is a fun par 3 of 255 yards with a perfect view of Pikes Peak. The finale, a par 4 of 419 yards, requires a neat three-wood draw to set up an easy approach to a raised green, guarded by three large bunkers.
Open year-round, Pine Creek Golf Club generally enjoys a moderate climate of warm, sunny days and cool, perfect summer evenings. It is a complete golf facility with a first-class clubhouse and restaurant, putting and chipping greens, and an elevated target-oriented driving range. Carts have GPS and lessons are available.