Fossil Trace Golf Club

4.3529411765 4.4 stars from 5 (14)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 72
  • Length: 6831 yards
  • Slope: 138
  • Rating: 72.3
  • Layout

  • 3050 Illinois St., Golden, CO 80401, Jefferson County
  • (303) 277-8750
  • (720) 497-0690
  • fossiltrace.com

Year built: 2003
Architect(s): Jim Engh (2003)
Type: Municipal
Greens: Blue grass
Fairways: Blue grass
Golf Season: Year round

Rentals/Services

Carts: Yes
Clubs: Yes
GPS: Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving range: Yes
Putting green: Yes
Teaching pro: Yes
Golf school / academy: Yes

Policies

Walking allowed: Yes
Metal spikes allowed: No
Dress code: Collared shirts w/bermuda length shorts or slacks are required for all practice areas and if playing Fossil Trace Golf Club.
Credit cards accepted: Yes

Tees | Layout | Full Scorecard

Tee Par Length Rating Slope
Black 72 6831 yards 72.3 138
T-Rex 72 6577 yards 71.4 136
Blue 72 6241 yards 69.0 133
Blue (W) 72 6241 yards 74.5 145
Trike (W) 72 5933 yards 72.8 140
Trike 72 5933 yards 67.8 122
White 72 5559 yards 66.6 112
White (W) 72 5559 yards 71.4 133
Palm (W) 72 5197 yards 69.1 127
Gold (W) 72 4681 yards 66.5 117

Located in the city of Golden, the golf course at the Fossil Trace Golf Club rests in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The course is challenging and also quite unique not only in its demanding layout but also for its rich history. The name of the golf course actually comes from the fact that situated near the 12th hole there are trace fossils of palm fronds and triceratops footprints that are over 60 million years old. There are also relics of clay mining equipment. This public course has received acclaim from golf publications such as Golf Magazine. Jim Engh designed the Fossil Trace course, which features undulating greens and greenside bunkers.

Accolades

Rating Snapshot

GA Rating Index 4.4 stars from 5
Off-Course Amenities: 4.6 stars from 5
Value: 3.8 stars from 5
Pace of Play: 4.2 stars from 5
Staff Friendliness: 4.8 stars from 5
Course Layout: 4.4 stars from 5
Course Conditions: 4.7 stars from 5
Rating Breakdown 14 Reviews
5 stars:
7
4 stars:
6
3 stars:
1
2 stars:
0
1 stars:
0

recommend this course

14 out of 14 reviews


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Reviewer Photos

Reviews


Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender

"Play twice"


Chris3246604's avatar
Age:  25-34
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  0-4

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 07/29/2017
Previously played Used cart Wet weather

Reviewed on

This is a great and fun course that has an interesting layout throughout. Some traditional holes, and some "go for it" holes. If it anything it plays a little short, and if you are an advanced player I would recommend the black tees (also, the "t-rex" tees were not an option when I logged my score on the GHIN app). It takes one round to get used to it, and by your second round you can expect to play pretty well here. Great course if you have someone visiting. Nicely kept, good pace.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


I recommend this course


"Well maintained and good variety. Worth a round."


Steve3709753's avatar
Top 250 Contributor
Philly Advisor
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 07/25/2017
First time playing

Reviewed on

Came to Colorado on vacation and found this course near us to play. Very well maintained, seriously. Tee boxes, fairways and rough, sand soft, greens very consistent. Charged me $80 to play on weekday morning. Rentals were a bit expensive but most are.

Lots of tee boxes to choose from. Was challenging but not Pete Dye difficult. If you know your game it's not a problem. Most errant shots put you in high rough or you lose a shot. You can find harder courses, but a good round with choice. I really liked this course option.

Driving range and practice areas are top notch. Staff very customer focused and polite. Bar looked great but I did t try it.

You won't dislike playing Fossil trace


Pace of Play: Good

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Good


I recommend this course


"Municipal.......sort of."


u705228361's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 06/28/2017
First time playing

Reviewed on

This is another fabulous Jim Engh design. There are areas of exposed fossils (Hence the name of the course) and there are also old pieces of quarry equipment that tell the story of the lands prior use. The course is well laid out and maintained. The staff is very helpful. All of this lends itself to a very positive golf experience. One of the signatures of a Jim Engh design is his bunker design. You are better off admiring them from afar, they are beautiful but penal. In short this does not feel like any muni track I've ever played


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent


I recommend this course


"Bring your whole bag, this course lets you use 'em all..."


sorenj's avatar
Top 100 Contributor
Idaho Advisor
Age:  45-54
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a month
Handicap:  10-14

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 06/03/2017
First time playing Walked Perfect weather

Reviewed on

I played the 6577 “T-Rex” tees at Fossil Trace (because, really, how do you not play the “T-Rex” tees???) and I found the track pretty true to its 71.4/136 rating. There is a nice variety of holes here which really encourages you to use all of the clubs/shots in your bag. For example, no two par 3’s are alike (going 151, 95, 186, 205, and 160 respectively so you won’t be just firing 7 or 8 irons into them all day like some courses. The par 5’s also range from 536 to 626(!), although most are right around the 540 range.

The big draw to Fossil Trace (as the name implies) is the archeological dig remnants on the signature 12th hole, a fairly easily accessible 545 yard par 5 if you place your second shot in the right spot, or a frustratingly troublesome hole if you don’t (fortunately, my second was just about perfect and I had a pitching wedge into the well protected green for a two putt par… after missing a 8 footer for birdie). Both 12 and 15 have unusual rock obstacles I’ve heard complaints about; however, I liked the challenges they present and the fore-thought they require on your approach shots (this, of course, from someone who managed to avoid both of them). It’s certainly worth taking a few minutes and checking out the trace fossils after holing out on 12.

Friendly advice, don’t get complacent on 13 (or caught up thinking about the hole you just completed); you’ll want to put your tee shot on the left hand side of the fairway. If you don’t the hole gets quite a bit harder, my failure in this area led to my first bogey on the back nine (complete with a penalty for a lost ball on my blind approach shot over trees).

While the back nine features interesting geographic features, the front has its own brand of challenges. One and two feature downhill holes toward interesting green locations. Two especially requires a good approach as the green sits alone in the bottom of a “pit” with tall rough all around. I actually fired my tee shot to the right of the cart path (i.e. very right) and this provided me a great angle to attack the pin from. Not the way it’s drawn up for sure, but it led to an easy two putt par.

There are some deep and unusually shaped bunkers throughout the course as well that provide some interesting playing options (not all great) out of them. Some will force you to play sideways from a fairway bunker, which might be a little too punitive in my mind, but the knowledge of this should certainly keep you honest on your drives.

Overall I really liked the layout of the course. There is ample water, elevation change, use of angles for defense of greens, and the bunkers are such that sand saves will most definitely be earned if achieved. It’s a course that will test your full game as many of the greens are also challenging in and of themselves. Further, it was in great condition with immaculate fairways, well-groomed greens and bunkers that played as well as they looked.

I played a little early (I was first out) to really speak to the pace of play; however, the few groups I saw finish after me were in well under 4 hours so at least an early round should be nice and quick. The staff was great and everyone I met went out of their way to ensure I had a great round. The grounds crew also was mindful and considerate of players on the course while doing a great job of keeping everything in good shape. Also, on a non-golf note, the restaurant makes a completely fantastic (and affordable) lunch; I eschewed my usual Benedict for their hash and would do it again and again.

My entire experience at Fossil Trace was great and I will absolutely be going back to play again…


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course



"Taste of Engh/Colorado"


JeffArenson's avatar
Top 50 Contributor
Denver Advisor
Age:  45-54
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  10-14

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/31/2017
Previously played Used cart Perfect weather

Reviewed on

Fossil Trace would be one of the places I would take someone coming from out of town if they insisted on staying in Denver. The first hole and the back nine are unique as you play through rocks. The other holes offer nothing bad, but not a local experience.

Fossil Trace has some of the best amenities in the area. Golf-wise, they have a driving range, putting green (most fun one in the state-gamble here) and short game area. Non-Golf, they have a bar, restaurant, beverage carts, etc. that has some of the best food on a golf course in the area.

The course, once again, has some very unique holes on the back nine. The par 3s vary from a wedge to a hybrid, the par 5s can be reachable in two (except for maybe the ninth unless you are a monster off the tee), but leave you a dangerous second guarded by bunkers and/or water. The 10th hole is a driveable par 4 with risk/reward.

I find the back nine of Fossil Trace to be one of the best nines in the State and truly unique. It is the reason why locals love to play here. You play through rock outcroppings and excavation areas. There is even a place where you can learn about the fossils off the cart path. This is the reason to come here or to avoid coming here. The uniqueness might be found to be too much if you love your standard golf layouts, so check out their website first. If you need to warm-up or a day of practice after a flight, their practice facilities are second to none. This place is popular for golf outings, so check ahead so pace of play isn't an issue; the only negative of being so popular. They have deals everyday so if you are flexible on tee off time, it is a good value. If in the Denver area, play here, it is local flavor that is done well.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"New look for Golf"


abird5's avatar
Age:  Under 25
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 04/28/2017
First time playing Used cart Cold weather

Reviewed on

Looking for a something different this is the course to play. The back nine is really cool, with all the features it offers with the stone cliffs. I enjoyed the course, not your tradition golf course but its good to experience something different.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Decent, but could be better"


jd6236's avatar
Top 250 Contributor
Age:  25-34
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  15-19

3 3.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/15/2017
Previously played

Reviewed on

I've played FT multiple times over the years and used to hold it in pretty high esteem. Over time what I realized though is that compared to most of the Jim Engh designs around the state (Redlands,Lakota,4 Mile and Red Hawk Ridge..) you don't get anywhere near the value you do at those other courses. I still find Fossil enjoyable, but would never play there at peak season when there are that many better options that won't kill your wallet and are more fun to play.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Poor

Off-Course Amenities: Good


I recommend this course


"Great value for the quality of the course"



5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 07/19/2016
Previously played Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather

Reviewed on

this is one of my favorite course town. its a must play for anyone that enjoys a good quality course.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Great muni course...but remember, it is a muni"


cubfanincs's avatar
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Female
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 08/10/2015
Previously played Played with a group Used cart Played 18 holes Good weather

Reviewed on

I have played Fossil Trace a bunch of time and it is one of my favorite Jim Engh courses. It is a really fun layout and it can play as easy or as difficult as you want it to based upon what tees you play. The group I was with played it from the blue tees and it had a few par fours that you could drive and all of the par 5's could be reached in two. The course was in great shape and while it is a muni it is one of the best muni's there is. But, as a muni you do get muni golf service. No bag drop. No towels. No water bucket. No nothing. Just golf.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Average

Quality of food & beverage: Average

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Fairly Easy


I recommend this course


"Fantastic Denver area muni"


MikeBaileyGA's avatar
Golf Advisor
Age:  45-54
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 07/20/2015
First time playing Played with a group Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather

Reviewed on

Dinosaur fossils, old quarry remnants and a terrific design by Jim Engh combine for one of the best municipal courses in the west. The holes on the back nine through the boulders and fossil remains is really unique. Terrific clubhouse and practice facilities, too. A can't miss experience if you're going to play a public golf course in the Denver area.


Pace of Play: Average

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Great experience"


Lucas1218990's avatar
Age:  35-44
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  5-9

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 07/20/2015
First time playing Paired up at course Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather

Reviewed on

Great course. All you could ask for when playing at place that is advertised as one of Denver areas top courses. Great views & excellent course. Will definitely be back if in the area again!


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Quality of food & beverage: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Unique Course very well kept and busy."


tennis1637's avatar
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Female
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  25+

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 07/20/2015
First time playing Played with a group Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather

Reviewed on

On the first hole, I saw a fox... how cool was that?

Loved the short par 3's. Had some trouble with the longer par 5 holes as large CO rocks in the fairway make it a challenge. Narrow hitting area's on some holes.

Great fun course though.. beautiful mountain views.


Pace of Play: Average

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Very unique with great views"


golfguy3646's avatar
Age:  25-34
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a month
Handicap:  10-14

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/02/2015
First time playing Played with a group Used cart Played 18 holes Average weather

Reviewed on

I was lucky enough to play this course when it wasn't too busy. The boulders throughout the course and views made made the round really enjoyable. I will definitely play here again


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Quality of food & beverage: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"All in all, I'm a fan."


GordonATX's avatar
Top 100 Contributor
Austin Advisor
Age:  35-44
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a month
Handicap:  20-24

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 9/21/2010
First time playing

Reviewed on

It's been a few years since I played it, but it was very well maintained at the time. The course has some good, slight elevation changes. I like how a course designer will include those instead of simply flattening out an area. There's a fair amount of water hazards on the course. I'm not complaining -- just mentioning it in case you want to bring an extra sleeve of balls. Some of their well placed bunkers have higher sloping walls. They also incorporate more unusual snaking and/or puzzle piece patterns on some of the bunkers. I really like that from a visual standpoint because it's not just another oval or peanut shaped cutout. The greens were nicely size with just the right amount of breaks and undulation. And the rock out-croppings and the occasional mid-fairway obstacle add a little extra visual that you just don't get on other courses. All in all, I'm a fan.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Average

Value for the Money: Average

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


I recommend this course




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