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.
The 17th hole is the shortest par 3 at Park Hill Golf Club, playing 186 yards from the tips. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The 18th green sits in the shadow of the ivy-covered clubhouse at Park Hill Golf Club in Denver. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Players daring to cut the corner of the par-4 16th hole at Park Hill Golf Club must clear this scrub to find the fairway. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Mammoth greens are the No. 1 challenge at Park Hill Golf Club in Denver. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The tee shot on No. 5 at Park Hill Golf Club must clear this pond. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
A large green guards the left side of the first green at Park Hill Golf Club in Denver. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The third hole at Park Hill Golf Club is a 213-yard par 3. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Park Hill Golf Club plays through a pleasant parkland setting. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor