The 10 best golf courses in Colorado (2022/2023)

Ballyneal golf course in Colorado.

Ballyneal Golf and Hunt Club in Holyoke, Colorado.

Channing Benjamin

As part of GOLF’s course rating process for 2022-23, our fleet of 100-plus expert panelists identified the best golf courses in Colorado. Browse the links below to check out all of our course rankings, or scroll down to see the best courses in Colorado.

GOLF’s other course rankings: Top 100 Courses in the World | Top 100 Courses in the U.S. | Top 100 Courses You Can Play | Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S. | America’s Best Municipal Courses | The 100 Best Short Courses in the World

SYMBOL GUIDE
1 = Top 100 Course in the U.S.
P = Public/Resort Course
V = Top 100 Value Course in the U.S.
M = Top 30 Municipal Course in the U.S.

Ed. note: Some courses were omitted from our rankings because they did not receive enough votes.

The best golf courses in Colorado (2022/2023)

1. Ballyneal (Holyoke) [1]

Founding a private club in a remote destination is not without peril and it is reasonable to expect a club to take some time find its footing. Now well in its second decade, Ballyneal enjoys its finest playing conditions since opening. Fescue fairways help the ground-game options flourish as balls release across the rumpled ground. Often on a Tom Doak course, the best way to get a ball close to the hole requires both imagination and creativity. That’s true in spades here as players delight in finding creative ways to use banks and punchbowl features.

2. Cherry Hills (Cherry Hills Village) [1]

While much of William Flynn’s work is clustered around Philadelphia, this design stands out as one of the few he did west of the Mississippi River. When it opened in the early 1920s, Cherry Hills was a ground-breaking design that featured America’s first par-5 island green. After a decade-plus-long restoration with Renaissance Golf Design’s Eric Iverson, the course once again showcases Flynn’s penchant for well-placed hazards and subtly crafted greens that demand that you stay below the hole. Its finishing stretch makes expert use of a lake as well as a creek that winds through the property. Standout holes include its 14th, 17th (featuring newly restored cross bunkers at two different junctures) and its famous 18th where you have to flirt with the lake to enjoy a level stance for your long, uphill approach. However, for pure charm, the stretch of the par 5 5th, par 3 6th and par 4 7th are hard to beat and deserves to be better known.

cherry hills golf club
Cherry Hills Golf Club.

3. Colorado GC (Parker)

4. Castle Pines (Castle Rock)

5. Broadmoor – East (Colorado Springs) [P]

6. Sanctuary (Sedalia)

7. CommonGround (Aurora) [P, V]

8. Riverdale Dunes (Brighton) [P]

9. RainDance National (Windsor) [P]

10. Frost Creek (Eagle)

the broadmoor
The beautiful Broadmoor. Courtesy of the Broadmoor

How we rank our courses

For GOLF’s course rankings lists, each panelist is provided a list of hundreds of courses and “buckets,” or groupings. If they believe the course to be among the best in its category (World, U.S. Value, etc.), they check the corresponding box to place it in a specific bucket. Panelists are also free to write in courses they felt should have been included on the ballot. Points were assigned to each bucket; to arrive at an average score for each course, we divide its aggregate score by the number of votes. From those point tallies, the courses are then ranked accordingly.

The key to the process is the experience and expertise of our panel. Hailing from 15 nations and all the worldwide golf meccas, each of our 115 handpicked panelists has a keen eye for architecture, both regionally and globally. Many of our panelists have played more than 1,000 courses in 20-plus countries.

Because we don’t prescribe a set method to assess courses as other ranks do, no one opinion carries the day — our rank is a democracy. Some panelists believe that enjoyment is the ultimate goal, and thus prioritize design attributes such as width and playing angles, while frowning on upon having to constantly hunt for balls in thick rough. Other panelists value challenge and the demands of hitting every club in the bag. Still others consider a course’s surroundings and overall environment of paramount importance, thereby emphasizing the setting and naturalness of the course. In the end, allowing raters to freely express their tastes is what produces the desired eclecticism in our Top 100 lists.

Panelist integrity is vital. Voters with any ties or associations to eligible courses must flag such conflicts. Panelists also know not to let the quality of their play influence their ballot — same for a luxe experience or clubhouse. While opulence may make for a more a memorable outing, it’s not what GOLF’s course lists are about. Our focus is on design and architecture. We study the course, not the trappings around it.

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