I've wanted to test my skills at Cougar Canyon for a long time. I played it July 16, 2010 on a typically beautiful Southern Colorado day with 3 good friends that drove up from Dallas for a week of Colorado golf. GOLF Magazine listed Cougar Canyon in 2007 as one of the top 10 courses you can play. And they're right!
This Nicklaus Design course proved to be a challenge to our skills and our egos. We played the Blue tees knowing the 7,669 yd 76.2 rating and 139 slope would be way too much for us for our first day (or any day).
The course proved to be a beauty. The fairways are wide enough but serious trouble awaits wayward shots. The greens are big and fast. A unique feature is their black sandtraps. The sand is actually crushed volcanic rock from New Mexico. It's fairly soft and dry and you won't get a buried lie in these traps. I think we saw cougar tracks in one of the traps up in the hills.
There are elevation changes and at 6,000' above sea level walking this course would be a real workout for a visiting lowlander.
The par 5s are exceptional. Hole 3 is a target golf adventure while hole 6 offers a split fairway option. Some are blind off the tee so this would be a great course to play several times and learn what's over those hills.
Their signature hole is the par 3 16th sitting like a rock island surrounded by canyons..............But it's not as tough as it looks in the photos. My buddy and I both birdied it......and both took a big sigh of relief when the downhill putts found the cup.
The current economy has caused struggles for Cougar Canyon as the bank financing their hotel went under and construction on the hotel is on hold. But the pro shop, villas and golf course are all in super shape at this time. And Cougar Canyon offers Stay n Play deals with three fine Trinidad hotels.
Lastly, I didn't get to try it but someday I hope to enroll in their Phil Ritson-Mel Sole Golf School. Cougar Canyon would be a great place for a 1, 2 or 3 day golf school.
Rates: $65.00 to $99.00
Laurie and Kristen do a great job of running a classy pro shop. See photo. Cougar Canyon seems to be attracting a lot of good tournaments which is exactly what they need in this economy. They do a fine job on the course maintainence and management. The Player's Assistants give helpful tips and keep the pace of play reasonable.
Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating
The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this: links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses!
All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course. In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40. We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.