Gypsum Creek Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.2

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Gypsum, CO

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Gypsum Creek Golf Course Review

Gypsum Creek (formerly known as Cotton Ranch) has a great location in the "Banana Belt" of Eagle River Valley just south of Gypsum, CO and very near the Eagle Regional Airport.


Gypsum Creek is loaded with classic Pete Dye features.  It's a nice combination of links-style golf with 14 of its holes winding through meadowlands and 4 of its holes playing mountain-style golf.


The front nine opens with some rather tame first three holes.  Then the 4th hole is a challenging uphill, double dogleg 555 yd (black tees) number 1 handicap par 5.  The receptive green has saved me when I've played this hole.  (See photo).  My real challenges are holes 5 through 8.  These holes play up on the ridge west of the meadow.  Holes 5 and 6 are classic par 4 and 5 target golf holes.  The 7th hole is my nemesis.  It's not long but you need to work the ball right to left with a fairway wood or long iron to hold this dogleg right fairway and have a clear shot to this tough green.


The 8th hole is probably Gypsum Creek's most famous.  It's a severe downhill par 3 (see photo) with O.B. fence on the right keeping a field often loaded with grazing deer off the green.  I play the Brown Tees and find my pitching wedge is just right for the 161 yd shot that often has very strong crosswinds.  Normally in Colorado altitudes my PW is a 125 yd club.


The par 4 9th brings you back past some old farm and ranch remnants and near the clubhouse.  Be careful not to over club off the tee on the short par 4 10th hole or you'll find a stream at the end of the fairway that's not visible from the tee box.  The 11th hole is a rather strange and challenging par 4.  If you try to carry the hazard off the tee the safe landing area is smaller than the Gypsum Creek Pro Shop floor.  If you elect the wiser option and lay up short of the hazard you'll have a very tough 190 yd shot to the green with loads of trouble to the right.  Good luck!


The last 7 holes are relatively mellow and offer chances to recover from the tougher holes in the middle of the round.  The 18th hole is a short par 4 with a challenging 2nd shot over a stream.  Another classic Pete Dye design.  See photo of the bridge and clubhouse shot from the 18th green.


Gypsum Creek's fairways are normally lush and their greens are generally in very good condition compared to most Colorado mountain courses.  The tee boxes were going through a repair phase when I last played there in August, 2012.  I'd bet they'll be in fine shape in 2013.  If you're a real long hitter and love to play the tips you'll have to do some searching just to find the Black Tees on some holes.  The Brown Tees play at 6,468 yds and that seems to be a good length for someone playing around a 10 handicap.


Sam Sherstad

Writer, Recreation Travel Reviews

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,980 72.9 130
Blue 6,468 71.5 123
White 6,048 70.8 118
Red 5,197 70.1 117

Course Information

Course Architect:
Pete Dye
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Yes, but tough hill on front nine
Beware of water on 13 holes and the 38 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.2 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:

Susie Helmerich, LPGA Professional, and her staff are taking Gypsum Creek Golf Course out of some tough times under the prior ownership/management and are building a fine golf community here in Gypsum. They have some great programs for couples, women and men's leagues, youth programs and some great tournaments. Their rates are reasonable and their weather tends to be nicer than the higher altitude mountain courses east and south of Gypsum. Give Gypsum Creek a try. You'll enjoy it.



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! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

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.