Hillcrest Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.8

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 71
Durango, CO

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Hillcrest Golf Club Review

Review of Hillcrest Golf Course

Wow, what a pleasant surprise.  When we drove past Hillcrest Golf Club it looked flat and boring with side by side holes and very little character and we thought it was a muni course which typically means low rates, somewhat poor conditions, and a slow pace of play.  But that wasn’t the case at all – Hillcrest Golf Course:

  • sits on leased land, is non profit, and member owned which helps keep the rates low and the conditions excelllent
  • is scenic with some rolling green fairways, sparkling ponds with water fountains, the towering San Juan Mountains far in the distance to the West, the LaPlata Mountains closer in, the Animas River Valley, and a ridgeline dotted with some homes to the east
  • has some very interesting and fun holes
  • is in great condition and an excellent value
  • has what may be the best and most challenging greens in Colorado. 

Hillcrest Golf Club's first nine holes was established in 1969 on some land sitting atop a mesa overlooking historic Durango and another nine was added in the 80's.  The course was built to leverage the natural terrain and as such you'll encounter some flat tree lined fairways as well as some dramatic up and down hill shots. 

With four sets of tees boxes and yardages ranging from 5194 to 6912 yards and some straight ahead, what you see is what you get, and side by side holes, the major defense when you play Hillcrest are the greens which are heavily contoured and sloping and very slick and fast.  If you can one or two putt, you’ll have a fun and low scoring round.

In addition to some great scenery, Hillcrest is home to some very fun holes:

  • The first six holes on the front nine play downhill and then back up the hill creating some fun shots from elevated tee boxes and some longer uphill shots; for instance, #2 is a 421 par 4 with an elevated tee shot and a slight dog left through a tight fairway to a raised green with a left and right side bunker and #3 is a fun and long (527 yards) uphill climb to a green tucked on the right side which requires a precise shot to avoid the hidden ponds on both sides and the two bunkers
  • #8 is a 404 yard par 4 with a 90 degree dog leg left and it offers a great risk reward shot if you think you can carry the trees or get lucky and roll under them to the fairway for a chip shot to the green
  • #12 is a great par 3 with a 90 to197 yard carry over a sparkling blue pond and a long bunker fronting the green – the mountains form a scenic backdrop to this great hole
  • 17 is fun – a 564 yard dog leg right par 5 that offers a very risky second shot to try and fly the trees and out of bounds area for a potential birdie

As mentioned earlier, what makes playing Hillcrest Golf Club challenging are the greens – most are raised, they range from small to average size, all have lots of contour and slope (some of which is severe and will take your ball back down to the fairway and a couple are like a turtle's back), and they are fast.  When we played they were in excellent condition and running around 10 to 11.  You’ll need to come in high and soft to keep the ball from rolling off the green.  They run true and if you can read the breaks and adjust to the speed you’ll love them!  Practice your putting before you tee off.

The fairways were also in very good condition when we played in June.  They range from generous off the tee box to a tad tight from tee to green – in most cases the holes are what you see is what you get, no tricks and only a couple surprises.  The good news is if you do spray the ball, you’ll be in another fairway or on a very playable rough and have a good recovery shot.  Elevation changes will require you to club up or down.  And at 6800’ in elevation, you’ll get some extra yardage and it’s a blast to let-er-rip from the elevated tee boxes.

The roughs are and bunkers were also in very good condition.  The bunkers range in size, have very playable lips (I did happen to find the ones that are steep and deep), and good sand.

Bottom line – we aren’t big fans of side by side holes but Hillcrest Golf Course is a very good course with a fun and playable layout, excellent but challenging greens, and a very affordable rates.

Read all about this fun trip to Southern Colorado/Northern New Mexico where this is one of the courses we played.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,380 69.5 122
White 5,938 67.5 116
Gold 6,912 71.2 130
Red 5,194 68.7 122

Course Information

Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 8 holes and the 34 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$22.00 to $49.00

Service is very good and friendly, the grill has the basics, the pro shop is well stocked, and the practice facilites are adequate.



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.