Pagosa Springs Golf Club - Ponderosa Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.8

Golf - Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 35
Pagosa Springs, CO

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Pagosa Springs Golf Club - Ponderosa Course Review

Review of Pagosa Springs Golf Club – Ponderosa Course

Pagosa Springs Golf Club is home to three nine hole courses that are framed by towering Pagosa Pines, some clear lakes, beautiful mountain homes, and the stunning San Juan Mountains.  Each of the nines has its own unique personality and characteristics:

  • Meadows is the longest at 3734 from the tips and it’s a links style course that has water on 7 of the 9 holes and several intimidating forced carries over the water – bring a life jacket or at least a long ball retriever
  • Pinon is the middle of the roader in terms of length and difficulty and it’s got wide forgiving fairways, some elevation changes, and good greens
  • Ponderosa plays up and down through the towering ponderosa pines and is the shortest of the three and the only par 35

We didn’t have time to play the Meadow Course but here is a link to our review of the Pinon Course

In June 2013, Pagosa Springs Golf Club was in receivership, being managed by Tri Star a premier golf management company, and was going through a transition waiting for new owners.  In addition, Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico were suffering through a third year of drought and no rain, which has had a significant impact on the course conditions.  In addition, the snowpack was light this year which also impacts the conditions.  And even worse, in mid-2013 the water pump for the Pinon Course broke!  What a streak of bad luck – pray for rain!

We enjoyed playing the Ponderosa nine – it’s scenic as it plays up the hills and back down through some towering ponderosa pines with some beautiful views of the San Juan Mountains rising high into the clouds, and it seems peaceful and serene.   It’s short at 3136 yards and a par 35 – offering a great opportunity to turn in a good score if you can keep the ball in the fairway. And it’s got some great holes like:

  •  #3 is short at 348 yards but challenging thanks to a very narrow fairway with no room for error (spray it and you’ll need to reload) and a skinny oblong challenging green guarded by a bunker on its left side – this hole puts a premium on accuracy from tee to green to par it
  • The #1 handicap par 4 #4 is 442 yards with a wide landing zone, a downhill slight dog leg right, and a well-guarded green with 3 bunkers
  • #5 offers a dramatic elevated tee box and a big downhill shot where you’ll want to let-er-rip
  • #9 is a great finishing hole – an elevated tee shot to a dog leg right long 567 yard par 5 leading to a green with two bunkers waiting for your approach shot – watch out for the two towering ponderosas on the right side of the fairway that could stop or block your tee shot

The fairways on the Pagosa Springs Golf Club Ponderosa nine are the tightest of all three nines and when we played, thanks to the limited snowfall and drought were a little dry and brown in spots, but still very playable.  The rough was cut thin and easy to get out of, but miss it and you’re most likely lost.  There are lots of ups and downs and elevation changes and the fairways are relatively flat with very few uneven lies.  Most of the fairways are lined with some beautiful mountain and vacation homes. 

The greens on the Ponderosa Nine range in size and shape from some ovals to some tough oblongs.  The greens are good sized making the approach shouts a little easier. All of them have some slope and lots of contour which you need to carefully study before you putt.  When we played they were in very good condition, ran true and at a great speed, and held the ball well.

The 14 bunkers are all guarding the green, putting a premium on your short game.  The sand is gritty, thin, and firm and tough to get under.  The lips are 2 to 4 inches and easy to carry.

Bottom line – a very fair, fun, scenic, peaceful nine with pretty good conditions and some fun holes and best of all an opportunity to turn in a good score

Slope and rating are based on playing the Pinon and Ponderosa Nines.

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 3,136 69.5 115
White 2,874 67.5 113
Red 2,452 68.2 123

Course Information

Course Architect:
Johnny Bulla
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 0 holes and the 14 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$39.00 to $86.00

Service is ok, the course keeps busy but the pace of play for us on a Sunday morning was excellent, the pro shop has a limited supply of the basics, and the range and putting green are adequate. The outside grill at the turn serves burgers, sandwiches, dogs, and more.



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.