Rio Grande Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.5

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
South Fork, CO

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Rio Grande Golf Club Review

This is the place to go if you love the mountains, golf, fishing and even skiing.  You can do them all in one day with the Rio Grande Golf Club, fishing the Gold Medal Rio Grande River at South Fork and even skiing the morning in the Spring at Wolf Creek!  Ahh, the trifecta!

In 2003 Golf Digest listed Rio Grande Club among the Top 10 best new upscale public golf facilities in America.  The air is fresh and the views are superb.  The course winds through sandstone outcroppings and stands of cottonwood, pine and aspen.  The front nine works along both sides of the Rio Grande River.  But it's the back nine that really gets exciting with elevated tees and rolling fairways lined by rocks, trees, marshland and water.

The course offers 4 tee box options ranging from a whopping 7,144 yards from the tips (Blue tees) to a mellow 5,409 yards from the red tees.

The course has gone through some ownership changes since its opening in 2003.  It seems to have found its groove now.  Better than 35% of the property owners are Texans.  That's no surprise when you think of the cool, fresh air and all the amenities offered here.

Check in to a Stay and Play deal.  If you rent lodging from a member of the golf club I'm told you will receive all the member benefits.  Double check that when making your booking.

The first hole is a beauty played from an elevated tee with rock wall bordering the right rough.  The remainder of the front nine stays low and near the river.

The back nine is a challenging and beautiful climb and drop along a rocky and wooded ridge.  Hole #11 was my favorite.  It's a par 4 with a big drop off the tee then a dogleg left to an elevated green.

The drive up to the 17th tee box is a real workout for your gas golf cart.  It's supposedly a driveable par 4 330 yard shot from the white tee.  You are to climb a structure and peer over the hill to see if the green is clear.....if you're a big hitter.

The 18th hole compares to one the pros would play on the tour.  It's a par 5 off a high tee played down to a wide fairway.  The big challenge is safely hitting the green well protected by a large pond in front of the sturdy Colorado-style clubhouse, bar, restaurant and fitness center.

Head up to this beauty at the base of Wolf Creek.  You'll love it.

Sam Sherstad   Writer, Recreation Travel Reviews

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,144 71.8 135
Blue 6,609 69.5 129
White 5,978 66.9 116
Red 5,409 69.0 129

Course Information

Course Architect:
Redstone Golf/Buckton & Benson
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 8 holes and the 51 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$79.00 to $119.00



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.