Homestead plays short but offers challenge

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LAKEWOOD - Most golfers think the longer the golf course, the more challenging the track. That’s not the case at Homestead Golf Course in Lakewood.

The par-65 municipal course located at 11500 West Hampden Ave. is short but tough and at the same time features some of the best scenic golf in the state.

“I have played a lot of golf courses in this state but few offer the experience that Homestead delivers,” Steve Billington said.

The 11-year-old championship course plays just over 5,000 yards — 1,000 to 2,000 yards shorter than an average championship course.

“There is a perception that because we are short the course is easy,” Homestead staff member Shannon Shin said.

“But if you have played out here you know that we might actually be more challenging than your average course.”

The journey starts at hole No. 1 titled “Happy Trails.”

The hole is 332 yards from the blue tees, and the elevated green is not visible from the approach shot.

No. 1 along with hole No. 10 — a 320-yard, par 4 that is straight up hill and plays more like 400 yards — are just two examples of holes on the course featuring an elevation change of more than 200 feet.

Conversely, several downhill holes provide the short hitters extra roll and allow the big hitters to attempt to go for the green on par 4s.

“One hole you are hitting way up hill, the next hole you are hitting downhill. Even if you play here often the experience is always a different one,” Billington said.

Holes 11-17 sit in a recessed bowl area in what was once a carbon mine in World War II, according to the City of Lakewood website.

These holes give you some of best looking views of the city and of the mountains.

Hole No. 17 known as “Death Valley” is the marquee hole on the course.

A par 3 that plays anywhere from 150 to 180 yards begins on an elevated tee box and forces golfers to hit their balls over a valley and onto an elevated green.

“No. 17 is definitely the signature hole at Homestead. Not only do you have to hit a perfect ball but you have to select the perfect club,” Homestead head professional Craig Parzybok said.

But for those planning to play the par 3s with your friends for a dollar per hole must be careful because while most championship courses feature four par 3s, Homestead has eight par 3s, nine par 4s and just a single par 5.

The links-style layout, designed by Denis Griffiths, is not surrounded by commercial development, which means the course is nestled in a natural setting.

“Scenicwise there are not many courses that can offer what Homestead offers. But we think the conditions and layout of our course are equally beautiful,” Parzybok said.

And Homestead has been addressing the effects of recent summer heat.

“It has been tough to keep the course green but our staff has managed to keep the course looking great all season. We have some really good people taking care of the course out here,” Shin said.

Coming up on Friday, Aug. 16, Homestead will honor Jack Evert, its longtime starter who passed away earlier this year. The course will hold the “Almost Perfect” Golf Tournament, an 18-hole, four-person scramble in honor of Evert.

For more information, call 720-963-5181.