Indian Tree golf course inclined with challenge

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Daniel Williams
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ARVADA - Golf is an expensive sport to play.

Drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, a putter and just the right wedge in a new golf bag are more expensive than ever. Then there are the costs of greens fees, which add up — so value golf is appreciated.

At Indian Tree Golf Course in Arvada, golf value meets one of the best municipal golf experiences in the state.

“We have one of the best golf values anywhere in Colorado here at Indian Tree Golf Course,” Indian Tree assistant professional Rudy Castaneda said. “We really try to give the golfers who play out here a great golf experience.”

The 43-year-old course, west of Wadsworth Boulevard and north of 72nd Avenue, in Arvada has some unique features, such as arrowhead shaped rocks, large wood carvings and teepees off the side of a few fairways.

“There are a lot of really cool things that are going on all around the course from the giant Bear carving to the sign in the middle of the course that gives you exact mileage from here to Augusta National Golf Course (in Georgia, home of the Masters),” said Sam Teller, a Indian Tree regular.

The course that plays just over 7,000 yards at times might feel like it plays 10,000 yards. That is because the course was built in the foothills, meaning some of the holes play uphill and require an extra club to get to the green.

On the flip side, several holes play downhill — so even the short hitter can feel like a big hitter once a shot starts rolling down the downhill fairway.

“I won’t lie; some holes out here can be tough, especially going uphill. But there is forgiveness coming back downhill. Indian Tree is really unique in its layout,” said Travis Cartwright, an Indian Tree patron.

The trek on the course starts on with a 359-yard, par 4 that plays uphill and doglegs left. Two big shots and a two-putt will result in par — but remember to club up on the approach shot, because the uphill journey will require extra muscle.

The front nine includes No. 4, a par 5 that can play up to 573 yards. The hole takes three quality shots to get to the green that turns left at almost a 90 degree angle and then an approach shot into a blind green. Not a lot of eagles result on hole No. 3.

The back nine is equally as challenging and features perhaps the course’s signature hole — No. 13, a par 3 that plays as short as 123 but as long as 225.

With water on the right, the street a little farther right and a tough carry to the green, No. 13 offers a true golf challenge.

“The par 3, 13th is one of the best par 3s around. It’s not only challenging and rewarding if you par, but it is also one of the best looking holes around,” Castaneda said.

A round ends with one of the best looking holes on the course — No. 18, a 430 yard, par 4 from the blue tees. Golfers tee off from one of the highest points on the golf course and balls typically funnel down the fairway.

But this is where it gets tricky. With water on the short right, an approach shot needs to be a high quality shot to the green.

Trouble surrounds golfers all the way down the fairway with trees and a pond — but if those who can handle the carry, the green is large and offers a chance at a tough par.

Indian Tree can be a challenge with the thick rough, many trees and multiple doglegs. But with four sets of tee boxes the course doesn’t necessarily have to play long.

“Our different tiers of tee boxes make the course welcoming and playable for any person of any level of play. You can play it really long but it doesn’t have to be if you don’t want it to be,” Castaneda said.

The course is also blessed to have Alan Abrams as its head professional. A 2013 Colorado Golf Hall of Fame inductee, Abrams has been teaching golf more than 40 years.

Indian Tree’s teaching staff, par 3 course and practice facilities — all at a very reasonable municipal course cost — make Indian Tree an extremely enjoyable golf experience.

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