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Golf Course Review: Fossil Trace Golf Club, Golden, Colorado

Beer and dinosaurs, man.

Fossil Trace Golf Club is set upon a bluff overlooking downtown Golden, Colorado. Yes, it’s that Golden… the one with the ridiculously huge Coors factory that can produce a mind-blowing two to three million bottles of beer per freaking day.

But save the factory tour for later (it’s actually a little bit disappointing). The golf at Fossil Trace is amazing.

And, yes, it’s called Fossil Trace for a reason. You can literally — while you’re golfing a few holes on the back nine — check out some prehistoric history in the boulders lining the course.

Take some time after finishing the 12th hole to check out the fossils that line that fairway. Birds, triceratops footprints, and fronds are all visible. So cool.

On the day we went, the course wasn’t overrun by golfers. But we can imagine that backups are frequent beginning around the 13th hole as people check out fossils that include stegosaurus footprints!

Fossil Trace gets you started off right.

The opening hole at Fossil Trace is a great starting hole. It sets up with a blind tee shot to a split fairway. Either you keep it short and safe in the first part of the fairway, or you rear back and let it rip to the second and downhill-sloping fairway that can make you feel a little like Dustin Johnson if you hit it right. Or you can be like this guy here and hit it behind large sandstone pillar that sits directly in the center of the second fairway just a few yards onto the short grass.

The fun doesn’t stop at the first hole.

The rest of the course is awesome in so many ways. There are a number of elevation changes and rolling hills that provide so many distinct and challenging holes. Many greens have large undulations, making it imperative to first hit the right part of the green and second to read the breaks correctly. Although the greens are framed at times with deep bunkers, many of them are fairly accessible  and bordered by hills that make for breathtaking scenery and some interesting chips.

Some of the par fives are reachable in two and there is room for the wayward drive. However, there are also some hidden marshes and snaking fairway greens that will get you from time to time.


Favorite Holes

Hole 4 – Par 4 (383/426/480)

The holes begs you to go over the trees on the right side of the fairway. Going long and left puts water into play.

Hole 8 – Par 4 (317/372/412)

Deep bunkers protect a snaking fairway. The elevated tee provides a striking view.

Hole 10 – Par 4 (270/305/333)

A short par 4 that begs you to take it over the water. Be careful… there is a significant finger of marsh that reaches deep to the left of the green. Hit is straight and impress your friends.

Hole 12 – Par 5 (507/545/585)

Large sandstone pillars protect and frame the green. The old crane in the background adds to the appeal.

Hole 15 – Par 5 (480/536/565)

Nail the drive and you have an opportunity to reach this green in two. The approach is downhill and everything seems to funnel to the green.

Hole 16 – Par 3 (128/141/160)

The water here really shouldn’t be in play. But if you hit it short, those bunkers are well under the green.

Final Thoughts on Fossil Trace

This is a fun course and definitely is highly recommended for your Bars & Pars journey. The price point is solid in the $70-80 range and the views are amazing. And it’s in a great location.