· course reviews · 6 min read

Fossil Trace Golf Club - Detailed Course Guide

Discover the Fossil Trace Golf Club in Golden, CO. Our detailed guide has course info, photos, reviews, scorecard, tips, and more.

Discover the Fossil Trace Golf Club in Golden, CO. Our detailed guide has course info, photos, reviews, scorecard, tips, and more.

Photo courtesy of Fossil Trace Golf Club

Course Snapshot


If you’ve ever wanted to play a round of golf where dinosaurs once roamed, surrounded by remnants of Colorado’s mining history, all while enjoying stunning mountain views, then Fossil Trace Golf Club is your Jurassic Park meets Wild West dream come true. Located in the historic city of Golden, just 20 minutes west of downtown Denver, this Jim Engh-designed course offers a golfing experience that’s about as unique as finding a T-Rex in your backyard.

A Course 64 Million Years in the Making

Opened in July 2003, Fossil Trace Golf Club sits on land that has seen more action than a geological soap opera. We’re talking dinosaurs, tropical swamps, and more recently, clay mining operations. It’s like Mother Nature decided to create the ultimate theme park, and then Jim Engh came along and said, “You know what this needs? 18 holes of golf.”

Unique Features: Where Prehistoric Meets Present Day

Fossil Trace Photo

Photo courtesy of Fossil Trace Golf Club

Dinosaur Footprints: Not Your Average Hazard

Near the 12th green, you can find honest-to-goodness Triceratops footprints. It’s the closest you’ll get to playing a round with dinosaurs without the help of CGI or a very adventurous paleontologist.

The Logo Leaf: A 64-Million-Year-Old Branding Genius

The course logo features a palm leaf fossil found on the property. It’s probably the oldest logo inspiration in golf history, predating even the most ancient of country club crests.

Mining Remnants: Obstacles with a Story

Scattered throughout the course are remnants of clay mining equipment. It’s like a museum exhibit, but with the added challenge of trying to avoid hitting your ball into it.

Signature Holes: Where Golfing Memories Are Forged

Fossil Trace Photo

Photo courtesy of Fossil Trace Golf Club

Hole 1: The Grand Opening

Voted the #1 starting hole in Colorado (multiple times!), this par-5 opener sets the stage for what’s to come. With a well-placed tee shot, you have the option to go for the green in two. But beware the “muscle bunker” guarding the left side of the green. It’s called a muscle bunker because you’ll need some serious biceps to get out of it.

Hole 12: The Sandstone Slalom

Fossil Trace Photo

Photo courtesy of Fossil Trace Golf Club

This is where Jim Engh’s creativity (or madness, depending on your scorecard) really shines. Sandstone pillars stand proudly in the fairway, challenging you to navigate around or over them. It’s like playing golf in a rock garden, minus the zen.

Hole 15: The Split Decision

A reachable par-5 with a fairway that splits near the green, separated by piled sandstones. It’s a hole that asks the eternal question: “To go for it, or not to go for it?” Shakespeare would have loved this one.

Course Design: Jim Engh’s Magnum Opus

Jim Engh, known for his, let’s say, “unique” approach to golf course design, really outdid himself at Fossil Trace. It’s as if he looked at conventional golf course architecture and said, “Nah, too boring. Let’s add some rocks and prehistoric footprints.”

Risk-Reward: Because Golf Isn’t Thrilling Enough

Engh peppered the course with risk-reward opportunities that will test both your skills and your decision-making abilities. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure book, but with more sand traps.

Greens and Bunkers: A Test of Skill and Sanity

The greens are large and undulating, while the bunkers are deep and numerous. It’s a combination that will make you appreciate the finer points of your short game, or send you running to the nearest golf clinic.

The Playing Experience: Mountain Vibes in the City

Fossil Trace Photo

Photo courtesy of Fossil Trace Golf Club

Despite being just a stone’s throw (or a well-hit drive) from Denver, Fossil Trace manages to provide a mountain course feel. As you navigate the rolling topography, you’ll be treated to views of the foothills and the majestic Table Mountain. It’s like playing in the Rockies, but with better cell phone reception.

A Hole-by-Hole Adventure

Each hole at Fossil Trace tells its own story. From the opening drama of Hole 1 to the potential glory (or agony) of the par-5 18th, every shot is an opportunity for heroics or humility. It’s like reading a novel, but with more walking and occasional cursing.

The shadows of the foothills play across the fairways, creating a constantly changing canvas. Table Mountain looms in the background, a silent sentinel overseeing your round. It’s almost enough to distract you from that triple bogey you just scored. Almost.

Beyond the Course: Amenities and Attractions

The Clubhouse: A Historical Haven

Just inside the main doors of the clubhouse, you’ll find an exhibit detailing the property’s rich history. It’s like a museum visit and a golf outing rolled into one. Talk about efficient entertainment!

Practice Areas: Hone Your Prehistoric Swing

Before tackling the course, warm up at the practice facilities. Who knows, you might unearth some hidden talent. Just don’t expect to dig up any actual fossils – that’s frowned upon.

Awards and Accolades: Not Just Prehistoric Hype

Fossil Trace has been honored as “Best Golf Course in Denver” multiple times by Colorado golf and lifestyle publications. It’s like the Academy Awards of golf, but with less red carpet and more green fairways.

Tips for Playing Fossil Trace: A Survival Guide

  1. Check the wind: Especially on the 659-yard 9th hole. If it’s blowing in your face, consider packing a lunch.
  2. Respect the rocks: On Hole 12, the sandstone pillars are not to be used as bounce boards. Trust us on this one.
  3. Bring a camera: Between the views and the unique features, you’ll want photographic evidence. Otherwise, no one will believe you when you tell them about the dinosaur footprints.

In Conclusion: Why Fossil Trace is a Must-Play

Fossil Trace Golf Club is more than just a golf course – it’s a journey through time, a test of skill, and a feast for the eyes. Where else can you play a round of golf, see dinosaur tracks, and potentially find yourself in a sandstone maze, all while enjoying mountain views?

It’s a course that manages to be both challenging for skilled players and enjoyable for casual golfers. Whether you’re a scratch golfer or someone who thinks a birdie is just something you see in trees, Fossil Trace offers an experience you won’t soon forget.

So, grab your clubs (and maybe a geology textbook) and head to Fossil Trace. Just remember, if you hear any roaring, it’s probably just the wind. Probably.

Ready to Tee Off in Prehistoric Style?

To book a tee time or learn more about Fossil Trace Golf Club, visit their official website. Don’t wait 64 million years to experience this unique golfing adventure!

Remember, at Fossil Trace, every round is a chance to make history – or at least play among it.

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