Molly McMulligan’s Fab 5

Molly McMulligan’s Fab 5: 19th Holes

Colorado’s best places to play once the round is over

It’s happened once or twice the past couple years: I tell my new-to-golf playing companions how much better I am at the 19th hole than the others, and they look at me quizzically. “19th hole? Whaaaat?”

Of course that’s where we order up drinks, pay up the quarters we lost during the course of the round, recap the highlights and plan a rematch. We might have lunch or dinner there, because we sure don’t want to go home after golf and cook a meal. It’s the best hole, a must-play, especially when we’ve been paired with strangers who become friends by the end of the day. And it’s right there waiting for us after we’ve played 18.

Colorado’s golf courses boast of many beautiful clubhouses, big views and welcoming decks for capping a day of golf. These five great 19th holes are listed alphabetically because they are all No. 1.

City Park Tavern

It used to be, you’d play City Park and groove on the views in about the middle of your round, then you’d finish up at the bottom of the hill at a 19th hole with character and history. Thanks to a complete renovation and rerouting three years ago, players can linger over a generous pour with the best views of all at a modern clubhouse with an inviting bar and restaurant. Denver skyscrapers? Snow-capped mountains? First tee? It’s all there for the looking, from the patio or one of the dining room’s community tables.

Patty Jewett Bar & Grill

Soak up the view of Pikes Peak while sipping on an Amen Corner or a Greenskeeper, surrounded by golfers and nongolfers drawn to this community hub. The clubhouse interior, Patty Jewett’s former home, speaks of the history of the course, established in Colorado Springs in 1898. But you can also join what’s likely to be a gregarious group on the patio, which is most inviting when the sun slips behind the mountain.

Bistro 28 at Pole Creek Golf Club

OK, so it’s the 28th hole, not the 19th, but that’s only because Pole Creek, the pride of Tabernash, has three nines. Here’s the best and worst of Bistro 28: The highly acclaimed food and unique setting make it so popular locally, weekend golfers might have trouble finding a place to sit! Grab a drink and wait on the patio, with views of a beautiful valley and the Continental Divide.

Park Place at the Ridge at Castle Pines North

Time your round to end at Friday happy hour, and your final putts may be met by cheers or jeers. It’s all in good fun from Ridge neighbors finishing out the work week with cocktails in the highly coveted Adirondack chairs on the lawn overlooking 18 green and the distant mountains. Inside, Park Place offers themed weeknight dinners and weekend brunches. Any day of the week, this is always the hardest hole to leave.

TPC Colorado Golf Cafe and Center Stage

When the semi-private golf course opened as the heart of Berthoud’s Heron Lakes development in 2018, builders gave players a temporary 19th hole that turned out to be just a tease for the now permanent clubhouse with three dining options. You probably won’t be up for an upscale steakhouse after sweating your way around the confounding putting greens here, but the burger bar at Golf Cafe or the more varied menu of Center Stage will lure you to a course-side seat with Longs Peak and Mount Meeker presiding.

Readers, please note: Excuse me if I left off your favorite. In fact, if you think you’ve got one better than these, let me know because I’d sure like to try it!