Molly McMulligan’s Fab 5


by Susan Fornoff

For Mark Twain, golf may well have been a good walk spoiled. But in Colorado, golf can enhance a walk with glimpses of wildlife and views of 14ers, not to mention friends made and pounds lost.

Not all courses, however, are walkable. Courses designed to meander through housing developments often require long treks, including crossing streets or sometimes passing under them, to get from green to tee. Sometimes those treks can be so long, the course prohibits walking in order to maintain a respectable pace of play. Other courses may be too hilly for all but the most fit. And at least one unique layout in Colorado (talking to you, Evergreen!) is so condensed that walkers may feel dangerously exposed to shots from neighboring fairways: Safer to have that cart roof overhead.

A good rule of thumb: The older the golf course, the more walker-friendly the layout. After all, golf carts did not emerge until the 1950s. Alas, that means many of our state’s best walking courses are private. But walking courses are making a comeback, as you’ll see on this list of five excellent 18s anyone can enjoy strolling without a hardhat.

  1. Patty Jewett Golf Course (Colorado Springs): If golfers wanted to ride when Patty Jewett opened, they’d have to take a horse! That might explain why the next tee is usually just beyond the last green, and a friendly little halfway house awaits with refreshments and restrooms at the turn. The walk is flat, but the views are towering: That’s Pike’s Peak casting the big shadow.
  2. Overland Golf Course (Denver): Denver is full of old courses built for walkers – including some of the privates like Lakewood, Denver and Cherry Hills, and two of the city’s municipal gems, City Park and Wellshire. Overland, set along the west side of Santa Fe Drive, is older than all of them. It’s got lots of shade trees and no homes along its fairways, which are 100 percent flat. On my Fitbit, though, it weighs in at around 14,000 steps.
  3. Riverdale Dunes (Brighton): Pete and Perry Dye created Riverdale Dunes in the style of Scottish links courses, which are the ultimate wonderful walks for golfers. Of course, it must be noted: It’s rare to see a golf “buggie” in Scotland. Walkers here love the big-sky views and the cut-throughs that make the next tee even more accessible.
  4. CommonGround Golf Course (Denver): On a hot summer afternoon, CommonGround might exhaust you. It’s a newer course (2009) that was designed for walkers, but with back tees at over 7,100 yards, it’s long and has no shade. So, take advantage of the summer caddie program (free to players, with a $20 tip expected) and have a youngster manage your bag while you carry a shady umbrella.
  5. TPC Colorado (Berthoud): The new kid on the block (2018) shares the Scottish links feel with other walker-friendly layouts, but with a twist. Its 18 mostly flat holes make a loop throughout and around the Heron Lakes housing community, which means that walkers need not worry about slices and hooks from neighboring fairways. And the houses aren’t so menacing that tee shots will break windows. Still, afternoon winds here can make the walk feel long; fortunately, the course’s clubhouse is now open for 19th hole resuscitation.

Veteran journalist Susan Fornoff has written about golf for publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, ColoradoBiz magazine and her own She became a CGA member when she moved from Oakland, CA, to Littleton in 2016, and ghost-writes as “Molly McMulligan,” the CGA’s on-course consultant on golf for fun.


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