Molly McMulliGan’s Fab 5

Colorado’s oldest golf courses

We can thank a British earl, a mining executive and a British legend for golf’s late-19th-century growth sprout in Colorado.

The courses built in Estes Park by the fourth Earl of Dunraven no longer exist, but mogul Henry Wolcott’s Denver project, Overland Park Country Club, stuck, with a boost from exhibition matches featuring golf star Harry Vardon.

All five courses on the list below opened as “clubs,” the way courses tend to be known even today in Great Britain. Two became public, municipal courses anyone can play now, but three remain part of the state’s ever-thriving private club scene.

They’re all babies compared to the oldest course I’ve ever played, the St Andrews Old Course. It opened in 1552, more than 300 years year before there was even a Colorado.

Overland Park Country Club opened in 1896 as a nine-holer in the center of a racetrack on property that now houses Denver’s 18-hole Overland Park Golf Course. “Park” seems especially apt today, considering the unusually high number of trees that line the fairways.

According to, the histories of Denver Country Club and Overland overlap because the Overland property was called Denver Country Club until Denver Country Club relocated to its current location alongside Cherry Creek in 1902. The 1904 clubhouse became the center of an entire neighborhood that has become known as the Country Club District.

Down in Colorado Springs, Town and Gown Golf Club opened in 1898 as an 18-hole layout designed by Scotland’s Willie Campbell. William Jewett bought the course and changed its name to Patty Jewett in honor of his late wife, then presented it to the city. Today there are 27 holes at the busy municipal facility where Patty’s portrait still hangs in the old portion of the clubhouse.

Pueblo Country Club was organized in 1903 by three local gentlemen.  Members, friends and family cleared the land to open for golf on June 1 that year. Henry Hughes added nine holes to become the signature architect in the 1960s.

Lakewood Country Club claims a colorful history after its official opening in 1908, and also before. The account at reports that nine holes were on the property as early as 1905, though with dirt fairways and sandy greens. Its layout was created by Tom Bendelow, City Park’s architect, and later renovated by Donald Ross. Lakewood has been home to many CGA tournaments and this year will host the men’s and women’s match play championships.

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. Email her at


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