Plans fleshed out for first 2 courses at Rodeo Dunes — both publicly accessible — on the plains northeast of Denver
By Gary Baines – 4/18/2023
Slow, but steady.
That’s the story of new — or totally redone — golf courses coming online in Colorado in recent years.
After the go-go days of a quarter-century ago — when in a five-year period from 1997-2001, 42 new courses opened in Colorado — it’s certainly a different rhythm, albeit arguably more healthy in the long run.
Nowadays — in the period following the Great Recession, when the state suffered a net loss in the total number of golf courses, with such mainstays as Green Gables Country Club and Fitzsimons Golf Course among those closing — Colorado is seeing a new course every year or two on average.
In recent years, that’s included TPC Colorado in Berthoud, Flying Horse North in Colorado Springs, the new City Park Golf Course in Denver and RainDance National in Windsor. Developers of a yet-unnamed course in southern Aurora at E-470 and Parker Road — on the Kings Point property — have targeted a tentative opening in the fall of 2025. And Bella Ridge, a new public course designed by Art Schaupeter, is planned for Johnstown, according to the Golf Course Architecture publication, with a targeted opening in 2025.
Also looking ahead, a couple more intriguing courses have been added to the list in the last year, with Rodeo Dunes near Roggen, an eastern plains town on I-76 northeast of Denver. The project — located 42 miles from DIA, 61 miles from the Denver Tech Center and 64 miles from Boulder — has two “publicly accessible” courses in the works currently, and room for four more on the 2,000-plus acres of property.
The project — led by owners/developers Michael and Chris Keiser, son of Mike Keiser — was formally announced in a press release on Tuesday, though some information started coming forth last year. Mike Keiser founded and developed Bandon Dunes in Oregon and purchased the land for Sand Valley in Wisconsin, where his sons have spearheaded the development — along with at other revered layouts.
Two routings on the Rodeo Dunes site are complete, with golf construction schedule to begin this summer, with a planned opening in 2025.
One of the new routings was done by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, whose most high-profile work in the state was done at Parker-based Colorado Golf Club, the site of a Senior PGA Championship, a Solheim Cup and a U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Coore and Crenshaw worked on similar topography — an “inland links landscape” — at their acclaimed Sand Hills Golf Club in central Nebraska.
Photo of the Rodeo Dunes property by Brandon Carter.
The other Rodeo Dunes routing was done by longtime Coore and Crenshaw associate Jim Craig, who is making his design debut.
“Our model is Sand Hills,” Michael Kaiser told Golf.com. “Except we want to be public, and with more than one course. Everything will be pretty spartan. The goal is to create raw, pure golf, with everything else stripped away.”
Added Keiser in Tuesday’s release: “The moment I set foot on this land, I knew this was the place. The dunes are perfect – tall and rolling, with unlimited possibilities for great golf holes.
“You just could not ask for a better site. The land requires minimal shaping. We know what kind of amazing work Bill and Ben do, and their routing is as great as you would expect from them. Jimmy Craig’s layout explores the property in a way that feels both familiar and fresh. These two courses will complement each other and will be a blast to play.”
Shortly after the addition of the Coore/Crenshaw and Craig courses, a short course and putting course are planned for the property, which was previously owned by the Cervi family, which produces rodeo events across the country — hence the Rodeo Dunes name.
For more information about Rodeo Dunes, CLICK HERE.
About the Author: Gary Baines owns and operates ColoradoGolfJournal.com