Formerly private Golf Club at Fox Acres in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado opens to the public

RED FEATHER LAKES, Colo. -- Once upon a time the Golf Club at Fox Acres was an exclusive private retreat so remote only a few were lucky enough to spend time here and strike tee shots in the solitude and peacefulness of ponderosa pines, sandstone rock outcroppings, scampering marmots and 15 trout-filled lakes.

Lucky for you -- the daily-fee golfer -- Fox Acres will now add your name to the tee sheet to enjoy 459 mountain acres surrounded by the Roosevelt National Forest and the Rawah and Medicine Bow mountain ranges.

How remote is it? Once you get out of traffic-snarled Fort Collins, you will start seeing signs to Laramie, Wyo., 55 miles away.

Fox Acres: A tale of revitalization

The enjoyment found here has gone through test after test -- fire, flood and bankruptcy. Today's Fox Acres has proven to be resilient.

In 2014 a group of 27 former members formed an LLC and bought the golf club and the residential holdings out of foreclosure.

PGA General Manager Matt Reinick, who arrived in May 2014, guided the comeback for Touchstone Golf, a boutique golf course management company with about 35 clients.

When a pipe burst in winter much of the clubhouse had to be renovated. And Reinick had his hands full outside, too, continuing to restore the 6,481-yard, par-71 course to its former former excellence.

"I don't think the greens had been aerified in five years when I arrived," Reinick said. "So they were 70 percent gone. Luckily this year the state had great snowfall, and we had rain every day until Memorial Day to give the greens lots of moisture to rebound."

Fox Acres: Leave the driver in the bag

Designed by John Cochran, Fox Acres is situated at 8,300 feet in altitude, and its layout features diabolical three-putt greens, blind shots and 100 bunkers, many of them massive. There's also constant elevation changes.

A towering ponderosa pine may be in your view down the right fairway boundary, but avoid it, and you might just be tantalized by a lake down the left fairway edge.

"Driver might only be useful on two or three holes," Reinick said. "That 6,481 yardage is totally deceiving. It is target golf with blind shots and huge greens with a ton of undulations."

Peace and quiet is what most golfers tell Reinick is a huge asset. Scenic is another word, and names of the holes such as "Black Bear," "Moose Crossing," "Sleeping Elephants" and "Fox Den" give you a clue to how special this place is.

"We have the coolest finishing hole in Colorado," Reinick continued. "It is a 214-yard par 3 over a lake to the clubhouse."

Those enjoying the popular restaurant have an outstanding view to watch those teeing off on no. 18.

Golf Digest ranked Fox Acres no. 17 on its 2012 list of the "Most Fun Golf Courses You Can Play in America."

Fox Acres: More than just golf

Thanks to 10 stay-and-play "Club" rooms, Fox Acres is perfect for a multiple-day stay. There's even a package that includes all the golf you can play in a 24-hour period and use of a golf cart to and from your room.

"We really cater to golfers from Denver north because of the remote location," Reinick said. "And this is the only course in that area that has a mountain golf course." The rest are prairie, eastern plains-type golf experiences.

Fly-fishing, hiking and biking are available on site, and kayaking is not far away. Red Feather Lakes is where the Cache La Poudre River has whitewater rafting, kayaking and world-class fishing. The 108-foot-tall Great Stupa of Dharmakaya is a tourist stop. This example of Buddhist architecture was even visited by the Dalai Lama.

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter @David_R_Holland.

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Formerly private Golf Club at Fox Acres in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado opens to the public