The hills are alive at Arthur Hills-designed Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club in Aurora, Colorado

AURORA, Colo. -- Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club, an Arthur Hills-designed layout, rolls through hilly terrain with elevation changes, 62 strategically placed bunkers, lakes, streams and rugged native areas.

Opened in 2000, it's beefed up at 7,105 yards at an elevation above 6,000 feet. The fairways are wide and forgiving, but you are going to be challenged with a variety of tricky lies, and if you find the bluegrass rough, that presents another problem.

"There are a lot of undulating fairways that go uphill and downhill," Assistant Professional Brian Bonos said. "You won't always have an easy, flat lie, but this is a fun, challenging course that you can play over and over and still not get tired of the routing."

Bonos said that frequently he will meet and talk to a golfer off the course who says, "You guys are private, right?" Bonos is happy to say no, that anyone is welcome to play on this centerpiece of the 55-and-older subdivision named Heritage Eagle Bend.

Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club: The routing

The signature hole is no. 15, a 194-yard, par 3 downhill to a small green protected by bunkers. Picking the right club is essential with water fronting the green and a steep slope guarding the back -- make sure you hit the largest green on the course.

"It's my favorite because it is just a good looking hole over water with a rolling green," Bonos said. "It just makes you stop and think a bit before you make the shot."

No. 17 is a downhill, 456-yard par 4 with a nice view of the finishing hole to your right. Everything slopes to the right. A tee shot hit at the fairway bunker will kick you into good position to attack this three-tiered green. The wind is usually behind so calculate your yardage correctly.

Looking up at the fairway of no. 18 -- a bear at 426 yards uphill and par 4 -- the first thing you might see is the gauntlet of six bunkers spread like a minefield.

Aim your tee shot at the flagpole and steer clear of those bunkers. The front edge of this green is misleading because the majority of the green is over the bunkers. A missed approach is best to the left, and then rely on your short game to par this handsome finishing hole with the massive, 35,000-square-foot, Colorado lodge-style clubhouse framing the final green.

Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club: The verdict

"I really think this golf course is a hidden gem," Bonos said. "We are so close to Denver, but since it is in far southern Aurora, many locals just don't know who or where we are."

General Manager Gene Blum said the most compliments he gets about the course concern the excellent conditioning and smooth, rolling greens. This course meanders through a golf community, but members say you still feel like it is a country experience with the rugged land and mountain views.

Rated four stars by Golf Digest Places to Play, Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club has a large practice facility with 36 natural grass teeing stations. A chipping area and putting green awaits the golfer who grills himself like Vijay Singh. Ten bucks will buy you an all-day practice marathon, and expert instruction is available.

The Eagles Nest Restaurant is a beautiful place for breakfast (weekends), lunch and dinner, plus there's a snack bar that affords golfers with an opportunity to pick up a quick hot or cold sandwich and beverages. There also is an outdoor patio that provides views of the 18th hole. Banquet-outing facilities can host groups of up to 300 people.

The huge subdivision not only offers golf, but tennis, bocce ball and swimming (indoor and outdoor pools). Residents enjoy various classes, excursions to the theatre and the symphony, day trips to local sites and dining with friends.

Also available for residents are a fitness center, library, ballroom and a multitude of other amenities. More than 40 groups and clubs are available for residents to join.

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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The hills are alive at Arthur Hills-designed Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club in Aurora, Colorado