The Ridge at Castle Pines North: A Colorado golf standout and great Denver-area public play

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Its zip code is prestigious, but there is no little brother syndrome at The Ridge at Castle Pines North, one of the top public golf facilities in Colorado.

Located around the corner from private Castle Pines Golf Club, which hosted the PGA Tour's International from 1986 through 2006, the Ridge offers its own, semi-private experience at another one of the state's top facilities.

The Ridge, which opened in 1997, was designed by Tom Weiskopf and is set on high, rolling foothills south of Denver. Most golfers will drool a little at some of the real estate that is located beside fairways; though thankfully, it's done from afar, as playing corridors are plenty wide so as to showcase a natural side of the Rockies foothills.

The Ridge at Castle Pines North: The course

The golf course plays a par 71 with five par 3s and four par 5s. Each nine looks quite a bit different, as the front side plays north of Castle Pines Parkway and features holes that are more exposed on high ground overlooking the surrounding area. The back nine plays to the south and within some denser pockets of trees.

Big, inviting fairways welcome golfers on the opening two holes and most others, too. But the most appetizing drive is the par-4, 476-yard ninth, which, from one of the course's higher spots, heads steeply downhill from tee-to-green.

The back nine, while shorter, calls for a little more precision in spots. The par-5 13th, which plays gently downhill through a corridor or ponderosa pines, anchors a back side on the Ridge that definitely takes the round up a notch, removing the more wide-open spaces of the front nine for playing corridors set deeper into ponderosa pines and rolling terrain.

Two beautiful, downhill par 3s on the back are offset by the uphill, par-3 17th that plays to a green set just below some of the property's most dramatic rock outcroppings. The view from the green are even better than the tee. To make up for a shorter yardage than the front nine, there are some holes, such as the 15th and 18th, that require a thinking cap.

The 18th, "On the Rocks," is named so because the tee boxes sit atop the very rocks that frame the 17th -- or maybe it's a reminder that the 19th hole is about 400 yards away.

The Ridge at Castle Pines North: The verdict

The Ridge at Castle Pines North has a safe seat at the table of the Denver-area's best public golf courses (Golf Magazine's 2012 ranking lists it at No.7 public in Colorado).

One of Weiskopf's best assets as a designer is that most of his greens are easily reachable by shorter hitters, and fairways are very generous. The course's main defense is the slope in the greens and big bunkers, plus a healthy amount of hazards.

Managed by Troon Golf, the facility boasts a fantastic clubhouse restaurant, the Ridge Bar & Grill, with a patio overlooking the 18th. Around the corner from the first tee is an enormous practice area with a driving range and numerous practice greens.

On the course, conditions are superb and so is the service both inside the clubhouse and from the gals out running the beverage cart, who come by early and often.

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
Related Links
The Denver area is known for its prestigious private clubs, but golfers without a membership can still find a great experience. The metro area's public golf scene offers tremendous diversity, from scenic plays to tournament-worthy layouts. Brandon Tucker offers up some of the best, including The Ridge at Castle Pines North, Plum Creek Golf Club and Red Hawk Ridge.
3 Min Read
Colorado National Golf Club, just 10 miles north of Denver, may be situated in a wide-open, front-range prairie, but the views to the west is a genuine Rocky Mountain panorama. Spacious and designed in two loops, the layout of Colorado National is big and wide, even with houses along the way. This is a championship winner with length, huge attractive bunkers and prairie grasses, because it is 30 percent larger than typical golf courses.
3 Min Read
More from the author
4 Min Read
October 21, 2021
What began with just a par-3 course and learning center, this 2,000-acre sporting ranch between Austin and Houston is finally going all-in with an ambitious championship course.
3 Min Read
October 21, 2021
Denverites are playing - and apparently really enjoying - their reborn, historic municipal course.
7 Min Read
October 7, 2021
We found the 10 cities where it's easiest to score a tee time.
2 Min Read
September 28, 2021
In a new exclusive series from GolfPass, Rory McIlroy demonstrates with Martin Hall how to hit the 9 shots. Here's how to add them to your practice routine.
9 Min Read
September 23, 2021
We've crafted a Dream 18 from the most exciting holes in American public golf.
7 Min Read
September 21, 2021
Large buddies groups love playing Ryder Cup-style, multi-day team events on their golf vacations. And what could be more epic than playing a Ryder Cup match on a former (or future) Ryder Cup venue?
12 Images
October 11, 2021
This Albuquerque gem is one of the tournament capitals of collegiate golf.
21 Images
September 30, 2021
This collection of photos sent in by reviewers might be the best we've ever seen.
3 Min Read
October 4, 2021
America's largest golf resort, and one of its smallest, are expanding to enhance the guest experience.
3 Min Read
October 7, 2021
Recent releases run the gamut from irons to apps.
Load More
Now Reading
The Ridge at Castle Pines North: A Colorado golf standout and great Denver-area public play