Todd Creek Golf Club in Thornton, Colorado offers a challenging prairie-links routing and a Rocky Mountain panorama

THORNTON, Colo. -- Todd Creek Golf Club is a prairie-links routing that displays a Rocky Mountain panorama, rolls through creek wetlands and gives you generous, plush landing areas from the tee box.

But this 7,435-yard par 72 gets you when you near the putting surface complexes, some as large as 11,000 square feet. These areas roll, wave, fall off, swell and present just about any and all perplexing looks that you will see in a golf course.

"When you get close to the greens this course grows some big teeth," Todd Creek Head Professional Danny Hughes said. "Don't let the generous fairways lull you into complacency. The greens, bunkers and rough make Todd Creek a tough test."

Opened in 2007 by Arthur Hills, Todd Creek was first known as Heritage Todd Creek Golf Club, but in June of 2012 Borders Golf purchased the club from Lennar Homes and renamed it minus the Heritage brand.

It hosted the Colorado Golf Association Senior Four-Ball Championships in May, where 60-year-olds Kelly Crone and Larry Netherton claimed their second title in five years.

Todd Creek: Take advantage of huge fairways

The thing you will notice at the first tee box is the huge fairway. The 466-yard, par-4 first hole demands a right-center drive to miss two bunkers left, then the short grass narrows and creates an approach that must be spot on. The green sits up with fall-off areas in multiple directions, including a huge collection bunker below the green and right.

Take in the Rocky Mountain vista from behind the 248-yard, par-3 11th -- can you say short par 4 from the back tees?

Todd Creek and wetlands factor into six holes, including the 198-yard peninsula green at No. 17 and the 530-yard finale, where Smith Reservoir borders the entire left side of the fairway and pinches in the closer you get to the green with a massive, sunken bunker right. A pull on the last approach could easily be wet.

"No. 17 is one of my favorites," said Hughes. "This is not an easy risk-reward from the back tees with all water left and a very small area right for blocked shots. But I think our selling point is that there are no throw away holes. You have one good hole following another."

Todd Creek Golf Club: The amenities

Since Todd Creek began as a "Heritage" community golf course -- catering to the 55-and-over crowd -- you know the facilities and activities are strong to develop a sense of neighborhood.

The activities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis, fitness center, library, and recreation-and-craft room. The 33,000-square-foot clubhouse can accommodate everything from neighborhood meetings, banquets, tournaments, luncheons, dinners and cocktails.

Monthly calendars include water aerobics, yoga, walks, line dancing, bridge, poker, karaoke, bingo, book clubs, happy hours and more.

Todd Creek Golf Club: The verdict

Challenging, that's Todd Creek. Hills said he approached the design with his known philosophy of beginning at the 18th green and working back to the first tee.

The purpose of approaching Todd Creek's design this way is to find the ideal, natural green and tee sites, then determine the best way to put them in sequence. Working from a platform based on natural tee and green sites allows Mr. Hills and his colleagues to maximize views and integrate the land's best inherent features, while employing classic design principles. This practice has been implemented in more than 90 percent of the golf courses designed by Hills.

"We also think our practice facility is a drawing card," Hughes said. "You are never on mats, and the acreage includes 25 grass stations and more than 65,000 square feet of open land. It is perfect for your short game, too, with a 10,000-square-foot putting green and chipping green surrounded by three bunkers."

The price of a round at Todd Creek includes cart, GPS, practice balls and plenty of personal attention. Green fees decrease as the day turns to afternoon and then twilight.

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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Todd Creek Golf Club in Thornton, Colorado offers a challenging prairie-links routing and a Rocky Mountain panorama