Play in the shadow of the Colorado National Monument at Tiara Rado Golf Course in Grand Junction, Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- Golfers are always told not to look up during their swing. It's hard not to at Tiara Rado Golf Course.

The 6,442-yard course sits in the shadow of the impressive Colorado National Monument with excellent views of the Grand Mesa and the Book Cliffs, a series of desert mountains in western Colorado and eastern Utah. Red canyon walls tower in the immediate backdrop, especially on the third through fifth holes.

The front side, completed in 1972, features claustrophobic fairways winding through hidden drainage ditches, groves of trees and homes. The back nine, built in 1977, plays completely different. A redesign several years ago added the ponds that give four or five holes more character and definition.

Golf Advisor user "Cal6072051" admitted he's biased in giving his home course five stars. He wrote: "Well maintained, friendly staff and exceptional views. The course is very tight on the front nine with out of bounds and housing close in. Back nine was redone a few years ago and is more open with water on nearly every hole. A challenge for every level of golfer, but not exceptionally long. Fantastic value!"

Tiara Rado is one of two municipal golf courses in Grand Junction. The other is Lincoln Park Golf Course.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Play in the shadow of the Colorado National Monument at Tiara Rado Golf Course in Grand Junction, Colorado