New back nine at Tiara Rado getting good reviews from players

Tiara Rado Golf Course.

Deiter Sutherland was not happy when he heard the signature hole at Tiara Rado Golf Course, the elevated tee box at No. 10, was going away.

“He was howling like a mashed cat,” said Jim Ash, who plays golf with Sutherland and Bob LaDuke at least four days a week at The Rock.

Now, Sutherland loves the way the revamped back 9 plays.

“What you lose on top of the mountain you gain at looking at 13,” he said.

Thirteen will actually become No. 12 once the new greens are ready for play later this summer and the new layout is complete. Other than the new greens on No. 10 and No. 16 and the new 14th hole, the entire course opened as soon as the weather cooperated this spring.

Yes, the elevated tee box won’t be used any more, but it still provides a great view of the course, which now includes three large lakes on the back. Those lakes were the reason behind the redesign — they irrigate the entire course.

The $3 million renovation will get its first true test Aug. 19-22 for the Rocky Mountain Open, which will move from Lincoln Park to Bookcliff Country Club and Tiara Rado, giving the players two 18-hole courses to play instead of the nine-hole track at Lincoln Park.

Two days before the RMO is the Central High School Invitational boys golf tournament is at Tiara Rado.

“It’s remarkable with the fact of the scope and size of this project that it’s back open and playing,” said Rob Stong, the head pro at Tiara Rado. “We’ve just got the little hitch waiting for the two new greens to grow in, but to play this year when we started the project at the end of last year…”

Also changed from No. 10 is the severe left-hand turn to the green. With a new housing development planned in that area, the hole changed to a dogleg right. What was No. 11 will become the No. 10 green.

For now, the 10th hole is playing as a par-3 from the new tee boxes to the old green.

LaDuke and his buddies weren’t so sure taking their favorite tee box away was a good idea.

“We didn’t think that was going to work out the way it is, but we really like it,” LaDuke said. “When they told us it was 255 (yards) to get over the water, I said, ‘Hey, I’m glad we’re going down below.’ “

There’s still an elevated tee for low handicap players one level below the old tees, but even the pros will have to grip and rip to clear the big lake. The other tee boxes run alongside the biggest lake.

The 10th hole isn’t the only major change, though. Gone is the rock wall that protected the green on No. 13 (new No. 12), the tees have moved back and been elevated another 16 feet. Players have more room to work with in front of the green without danger of going into the water.

A new cul-de-sac cart path by the green gives golfers a great view of the back nine and the entire Grand Valley, and the new No. 14 will have golfers looking directly at Colorado National Monument.

That will be a short par-3, but a tough one, with an uphill approach to the small green that features three bunkers to challenge a golfer’s short game.

There are a few changes to the front 9, mainly some rebuilt tee boxes and new bunkers, but the big change is on the back.

“It’s a lot more golfer friendly,” Sutherland said.

The hole Stong is particularly fond of is No. 15, with a three-tiered water feature wrapping around the front of the green. Small waterfalls babble away, and if golfers decide to hit driver, the creek in front and the small pond to the right of the green can claim the ball.

“That was a complete changeover,” LaDuke said. “We’ve never had beauty like that on our golf course, ever. To have that little moat all the way around and the little pond, it makes that hole completely changed.”

“It sure has,” Ash said. “I haven’t parred it since they changed it.”


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