The punchbowl 3rd (courtesy of Renaissance Design)
Common Ground is a purely public golf facility built by the Colorado Golf Association. The course is designed to be accommodating for the average player with lots of room and open fronted greens. The course also contains lots of challenge because of the strongly contoured greens, deep bunkers and extensive use of short grass as a defence. It creates a fascinating challenge for all players because not only do they have to hit good shots, but they also must make good decisions in order to score. The course has become wildly popular because its great golf all at a reasonable price.
While the land is fairly gentle, the routing relies on the incorporation of a series of small ridges and valleys for character. Most landforms were part of the original site, but the team added additional valleys to deal with drainage issues and add character in the flatter interior portion of the holes.
The long 17th - par three (courtesy of Renaissance Design)
I was quite impressed with the number of interesting ideas they used to develop many of the sites, but was equally disappointed by the incorporation of the irrigation pond into the course. Both holes around the pond seemed a little out of place from the others and the 11th was truly awkward with all grades running towards the pond from the prominent mound front right. It told me that if I faced a similar site, that the pond should play a less prominent role in the design.
On the other hand the work at all the greens was often very impressive. I loved some of the more restrained greens like the 7th for their simple brilliance. At the same time I was total blown away by clever green complexes like the punchbowl green on the 3rd. The creativity and character brought to simple sites often gave incredible life and interest to what could have been a simple hole. Throw in an unusual and effective bunker technique and this all adds up to superior golf.
Well done guys.