By Shari Valenta,
South Suburban Golf Course is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get a little exercise. Started in 1973, it’s a public, 18-hole regulation course designed by Dick Phelps. Fees range from $27-$40. There are guest fee rates (around $35) for non-residents playing with a resident. The course has no specific dress code and it’s open year-round.
This slice of paradise within the suburbs is conveniently located eight miles west of Centennial Airport. It has gorgeous mountain views, well-kept greens and even wildlife.
Dave Bolick, head golf professional at South Suburban Golf Course, says he’s seen red-tailed hawks and even coyotes on the course. The place has all the regular amenities: clubhouse, restaurant (specializing in fine Mexican food), gourmet coffee shop, full-service bar, driving range, practice green and pro shop. The pro shop offers brands such as PowerBilt and also rents and sells gear for men and women as well as left-handed items.
“The course is important as a city park. At one time it was almost torn down,” said Bolick. “It’s not just another public municipal golf course; it’s challenging and in country-club condition. The course has a traditional layout with trees, water and tight fairways. The terrain is rough in some places. We’re known to have the toughest greens in the state. The undulations in the green make it pretty fast and severe.”
A nine-hole par three course is also available for beginners who don’t need so much of a challenge and a shorter course. If you want to learn the game of golf or just perfect your swing, South Suburban Golf Course has nine teaching professionals on staff. Six of them are PGA and three are LGPA instructors. At least four of the instructors have 20 or more years of experience teaching.
“Taking golf lessons, group or private, really accelerates your skills by years,” said Bolick. “The South Suburban District also offers teaching that takes place here and at the Loan Tree location; it’s pretty inexpensive.”
The head golf professional also has experience teaching the aviation community the sport of golf.
“I’ve done quite a bit of instruction at Family Sports Center, which is right next to Centennial Airport, so obviously some of those were pilots. One of them let my wife and I fly a 767 in a simulator. That was kind of cool. My wife landed perfectly and I crashed,” he laughed. “Of course, the instructor made me crash; he thought that was funny! It was also interesting teaching golf at Family Sports Center with the jets landing one after another, after another. Sometimes pilots will sit there and say, ‘Well, that’s a Cessna 245,’ and so on. I usually said, ‘OK, well, we should probably get back to the lesson now. Sometimes instead of following instructions, they’re plane-watching; they’re happy there.”
Bolick has been in the golf industry since 1972. He learned the game of golf during his time as a caddy in North Carolina where he spent some of his childhood. He says his experiences there were a lot like the movie “Caddy Shack.” He went to college for business management and graduated in 1976 from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. He was a manufacturer’s representative for golf apparel until 1988. During that time he also taught golf lessons.
From 1989 through 1996, he was head professional for the Valley Country Club and from 1996 through 2002; he was regional manager of Family Golf, which consisted of several courses including Kennedy, Overland Park, Evergreen, Colorado Springs and also the complex where Family Sports Center is now. Bolick says he enjoys managing the South Suburban Golf Course because he’s never bored; there’s a lot to do because of its popularity.
“A lot of non-residents have come here because they heard good things about the course,” explained Bolick. “We also have a number of retirees with our senior men’s and ladies’ clubs. Our men’s club is strong, having 200 members; there are three ladies’ clubs and two seniors’ clubs.”
South Suburban Parks and Recreation is described on their website as “a quasi-municipal corporation and a political subdivision within the State of Colorado.” The 57-square-mile district has more than 140,000 residents. In addition to South Suburban Golf Course, South Suburban Parks and Recreation owns four other golf courses in the area: Disc Golf Course, a free course on Holly Street and County Line Road; Family Sports Golf Course in Centennial; Littleton Golf Course; and Lone Tree Golf Club and Hotel.
“The Lone Tree location is pretty upscale,” said Bolick. “It was a former country club. The hotel has 15 units and really nice banquet facilities capable of hosting large parties.”South Suburban Parks and Recreation also has five recreation centers in the area.
“Family Sports Center in Centennial is very nice, too; it has miniature golf,” said Bolick, “It also has a double-decker driving range and two practice chipping greens. You can watch the Avalanche practice in their year-round ice arena.”
If you drop by, Bolick recommends early afternoon; it’s the least busy time during the hot summer months. Residents may schedule their tee time seven days in advance; for non-residents, it’s five days. Each month, look for coupons and discounts online. For those of you 50 and over, South Suburban Golf Course will host an Active & Silver Sneakers Golf Social. It’s being held Wednesday, June 28 (rain date is July 5). The cost is $55 and includes green fees, cart fees and a buffet dinner. For more information, contact Rocky Railey at 303-708-3514 or Kristin Anderson at 303-483-7082.
South Suburban Golf Course is located at 7900 S. Colorado Blvd. Pro shop hours are 6:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. To reserve a tee time, or arrange a lesson, call the pro shop at 303-770-5508. For more information, call 303-770-5500 or visit [http://www.sspr.org].