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3050 Illinois St
Golden, CO  80401-6033
United States
P: (303) 277-8750
F: (720) 497-0690
Fossil Trace Course

18 hole regulation length course

Municipal golf course

72 par | 6,831 yards | 138 slope

71.8 rating | Other grass

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Fossil Trace Golf Course

The 18-hole "Fossil Trace" course at the Fossil Trace Golf Club facility in Golden, Colorado features 6,831 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 71.8 and it has a slope rating of 138 on Other grass. Designed by James J. Engh, the Fossil Trace golf course opened in 2003. Jim Hajek, PGA manages the course as the Golf Professional.


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Showing 20 out of 25 | Show All

Reviewed October 11, 2011

Just west of Denver in the foothills of Golden you’ll find an incredibly unique golf course. Fossil Trace Golf Club lies right behind that big golden domed government building in Golden. Their slogan is “Escape the Ordinary, Experience the Extraordinary” and they claim their course was 64 Million Years in the Making!
They’re right on their first claim. The experience is Extraordinary…especially for a Texas Flatlander. I’ll just have to trust them on their 64 million year claim. But this is also probably true because the walls of the cliffs on the back nine contain fossils of prehistoric creatures that have been studied for years buy students of the Colorado School of Mines. In fact two walls by the famous 12th hole are set with lights for students and tour groups doing evening studies of the fossils.
I’ve been able to play this course three times and have improved progressively as I’ve learned how to play Colorado golf course designer, Jim Engh’s bowl greens and sloping fairways. Some golf purists criticize Engh’s designs as being too golfer friendly but I find them to be great fun.
Head Golf Pro, Jim Hajek, will warn you not to bite off more of the course than you can handle. But we didn’t listen. We played from the tips (Black tees) for 18 holes. The 6,831 yds at altitude with a 72.5/139 rating/slope didn’t seem too tough to handle but the narrow 480 yd par 4 4th and the 659 uphill into the wind 9th hole proved too much for us. So we squeezed in another nine holes after a great lunch at Fossil Trace’s Three Tomatoes Restaurant on the deck over looking the beautiful 10th and 18th holes. This time we played the Blue tees at 6,241 yds with a 69.3/131 rating/slope and found it much better for our game and egos.
Have your cameras rolling when you play the unique 12th and 15th holes. Both are par 5s. The 12th makes you feel like you’re the ball in a pinball or bumper pool game as you pick your route through tall rock formations in the fairway. The first time I played this hole my second shot stayed on the small bit of grass on top of a rock formation to the right of the green. I was actually able to scramble up there and pitch the shot down to the green. It was a great thrill and a memorable photo for my album.
For more information see
Jim Engh designed other Colorado courses that I hope to review later including Lakota Canyons near Glenwood Springs and Redlands Mesa in Grand Junction.
Golden is a fun town to visit après-golf. You’ll see some of the Coors Brewery near the Fossil Trace Golf Club…….a tempting tour after 18 holes on a 64 million year old golf course!

Reviewed June 03, 2011

One of the best courses I have played, really enjoyed playing this course as it offered a lot of challenges and was maintained very well. The greens were in okay shape... they were very difficult given all of the slopes challenging every put.

Reviewed March 31, 2011

WOW!!! Toughest course i've ever played and ive played Torrey Pines, Birnamwood, and Olympic Hills. Normally break 70, but it was just tough to get it in the 80's. If you hit your driver under 200, YOUR SCREWED!! Good Luck!!

Reviewed June 29, 2009

Reviewed April 06, 2009

The best kept course in the country, easily PGA quality.

Reviewed January 26, 2009

This is without doubt my favorite course in the Denver area. I have a good friend that lives in Denver and I go there once or twice a year just to play golf. Fossil Trace is always our first and sometimes our last stop. It is a fun, yet challenging layout. I am a 13 handicap, and have shot from a 79 to a 97 here.

First of all the price, $75, is a little steep, but if you look around you can normally get a coupon and save a little. But even without a coupon well worth the money. Also the price keeps it from getting too crowded durring the week, as well as keeping some of the riff-raff off the course.

The course is GREAT!! Not very long, only 6800 yds form the tips, but certainly challenging. Which makes this course more about placing your shots in the right areas, vs just winding up and smacking it. This layout sets up a lot of risk, reward opportunities. For instance #2 par 4, only 280 downhill from the tips. You can go for the green or lay up. But if you go for it, use the camera beside the tee box to see if the green is clear first, unlike our friend below. Thats why its there!! So the course really makes you think through your game.

The greens are excellent, fast but fair. Yes some are rather ungulated, and winding up on the wrong side of a ridge can turn a good shot bad quickly. But thats golf. And yes hole #14 has an 8' tier between the upper and lower bowl. Its another example of checking you pin, distance and thinking about your shot before you hit it.

All in all this is not only my favorite course to play in the Denver area, but one of my favorite courses to play period. The staff are friendly, facilities are excellent and the cart girls are cute!! If you are going to be in Denver do yourself a favor and get a tee time here.

Reviewed October 06, 2008

Reviewed August 05, 2008

Fossil Trace is a special place and a required tee time when we are in Colorado. You can experience a "mountain" course feel w/far superior conditions for less than 1/2 the price. Yes, compared to courses in Denver, it is higher priced but you will soon see why it ranks w/Bear Dance, The Ridge and Arrowhead (all $30+ more). This place is well worth it.

Some won't care for the greens. Well, get better and make more birdies is the answer. Sad to see a exceptional course get ripped because someone shot a big number but that is what occurs when it is open season for any golfer rating a course. Some would suggest that you pay no mind to Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, GolfWeek and the rest of the trained raters who actually know what they are talking about. As a side note, all have awarded Fossil as a superb test of golf, just check their awards page out on their website.

As a member of Desert Mountain and playing Fossil again today, the greens at FTGC are DM level or better. This is a course we will return to each time in Denver. By the way, you might consider having a steak following play - the steakhouse and wine selection are excellent. Just another reason why we have fallen in love with this golf experience and believe me - it is an experience most will enjoy - regardless of score.

Reviewed July 09, 2008

Played on July 4th at 11:00.

First the good stuff:
Staff was very friendly especially starter.
The scenery was pretty cool.
Cart girl was very prompt
Overall course condition was nice (tees, fairways etc.)

Now the Bad Stuff:
$75 bucks per player for out of county is a little steep.

They had music piped outdoors directly towards the practice range. I find that odd that you can't make noise at a golf tournament but you can pipe loud music onto the practice range which was only 20 yards from the speakers?

But that paled in comparison with my real complaint(s). As i mention the starter was very friendly, however he failed to ask the players what their estimated handicaps were prior to teeing off. So the 2 guys paired with my wife and I decided to play from the Black Tee Boxes (Tips)
1 guy was probably a 10 handicap and the other guy a 25 handicap. They did not need to play from the Blacks and were constantly hitting 2 balls off the tee. Not exactly the courses fault but sort of.

Course problems: The Greens! I thought it was funny how the practice green was 3 teired. Well get used to that because the Real Greens are Tricked Up! I mean seriously, this is not Augusta People! I have been on roller coaster rides with less ups and downs. I kid you not, there is was one green where there was a 8-10 foot rise in the middle of the green from front to back. 1 guy in our group 6 Putted that green! They might as well put a Windmill up on some of them. and most of the fairways had some pretty severe slopes as well. I probably had maybe 5 flat lies the entire round.

The shameful part is that the course is really cool. But you don't need to trick up the greens and fairways to make the course great. And that's not even mentioning the giant rocks in the middle of the fairway on number 12. Yes i know that is a famous hole and there are fossils in those rocks. Okay cool. I'll let that slide then. But there is not excuse to have roller coaster greens and super slopy fairways!

So if you want to play the course, great, but just realize that when you get to the end of your round you will look at your score and say how the hell did I shoot that!

So Buyer Beware!

Reviewed May 26, 2008

Played Fossil Trace on a Memorial Day weekend visit. While it's a tad pricey for non-residents it is a superb course. As a high-handicapper I found it challenging but a heckuva lot of fun to play. Fossil Trace will definitely be my primary course when visiting the area.

Reviewed May 21, 2008

loved it! will play every time i am in CO!

Reviewed February 26, 2008

Not to long, but challenging for sure. I love the sportyness, but some of the greens are a little too mickey mouse for me. I normally like tiered greens, but not with 8' elevation changes! Sorry, rant over. I like this course a lot. Can get windy in them Foothills.

Reviewed January 11, 2008

Speaking of "tools" most golfers know how far they hit it and are aware that some greens are reachable. 2 is and that's why it has the monitor on the tee box! Usually, when someone hits into a group, they apologize to the group and don't complain about the course. Fossil Trace has always been an excellent experience for me and my buddies. The food's great, staff's polite, and the course is in great shape. Enjoy it every time!

Reviewed January 11, 2008

Not sure what HFG Tools was thinking, but there is a hidden camera on #2 green with a TV monitor on #2 tee there to make sure you don't hit to the green when there are people on it...anyway, great course and I play it all the time. Probably one of my all-time favs. Amazing shape and the staff is super friendly. Great food too.

Reviewed January 02, 2008

I drove the green on the pathetically short hole 2. The fairway was clear, but evidently there were golfers on the green. They interfered with my ball and moved it. I asked for a refund after they did not penalize the players that interfered with my ball. No satisfaction. BEWARE...THERE ARE NO RULES AT FOSSIL TRACE.

Reviewed December 05, 2007

Absolutely love it. Probably my favorite course in the Denver area.

Reviewed September 18, 2007

Reviewed August 27, 2007

This is the best course in the Denver merto area hands down!!I'm making Fossil Trace my home course and am going to golf it as much as possible.

Reviewed August 19, 2007

Reviewed April 09, 2007


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  • Latest Scores
  • Overall
Rank Golfer Name Handicap Gross Net Date
1 David E. 27 44 17 05/04/11
2 David M. 17 39 22 07/17/10
3 patrick P. 14 43 29 09/23/07
4 Mike B. 27 58 31 07/03/08
5 Shawn M. 9 46 37 09/16/08
See All
Rank Golfer Name Handicap Gross Net Date
7 David E. 17 92 74 07/25/19
19 Ian M. 20 92 71 09/10/17
26 Michele G. 29 102 73 10/02/16

Golf Course Information

About Fossil Trace

Fossil Trace Golf Club

Golf Only facility

24 tees driving range

18 regulation holes

Tournaments of Fossil Trace

No local tournaments listed for this course. Add a tournament here.

Course Staff

Jim Hajek, PGA, Golf Professional
Noy Sparks, III, Superintendent

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