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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

Fossil Trace is more than just the name of one of the most charismatic golf courses in the United States, it’s a literal translation of the land. When architect Jim Engh designed Fossil Trace, he laid several back-nine holes on the grounds that housed mind-boggling fossils of triceratops footprints and other prehistoric fossils, which are on display next to the 12th green. Fossil Trace leans into its prehistoric roots with two sets of combo tees named after dinosaurs, the T-Rex tees, a combo of the black and blue tees, and the Trike (short for Triceratops) tees which are a combo of the blue and whites. The fascinating history of the property is not the only unique characteristic of Fossil Trace. Engh prides himself on shaping outside-the-box courses with features and layouts that break the mold of what many golfers have come to expect in a standard golf course. This is obvious from the very beginning of your round, as the opening hole features a large brick chimney stack in the middle of the fairway, which was used to burn trash on the land as far back as the 1940s. Long, narrow and deep bunkers protect several greens while constant elevation changes offer priceless mountain views. A spattering of put bunkers can also be found on the course if you’re not careful. It’s easy to access Fossil Trace from Colorado’s major cities. It’s just 22 minutes from Denver and 35 minutes from Boulder. Even from Fort Collins or Colorado Springs, the drive is in the 1 hour and 15 minutes range, a mild exchange for a truly unique golf experience. As a municipal course, rates at Fossil Trace vary. Golden residents can play 18 holes during the week for $70, while non-residents pay $100. Those rates jump up by 10 bucks on the weekends. You can save a little cash by playing Fossil Trace in the offseason, with discounted rates from January through late April. The course is open year-round, weather permitting. If you want to warm up or sharpen your game at Fossil Trace, the practice facilities include a more than 300-yard long driving range with 20 hitting stations, and a large practice putting green. Fossil Trace offers five sets of tees, plus two combo tees that are rated by the USGA, giving golfers seven options to tee it up on the par 72 course. The longest tees, the blacks, measure 6,381 yards, while the gold tees are the shortest of the five at 4,681 yards. The blue tees, which are recommended for players with handicaps from 11-15, measure 6,241 yards with a rating of 68.9 and a slope of 130. The scorecard recommends pace of play not to exceed 4 hours and 40 minutes.


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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.
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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!!


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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 AllShow More
Rank Golfer Name Handicap Gross Net Date
7 David E. 17 92 74 07/25/19

Golf Course Information

About Fossil Trace

Fossil Trace Golf Club

Golf Only facility

24 tees driving range

18 regulation holes

Awards at Fossil Trace

No recent major awards have been noted.

Tournaments of Fossil Trace

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

Course Staff

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

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