The Sleeping Indian
The Sleeping Indian nine does not have as many trees along its fairways as the Cottonwood nine does, but Ralston Creek is in play throughout the Sleeping Indian nine and there are plenty of elevation changes. The Sleeping Indian name comes from a legendary Ralston Valley rock formation seen on the course.
You start out on this nine on a short dogleg right, a par-4 that measures 388 yards from the back tees and 289 yards from the forward tees. You can use your driver off the tee. The big decision here for players, according to Steve Lynes, Golf Course Manager for the City of Arvada, is whether to try cutting the dogleg. The problem is those pesky fairway bunkers that guard the dogleg. To cross those bunkers, you would need a drive of more than 200 yards from some tee boxes. "You can use your driver provided you can carry the fairway bunkers on the right," says Lynes.
One of the most scenic holes on the Sleeping Indian nine - No. 5 - is also among the most difficult. "For most people, it would be very difficult to make par here," says Lynes.
The hole is a long, severely uphill par-5 (556 yards from the back tees and 454 from the forward) with three shelves in the landing area. "You want to use your driver off the tee and avoid the bunkers on the right and the grass mounds on the left," Lynes says.
Then your second shot should be played to a landing area between the four fairway bunkers on the right and a sprawling single bunker on the left. That gets you to about 100 yards from the green which is off to the right. Watch out with your approach shot; you could end up in some of the sand and grass bunkers that protect the green.
On the tee box of No. 6, "you'll see views of Table Mountain and downtown Denver," says Steve Lynes.
This beautiful par-3 (193 yards from the back tees and 119 from the forward) is the easiest of the six that you'll find at West Woods. It plays down hill, so use about one club less than you would normally do. Lots of sand trouble here both to the right and the left.
You'll end the Sleeping Indian nine by playing a long and tricky par-4 (412 yards from the back tees and 315 from the forward). This is a slight dogleg right with a pond on the right side of the fairway and two large fairway bunkers on the left. The slightly elevated green is circled by five bunkers.
True to its name, the Cottonwood 9 has the most trees along its fairways as well as lots of creeks and ponds, the result of water trickling down from the foothills. Its lush scenic layout lies very close to a nature trail in the area of the 13th and 16th holes, and the entire nine will give you a real back-to-nature feeling. Foxes have built their dens close to some tees; deer, mountain lions, coyotes and even a bear have been seen in the vicinity. Because of its natural beauty, this nine is always a favorite with golfers.
You'll start off on the Cottonwood on a par-4 (377 yards from the back tees and 291 from the forward) that makes a 90-degree left turn around a huge pond. There is also an out-of-bounds area and two fairway bunkers to the right. Despite the hazards, this is a relatively easy hole. "This is a fairly short hole so most players wouldn't hit a driver," Lynes says. "Use a fairway wood or long iron off the tee."
But after that easy start, it's on to an uphill dogleg right par-4 (477 yards from the back tees and 357 from the forward) on the Cottonwood. This hole, No. 11, is the longest and toughest at West Woods. "As you take your tee shot," says Lynes, "you'll see a fairway bunker on the right that is very difficult to carry. The pond of the left is not in play. But you have to make your second shot uphill to a very large green that is sloped severely from back to front."
The third hole on this nine, No. 12, is the signature hole on the course. It's a par-3 (211 yards from the back tees and 88 yards from the forward) that demands that you play through a chute of cottonwoods with water on the left and bunkers on both sides of the green. "It's a very difficult hole," Lynes says, "because both the water and bunkers around the green are in play. It's somewhat of a downhill tee shot, so use less club than usual."
No. 13 on the Cottonwood is a par-4 that doglegs slightly to the right as it fallows Ralston Creek. "The creek is on the right and so is the nature trail," says Steve Lynes, "and there's a big tree at the edge of the dogleg that could block a shot across it. The bunkers on the left are also tricky to handle. You don't want to use your driver off the tee. There's a tight landing area."
The Cottonwood nine ends up with a short dogleg right par-5 with ponds protecting the right and left sides and big fairway bunkers on the left as well. This hole that plays 512 yards from the back tees and 426 from the forward, is "a great finishing hole," Lynes says. "It's also a high risk-reward hole."
Long hitters can reach the green in two by crossing the water on the left. But those who shoot for the middle and lay up have to go over the water as well. "You can get a 3 on this hole or you can make 8," Lynes says.
The Silo has plenty of water to cross as well as special obstacles to conquer, like the landmark silo on the fifth hole that gives the nine its name. You'll go up and down on this nine and find yourself with some of the most breathtaking views at West Woods.
No. 19, the first hole on the Silo nine, is a short dogleg left par-4 (353 yards from the back tees and 264 yards from the forward) that really spells trouble. For example, off the tee, you face a chain of three ponds on the left that waterfall into each other. Trying to cut the dogleg can be tricky as a huge sea of bunkers blocks the approach area in front of the green. "It's best to lay up off the tee with an iron or a fairway wood," says Lynes. Hit your tee shot to about 130 yards from the green.
On No. 23, fifth hole on the Silo, you'll find a severely uphill fairway on what is a short par-5 (493 yards from the back tees and 387 yards from the forward). "There's a silo in play here that's leftover from ranching days," says Lynes.
On this fifth hole, you'll also see great views, including one of the Sleeping Indian Rock formation.
Another great hole on the Silo is the short par-4 No. 24, the sixth hole on this nine. The hole plays at 363 yards from the back tees and 303 from the forward. "Off the elevated tee, you need a shot that crosses a creek running across the fairway," says Lynes. "Use your driver off the tee."
You'll find another creek running just in front of the green that is definitely in play if the pin is toward the front of the green. "It's very hard to make par here," Lynes says.
You'll finish your nine on the Silo with a short par-3 that measures 147 yards from the back tees and 98 yards from the forward. The trouble here is the out-of-bounds area to the left of the green.