Breckenridge’s Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course

Trip Ideas: Other Outdoor

The Breckenridge Golf Club has three championship nine-hole courses: The Bear Course, The Beaver Course and The Elk Course. All three nines are Jack Nicklaus signature courses. Panoramic views of the snow-capped Colorado Rockies can be seen from every hole of the Breckenridge Golf Course. Dense wooded areas give way to open native grassland and wetland areas where it’s not uncommon to spot wildlife during your round. Seeing a beaver, elk, an occasional moose or bear, or the abundant red fox and red tail hawks can be chalked up to just another day on the greens.

Breckenridge Golf Course Descriptions:

The Bear Course

Overview of Breckenridge Golf Club with mountains in background.
Holes 8 & 9 on a summer day.

Opened in 1985, The Bear Course was the first nine to grace the landscape known to the early day miners as the Buffalo Flats. The miners certainly did not imagine golf in such an environment, or golf as a sport or attraction, in fact. What was once a tent city of miners seeking fortunes of gold, the landscape now is home to a challenging golf course with players seeking pars and birdies.

Golfers should expect to shoot no higher than their handicap the first six holes on the Bear nine as holes seven, eight and nine are as tough as they get. To finish this nine on pace with your handicap will take skill. The Bear nine is the most open of the three nines; many of the holes play around the native grasses and wetland areas. Views of the Ten Mile mountain range are most dramatic on holes eight and nine. For a great view of the ski trails at the Breckenridge Ski Resort, look back on hole five from the green. The Bear course was fittingly named for the black bears that wander onto the course every summer.

The Beaver Course

Overview of Breckenridge Golf Club Beave Course
Overview of hole 9 at the Beaver nine has the narrowest fairways of any of the nines.

The Beaver Course was the second nine to open at the Breckenridge Golf Course in 1987. The Beaver nine has the narrowest fairways of any of the nines. Accurate drives, not necessarily long drives, are a requirement to meet handicap on this nine. Venture to the left of holes six, seven and eight and you will notice rock piles (tailings, as the miners called them) left over from the days of gold mining in the area.

The Beaver Course takes its name from the beaver ponds that are scattered along holes six, eight and nine. Don’t blame Jack Nicklaus for this design work; the beavers created the habitat and Nicklaus left it in place for your enjoyment or frustration. Watch out–the beaver ponds on the eighth hole seem to have a magnetic pull on the golf ball.

Although this nine finishes with a par three, par is tough to come by. The change in elevation along with the swirling breezes makes this one of the toughest tee shots on the nine. The large rounded mountain that frames the ninth hole is Buffalo Mountain, part of the Gore Mountain Range. Buffalo Mountain was the last active volcano in this mountain range, long before the Scots dreamed up the game of golf.

The Elk Course

Rays of Sun on a Breckenridge Golf Course Hole
View of hole 2. The Elk nine offers the most elevation change of the three nines, as well as the widest panoramic views of the Ten-Mile mountain range.

With the success of the original 18 holes, Town of Breckenridge officials prompted an expansion. In 2001, Breckenridge expanded the course and added The Elk nine, offering a total of 27 holes to golfers. The Elk Course offers the most elevation change of the three nines, as well as the widest panoramic views of the Ten Mile Range. It’s easy to see why the native elk like this area so much. With wide-open views, a lake to drink from and nourishing bushes and grasses to eat from, the area wildlife have it made. And the golfer? That’s a different story. The challenges of the Elk nine are centered around one skill: accuracy. Without accuracy, you too will be experiencing the lake and the bushes.

Although more open than the Beaver nine, drives must be hit to specific locations for the best approach shots into the greens. The sixth hole on the Elk nine is the shortest par four hole on the course, measuring only 281 yards from the Nicklaus tees, which is quite drivable at the high elevation. But, as with most short par fours, the risk to reward ratio is skewed risky by those golfers opting to attempt to drive the green. Hole seven has the most elevation change of any of the 27-holes in Breckenridge. The tee box elevation on the seven hole is 9,445, the highest point on the entire golf course. The green level of seven is 9,370, a change of 75 feet from tee to green – mountain golf at its pinnacle.

By Breck Editorial

The Breckenridge Tourism Office works to enhance and promote the unique character and experience of Breckenridge as a world-renowned destination resort and to represent, serve and perpetuate the common interest and character of its membership and community.

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