All 36 holes open at Keystone |

All 36 holes open at Keystone

Aaron Burnett

Golf in the Colorado High Country can be a unique and awe-inspiring experience. From sweeping vistas and elevated tee boxes to natural water features that provide an unexpected challenge in a state known more for its mountains than its streams and rivers, golf at altitude is a rare combination that can both elate and frustrate during the same round. For those looking for the adventure of playing two distinct courses don't have to travel far between rounds. Keystone Resort is home to both Keystone Ranch Golf Course and The River Course at Keystone. The two courses, located back to back, offer separate clubhouses and practice areas, helping to lend to each course's unique feel.

"Keystone Ranch Golf Course and The River Course at Keystone are a cool combination of mountain golf courses that offer different architectural layouts with opposing personalities, spectacular panoramic views and challenges that test golfers of all abilities," said Steve Corneiller, director of golf and recreation at Keystone Resort.

The River

The River Course gets its name from the Snake River, which winds in and out of the front nine, adding both a scenic backdrop and a challenging water hazard on several holes. The par-71 course features large elevation changes, including a 130-foot drop from the 18th tee box to the green. The back nine moves away form the river and into a lodgepole forest. The course offers five tee locations on each hole, making it easy to find the right distance for every golfer in the group. At the tips, The River stretches to a very playable 6,886 yards. Eighteen is The River Course's signature hole. Teeing off from an elevated box, the 520-yard par five is an excellent opportunity for either a birdie or eagle before heading back to the clubhouse.

The Ranch

Those looking for a more wide-open course will feel at home at Keystone Ranch. While it still features some of the elevation changes that have come to be expected at mountain courses, the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course has a links feel not found at many High Country facilities. "Keystone Ranch is set in the Soda Creek Valley, where you truly feel of the romance of the West," Corneiller said. "Prior to being a golf course, it was a working cattle ranch. Some of the original buildings and stables are still showcased throughout the property." Keystone Ranch stretches to 7,090 yards at the tips. The par-72 course's signature hole is the fifth, a 190-yard par three that requires golfers to hit over a wetlands area into a small island green bunkered on three sides.

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Open for Business

Both the Keystone Ranch and River courses are now open for the 2013 golf season.