(By Marc Whitney)

At the 65th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), members played a round at Riverdale Dunes in Brighton, Colo.

The top-rated public course is regarded as one of the finest in the Denver area for under $50 per round. The Perry Dye, ASGCA and Pete Dye, ASGCA designed Scottish style links course runs along the South Platte River with challenges provided by pot bunkers, mounds, water and more.

The Adams County, Colo. – owned facility and neighboring area has seen many changes since opening in 1985, from residential growth to economic challenges. Through it all, Head Golf Professional Jeff Meeker says the course has provided customers a challenging, affordable round of golf in a setting which works with and benefits its environmental surroundings.

“This area used to be farmland out in the middle of nowhere and it was considered quite a jaunt to visit from the city,” Meeker said. “But in the past 10 years, 15,000 homes were built in the area and the town has grown toward us.”

New neighbors meant new customers for Riverdale Dunes, as well as new concerns. Storm water runoff from the new homes impacts the course several times each year, and construction of a ditch to handle water from a “10-year flood” could run into eight figures.

“Who pays for that project?” Meeker asked. “Whose water is it? The homes are built and they are a positive, but there are questions we need to answer moving forward.” Working together, the course and community plan to reach a decision which benefits everyone.

One question Meeker and his staff address on a daily basis is how to provide golfers the best experience possible. In today’s market, that means finding greater efficiency.

“Since day #1 we have said the course will be in good shape,” he said. “A great course which is in good shape and affordable; we will not sacrifice that in times when other people cut back on maintenance.”

The challenges remain plenty for any golfer at Riverdale Dunes. The fairways have widened in some areas for playability, but the natural rough is in abundance. “In the summertime if you hit it into the rough and can still find it, but you have to call on all your ‘lie reading’ skills to get your next shot going at the target,” Meeker said.

With an eye toward the next generation – and providing additional social value to their golf course – Riverdale Dunes is proud of its junior program, featuring 150 players. The course is also the practice home to several area high school teams.

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