When your golf game is going badly, there's nothing like a stunning Colorado landscape to take your mind off the trouble. Likewise, when you're golfing like a pro, nice views from the course make the experience that much better.
In Grand Junction, fine vistas surround many of the area's golf courses, never failing to please the players on the links. The sculpted red cliffs of Colorado National Monument tower over three of the area's most popular courses, while the imposing presence of Grand Mesa, Mount Garfield and the Bookcliffs make up the rest of the remarkable skyline.
Some courses incorporate the area's rugged Colorado desert landscape into their design, giving golfers an opportunity to tee off from cliffs and to hit along boulder-lined canyons.
Beauty is always subjective, but here's a list of Grand Junction-area golf holes that might be considered among the most scenic.
Redlands Mesa Golf Course, 17th Hole
This par-3 hole is 218 yards long and tees off from a cliff about 150 feet above the green.
"Seventeen is what we consider our signature hole on the course," says Redlands Mesa General Manager Eric Feely. "It shoots down into a bowl-shaped, natural amphitheater around the green."
Golfers who misjudge the distance to the green can end up chasing balls among boulders that surround the amphitheater.
Tiara Rado Golf Course, 10th Hole
A memorable cliff-top tee shot highlights this 335-yard, par-4 hole.
"You can look out and see the (Grand) Mesa and the whole valley," says Brian Franco, Tiara Rado's first-assistant golf pro. "It's a fun hole. For a decent player, it's going to tempt them to drive the green."
Redlands Mesa, 2nd Hole
A wide view of Grand Junction from Redlands Mesa's lofty elevation is a feature of this 429-yard, par 4 hole, Feely said.
"You're teeing off toward the east, and you're looking down-valley with views of Mount Garfield and the city," he said. "There are a lot of rock outcroppings around the tee and behind the green."
Tiara Rado, 13th Hole
The tee on this 135-yard, par-3 hole faces the spectacular red sandstone cliffs of Colorado National Monument, set behind a lake in the foreground.
"It's a short hole, but it's a challenging hole," Franco said.
The lake sits between the tee and the green, and the green has a deceptively steep slope that might not be apparent from the tee.
Tiara Rado, 8th Hole
This 175-yard, par-3 hole isn't especially difficult to play, but it is memorable for its unique setting in a small apricot orchard. Golfers tee off down an alley cut through the middle of the fruit trees.
Franco said the trees blossom and produce fruit each spring, and players often harvest a quick snack when the apricots are ripe.
Redlands Mesa, 11th and 12th Holes
These holes -- which are 397 yards, par 4 and 150 yards, par 3 respectively -- are where the Redlands Mesa course turns toward the Colorado National Monument and golfers can start to drink in full views of the cliffs and canyons.
"You start to get a real feel for the Monument," Feely says.
Two other Grand Junction-area courses, Adobe Creek near Fruita and Chipeta on Orchard Mesa, also offer excellent views of the skylines around Grand Junction. Adobe Creek parallels the cliffs of Colorado National Monument, and Chipeta offers vistas of Grand Mesa.