Field Notes: RainDance’s length is part of its appeal

With golf travel off the charts, the competition amongst destination courses is fierce across the country. 

It doesn’t take long to digest the promotional hook of RainDance National Resort & Golf.

At 8,463 yards, the layout about an hour north of Denver in Windsor, Colorado, is the longest golf course in North America. But marketing can only take you so far if the course is considered a gimmick or too hard — or both. 

RainDance is neither. 

RainDance National Resort & Golf, Windsor, Colorado.

The course, co-designed by former Arnold Palmer Design Co. architect Harrison Minchew and former PGA Tour player Fred Funk, was good enough to host the Colorado Amateur a year after opening and has received rave reviews about its playability and unmatched scenery as it approaches its two-year anniversary in July. 

“Every hole is very, very memorable, and each hole is so very different,” Minchew says. “It’s one of those places that has a really, really neat sense of place.”

“We wanted to make it look like the golf course was always there, and I know us architects always say that, but in this particular case it really got my attention from that standpoint because it was just so beautiful.” 

It’s ironic that Funk was one of the shortest off the tee during his playing days and now has had a hand in one of the world’s longest layouts. 

“We’re advertising the length just because it’s kind of a good thing to talk about, but nobody plays it from back there unless you want to go back there and play it,” Funk says. “The tees go from 4,900 yards all the way past 8,400 so you pick the right tee and you can have a lot of fun on that golf course.”

Two par-5s measure more than 700 yards each, laid out across some spectacular high plains Colorado scenery. 

In order to make sure the course didn’t turn into “goofy golf” the architectural team called upon professional golfers Sam Saunders, who is Palmer’s grandson who lives in nearby Fort Collins, and Funk’s son Taylor, who has played on PGA Tour Canada, to hit test shots during the design work. 

Saunders still holds the course record with a 66. Former Oklahoma State golfer Dillon Stewart won the 2023 Colorado Amateur there with a 4-under total, playing the last round at 7,700 yards.

RainDance National Resort & Golf, Windsor, Colorado.

“Developer Martin Lind wanted that length because it’s pretty cool to say your golf course is the longest in North America,” Minchew says. “So we started stretching it. When he said he wanted the course that long we kind of rolled our eyes, but he ended up being correct.” 

“The course needed to be at least 8,000 yards because of all the factors that make the ball roll out and the firm conditions of the fairways, along with the elevation at 5,000 feet and the 250 foot drop we have from the top of the course to the bottom,” Funk says. 

Peak season play (May-October) costs $150 for 18 holes with weekend rates at $170. 

“You feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere,” Minchew says. “The views are extraordinary – you can see 30, 40 miles — and that’s really cool.” 


Many fans traveling to major championships love to collect logo items, from polo shirts to flags to ball marks. 

Those headed to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort in mid June will have plenty to pick from — and one additional special logo that has just been unveiled.  

The Tom Doak-designed Pinehurst No. 10, the resort’s first original golf course in three decades, opens next week for play and will have a name and logo rooted in local history called Pinehurst Sandmines.

Pinehurst Sandmines covers more than 900 acres, most of it still wooded and undeveloped. With Pinehurst No. 10 highlighting the dramatically sloping northwest ridge of the area, the Sandmines setting offers Pinehurst the potential to expand its guests’ experiences. A variety of future developments are being evaluated, including an additional 18-hole golf course, a short course, clubhouse and guest cottages.

“There’s a lot of history at this place, and you just want to honor it,” says Angela Moser, Doak’s lead design associate on No. 10. “You want to have it be a part of what you’re building, so you’ll see reminders of it.”

That is also reflected in the Pinehurst Sandmines logo. A rail car, dashed in railroad red color befitting the area’s industrial innovations, features subtle hints about the property’s past – and its future – within the car’s structure and design. 

The car carries a “matterhorn” shaped mound that resembles the 25-foot sand deposit framing No. 10’s dramatic eightth hole — a tangible, signature remnant of the commercial mine’s influence that Doak freshly incorporated into No. 10’s routing.

Beginning in the 1920s, the sandy soil in this location proved useful to multiple mining operations. Over the next half century, sand mined in Aberdeen, North Carolina, was shipped along the adjoining railroad for building projects all over the United States, notably including another North Carolina landmark – the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

“Pinehurst’s past, present and future is right here in the sand,” Pinehurst Resort president Tom Pashley says. “We look forward to seeing what more can be mined in this area.”

Widely known as the Cradle of American Golf, Pinehurst Resort has hosted more single golf championships — including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup and PGA Tour Championship — than any other site in North America.


Golf Digest has ranked Tetherow Resort in Oregon No. 57 on its most recent list of America’s 100 Greatest Public CoursesThat’s a 25-spot jump from the rankings two years ago, the biggest improvement of any course in the biannual rankings. Tetherow was also named the No. 1 resort in the Pacific Northwest and the No. 28 resort in the world in the coveted Condé Nast Traveler 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards. … is headed to some of the nation’s best resorts in 2025 to host the Two Man Links Championships. The tournament is at Streamsong in central Florida in January, then moves on to Bandon Dunes in April and Sand Valley in May. …  Indian Wells Golf Resort in the Coachella Valley of California will host the 2024 season-ending “Race for the Card” Epson Tour Championship contested Oct. 3–6. The LPGA players will be tackling the John Fought-designed Players Course, or “The Beast” as it’s known.