Coldwater Golf Links brings a taste of Scotland to Central Iowa with a traditional links layout. Prepare to trade in pitching out from under trees for hacking out of prairie grass. But the unique central Iowa golf experience is not the only reason you should check out Coldwater for a round.
1400 S GRAND AVE, Ames
Par 71, 6787 yards, 72.4 rating, 130 slope
Coldwater is a newer course that opened in the early 2000's, right around the same time I started my half decade at Iowa State. In their short history they have proven to be a solid course in Iowa by hosting a wide variety of golf tournaments from USGA qualifiers, to IGA championships and high school state tournaments.
One of my favorite things about Coldwater is that the course is always in good condition and is visibly pleasing no matter the time of the year. Most greens on the course are well guarded with bunkers and are elevated, shots missing the green are always at risk for a difficult up and down.
The front nine has always been my favorite nine, possibly because I have played them far more often. Holes 2-8 are some what separated from the rest of the course and come with a backdrop of Jack Trice Stadium. These holes have less water to deal with and have always been the holes I have scored better on. Hole 1 has long been one of my favorites on the course, even as the sprawling apartment complexes have crept right up to the fairway. A short hole with fairway bunkers and water down the right that screams for a hybrid off the tee, I always still find myself pulling driver. Hole 9 is a good finishing hole for the front, the dog leg (not a common feature here) left hole provides a very wide landing area in the fairway. However drift too far right and you will be hitting a long second shot to a green that has water and prairie grass ready for bigger miss-hits.
The back nine is full of lengthy holes that get even harder when the wind is blowing. From the black tees 5 of the 6 Par 4 holes measure at least 415 yards. The Par 3 16th is my favorite hole on the back 9. It is a longer Par 3, 191 yards from the tips, that plays downhill with trees framing your view from the tee. With the clubhouse and Jack Trice in the background it is both a good view and a challenge.
With a good sized driving range right next to the clubhouse and a putting green near the first tee it is easy to squeeze in some practice before the round. The clubhouse is nice and offers a variety of products, food and beverages to load up on before or after the round. The staff has always been friendly, and if you follow their social media platforms you know they are usually having a good time at the course.
Anything and everything you need to know about the course is on their website. From hole by hole flyovers to the run down of a wide variety of golf events they host. This course is truly one of my favorite courses in central Iowa and very much worth the drive up to Ames at least once a year.
Post round eats
Colwater Golf Links is conveniently located very close to Ames' most well known restaurant Hickory Park. The beer menu is minimal, but the rest of the menu is loaded with various smoked meats and sweet treats.
Another great option is Vesuvius Wood Fired Pizza. A wide variety of pizzas and drinks await you at this Ames hot spot. The pizza's get made pretty quickly and you can get in and out faster than hitting up a sit down place. But be aware that if you are going there during normal eating times it can get pretty full and finding a spot to sit may be difficult. But the food is good enough that eating in your car is still a win.