Top Five Disc Golf Courses in the Denver Area

Whether it's hiking, camping, trail running or simply a stroll through one of the city's many green spaces, Denver denizens love to be outside. They love it even more when these pursuits are inexpensive or - even better - free.

Greens fees for ball golf can be off-putting, same with the wardrobe and rigid country club mentality. Disc golf, on the other hand, is more akin to a hike in the great outdoors with a slight hint of competitiveness.

Denver and its surrounding environs are home to a plethora of disc golf courses. Here are five to try:

Lakewood Dry Gulch - Denver
Taking a quick glance at a map of Denver, you'd be forgiven for overlooking Dry Gulch Park. The sliver of green follows Lakewood Gulch (not always "dry") connecting downtown Denver and the suburb of Lakewood. It's a favorite bike commuter trail and also home to a 21-hole disc golf course. The holes are mostly narrow and long and there's ample opportunity to get wet, though you'll usually be able to find your disc thanks to the low flow waterway. Be prepared to walk a good five miles when playing the full course. The course closed in 2009 due to nearby RTD (train) construction, but recently re-opened and stands as Denver proper's only 18+ hole course.

Johnny Roberts DGC - Arvada
Possibly the Denver area's best maintained course, Johnny Roberts is a place to flex your short game muscle. Most of the holes are ace-able and any experienced frolfer should be looking at a negative score. The course is a paragon of efficient land use as it weaves through the minimal green space on both sides of Ralston Creek. There are multiple pin placements and the tee markers are easy to follow. It's a quick round though there are several holes that could put you in the drink. Due to its close proximity to Denver the course can get crowded.

Camenisch Park (Badlands) – Federal Heights
Located in the shadow of Water World, Badlands is an open up and down 18-hole course with one major water hazard. The terrain is mostly exposed so bring your sunscreen and water. There are multiple pin placements per hole with most requiring a driver. Badlands used to also be home to an additional set of holes dubbed the "Blair Witch Project" course, but they were incorporated into the new Camenisch Park – The Hylands course.

Westminster DGC - Westminster
Located just north of Denver, this 18-hole course makes use of the ample space associated with the Westminster City Park. While the park itself looks well manicured, make no mistake, you'll be tromping through the wilds avoiding multiple lake and stream induced water hazards. The course is long and mostly open leaving you feeling pretty fatigued by the end of a round.

Beaver Ranch – Conifer
For those looking to escape the urban landscape, Beaver Creek offers a wooded option in the nearby foothills. The course is daunting with the first few holes being a slog seemingly straight uphill. The rest of the course sees similar elevation changes with beautiful vistas to keep you motivated. The course is extremely varied with holes vacillating from 400+ foot monsters to tight tree chutes that require pinpoint accuracy. The course costs $8 to play.

Matt Sandy has been living in and writing about Denver since 2007. He writes about beer for various publications.