The American Express

La Quinta, Calif.


Course Rankings


Sedalia, Colo. / 7,044 yards, Par 72
May 08, 2021


Jim Engh (1997)

In the late 1990s, Sanctuary debuted as a counterpoint to what was then the latest fashion, the startlingly outrageous architecture of Mike Strantz. Coloradoan Jim Engh introduced his stylistic philosophy of incorporating Art Deco themes of parallel lines, sweeping curves and repetitive patterns in his bunker, fairway and green shapes. The comforting nature of his architectural style proved to be popular and soothing to many golf fans. But Sanctuary’s site itself is startling. The first tee shot drops 200 feet. Fairways twist and tumble down narrow valleys and over chasms. Enormous greens are protected not just by Engh’s squiggly bunkers but by giant transplanted pines. Sanctuary’s developers, Dave and Gail Liniger, founded the Re/Max real estate empire, but they insisted that Sanctuary have no homes that could disturb the tranquility of the course. It’s a Sanctuary indeed.

100 Greatest/Second 100 Greatest History: Ranked on America's 100 Greatest: 1999-2000, '01-'02; and 2005 through 2010. Ranked on Second 100 Greatest: 2013-2014 through 2019-2020. Highest ranking: 48th, '99-'00. Previous ranking: Ranked 175th. Current ranking: Unranked.

Panelist comments, Sanctuary:

"Sanctuary is perhaps the most scenic inland golf course in America, every hole has memorable features and the overall conditioning enhances the experience. he site has dramatic elevation changes over the whole course and the only level lies are on the par 3s."

"The Sanctuary is a very unique golf course layout built into the foothills of South Denver. The first tee starts the golfer out with a 250+ foot drop off into a narrow fairway. One of the most dramatic first tee shots you'll remember hitting. As you make your way throughout the course, many of the tee boxes are elevated showing off scenic views of the rocky mountain front range."

"This may be the most scenic course I have played not next to an ocean."

"The best hole on the course was the potentially drivable 12th that had some interesting strategy for playing safe to where playing to the outside of the dogleg nearer that bunker gives the best look in for the second. The shorter and clearer route off the tee will be blocked out by a couple trees. I’ve never seen a short 4 set up quite like it."

"As a golf course, one can critique the fact there are 12 downhill holes but you still hit a variety of shots throughout. Strategic play is certainly required. Is Sanctuary a fair test of medal play golf? Perhaps not. But as a match play course, it would be simply fantastic."

"Easily some of the most dramatic views of any course in Colorado! By far the best Jim Engh design I’ve played. There were several holes I would like to go back and play again with different thoughts on risk/reward!"

"There isn’t a real flow to this course and it feels highly disjointed due to the severity of the property and many of the holes need pine trees cleared out near the tees as they force the player into a single line of attack. And I don’t mean trees that overhang and encroach…. I mean trees that are in the way of the lines of play directly in front of you."

Courtesy of Sanctuary

Courtesy of Sanctuary

Courtesy of Sanctuary