Two courses, two towns and two completely different settings. That’s what you will find when you plan a golf vacation to Rio Grande County.

Monte Vista Golf Club, built in 1928 and designed by Jason Newman, offers affordable family golfing fun. The regulation 9-hole municipal course has three tee settings and measures 3,056 yards from the longest tees. The well-maintained course is open to the public. Yearly memberships are offered too.

The course was one of the first 15 built in Colorado back in an era where few courses could be found west of the Mississippi. Many golf pros made their way to play here over the years.In recent years, those who have played the course have remarked on the greens. One reviewer said, “All putts have a bit of break, making it more challenging to score than it seems at first.”

Further upstream, the Rio Grande Club and Resort (rgcresort.com) straddles the Rio Grande. In fact, hole number 4 on this 18-hole championship length course challenges golfers with a tricky shot across the river. The Rio Grande, also known for its gold medal fishing waters, adds more than a golf challenge: those who join obtain both fishing and golfing privileges.

Designed by Ric Buckton in 2001, the course was recognized as one of Golf Digest’s top 10 resort courses in 2006. Elevation changes and a distinct style change between the front and back nine make this course particularly fun and interesting to play. It doesn’t hurt that with an average elevation of 8,200 feet, golf balls really fly!

Golf Pro Britt Jardon said, “This is a challenging and fun course. It’s also gorgeous. Number 14 is very pretty. Alder Creek runs through and creates a beautiful photo opportunity.” Others say number 17, with fantastic views of the San Luis Valley, is the most scenic spot on the course.

The resort, recently purchased by the Freeman family of Million Air Interlink FBO’s, offers a luxury experience. Golf play, Timbers Dining Room and Big River Grille are open to the public at this semi-private club. Members enjoy access to the fitness center, swimming pool, tennis and pickleball courts and the fishing lodge as well as invitations to social events throughout the year.

For both courses, the season runs from April through October. Golfers interested in planning a vacation to the area can find information on lodging options at riograndecounty.com.

South Fork, your basecamp to adventure and an ATV-friendly town, features festivals and events throughout the season. Del Norte, located about halfway between Monte Vista and South Fork, offers a brew pub and a renovated historic downtown. Del Norte also serves as home to the county’s museum—a great stop for kids and adults.

Monte Vista, centrally located in the San Luis Valley, provides a perfect spot from which to explore the mountains and nearby Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Check riograndecounty.com to learn more about events and activities to enjoy during your golf vacation in Rio Grande County.