Mad Russian is a public, 18-hole Par 69 championship course that’s simply a breath of fresh air. Located in the beautiful, Colorado plains of Milliken, Mad Russian has natural areas full of cattails, forests, and ravines incorporated into its design. You’ll share the course with blue herons, bald eagles, and coyotes–and never lose sight of the beautiful Rockies rising in the west. Mad Russian has elevated tees and greens, prominent lakes that come into play on the majority of holes, and small, hard to master greens that are sure to test your iron play.
Many stories have circulated over the years, but here is the real story about the Real Mad Russian…
In October of 1986 Bob Ehrlich purchased an abandoned golf course name Jack Rabbit Trail along with a clubhouse and a round rotating residence located just north of Milliken, Colorado. These unique structures and course had once been owned by a Russian farmer named Ted Blehm, who was known in the area for being a little ornery and always up for a challenge. As the story goes, Ted was not allowed to join a local golf club so he decided he would go out and build his own, bigger and better golf club. A few years later Ted, with a couple of trusty sidekicks, finished his field of dreams. Unfortunately, Ted’s dream soon had to be shuttered due to the economic climate of the early 1980’s.
After years of the course and buildings going unused, Bob purchased the property and with a crew they began to mow down weeds that had overtaken the course, locate sprinklers and plan out a new 18 hole golf course. Utilizing his background in agriculture and real estate Bob and his crew of farm hands built a unique, challenging course named The Mad Russian in honor of Ted, and his courage to challenge the established way of doing things. The course opened to play on August 1, 1987 and every year we celebrate the date as Mad Russian Day.
After continued success for years Bob Ehrlich decided in January 2023 to ensure the continued success of the Mad Russian to the Thompson Rivers Parks & Recreation District.
In the words of Clint Dudley, Executive Director “TRPR is humbled and honored that the Ehrlich family has entrusted our board and staff to carry on the Mad Russian tradition that began with Ted Blehm the Mad Russian himself in 1979 and has been carried on by the Ehrlich family for the past 36 years.”
TRPR is excited to put our own unique twist on the course by expanding youth programming, adding additional leagues and adding private golf lessons. TRPR will also be bringing night, weekend and extended season tee times to the course.
The existing event space above the club house will be reopened and will provide an opportunity for expanded community events as well as space for private celebrations.
Existing TRPR staff Jeff Grim and Jarron Cito will be taking the lead at the course and will be assisted by many amazing returning course employees. The entire TRPR staff is passionate about advancing our mission and are excited for the opportunities that the course will bring to the Johnstown Milliken community.