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CONTENTS | April 2020

DEPARTMENTS 10 Forethoughts

When Golf Goes Viral By Jon Rizzi

12 The CGA

Member Play Days are Back by Erin Gangloff

14 Year of the Woman

Brenda Smith and Judy Mackey, owners of the Garden of the Gods Club. By Jon Rizzi

17 The Gallery

Maggie Hartman’s honor, The Broadmoor commits to caddies, Sonnenalp’s Finn Cycle, 2020 Evans Scholars, more

80 Blind Shot

What does a 79-year-old photo have to do with this magazine? By Jon Rizzi


Playing with a Full Tech By Ted Johnson

36 Play Away

Tasting Notes from a Golf Trip to

Eastern Washington. By Jeff Wallach

41 Style

Cool finds from the PGA Merchandise Show By Suzanne S. Brown


SIDE BETS 43 Fareways

Follow Your Nose to the Best BBQ on the Front Range. By John Lehndorff


48 Nice Drives

Subaru Outback XT, Cadillac XT6, GMC Acadia AT4, Hyundai Palisade By Isaac Bouchard

50 Lacing ’em Up

Cornerstone 2.0

A refreshed, reinvigorated Shane Bertsch, channeling Ben Hogan, is primed for the PGA TOUR Champions. By Andy Bigford

The only thing more spectacular than the Montrose course itself might be the story of the club’s reboot. By Jon Rizzi



Shane Bertsch at

Colorado Golf Club in Parker. Photograph by Ehren Joseph




A 21-page guide to Colorado’s private golf clubs, complete with our annual grid of initiations, dues and amenities at all 55 institutions.


76 77 coloradoavidgolfer.com


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WE’VE GOT YOUR BACKS We know the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a number of courses around the state to close temporarily, while others have restricted cart and clubhouse use, food service and contact with bunker rakes and other “high-touch” objects.

April 2020 | Volume 19, Number 1 president and group publisher

A llen J. Walters editorial director

Jon Rizzi

SALES, MARKETING & ADVERTISING associate publisher

Chris Phillips

senior sales directors

Mike Car ver, Craig Hitchcock digital strategist and content manager

Drew Kor t

office and operations manager

Cindy Palmer

Whether or not your course is open, please know that the members of the Rocky Mountain Golf Course Superintendents Association have continued to maintain its playing conditions. Moreover, they are making every effort to regularly disinfect and sanitize the many surfaces with which golfers come into contact before, during and after a round. We want you to enjoy the game without fear of getting ill.

projects and special events manager

Melissa Holmberg ART & EDITORIAL creative director

Jani Duncan Smith art director

Chelsea Oglesby editor - at- large

Tom Ferrell

automotive editor

Isaac Bouchard style editor

In the same way our superintendents serve golfers, the RMGCSA stands behind its members during these demanding times. For more than 80 years we have served our constituents by improving golf course management practices through education, sharing knowledge and networking. And no amount of social distancing will stop the exchange of information and ideas.

Play safe. Enjoy your round. We’ve got your backs.

Suzanne S. Brown contributors

Sam Adams, Andy Bigford, E.J. Carr, Clarkson Creative, Tony Dear, Denny Dressman, Sue Drinker, Dick Durrance, Chris Duthie, Neal Erickson, Scott Gardner, Garo Productions, Ted Johnson, Kaye Kessler, John Lehndorff, Kim McHugh PRINCIPALS Ray L . Baker, C. Don Baker, Dick B. Baker advertising inquiries : cindy@coloradoavidgolfer.com editorial inquiries and letters : jon@coloradoavidgolfer.com customer service and subscriptions :


mailing address : 7200 S. Alton Way #A-180, Centennial, CO 80112 fax : 720-482-0784 newsstand information : 720-493-1729 follow us on facebook colorado avidgolfer twitter @ coloavidgolfer and instagram colorado avidgolfer

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Colorado AvidGolfer (ISSN 1548-4335) is published eight times a year by Baker-Colorado Publishing, LLC, and printed by Publication Printers Corp. Volume 19, Number one. 7200 S. Alton Way #A-180, Centennial, CO 80112. Colorado AvidGolfer is available at more than 250 locations, or you can order your personal subscription by calling 720-493-1729. Subscriptions are available at the rate of $17.95 per year. Copyright © 2019 by Baker-Colorado Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Postmaster: Send address changes to Colorado AvidGolfer, 7200 S. Alton Way #A-180 Centennial, CO 80112. The magazine welcomes editorial submissions but assumes no responsibility for the safekeeping or return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, artwork or other material. magazine partner of choice :

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When Golf Goes Viral PHOTOGRAPH BY E.J. CARR

Stan Fenn & Doug Perry


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ON MARCH 15, I played my first round of golf of the year. Prior to that glorious Sunday at Willis Case Golf Course, I’d last teed it up with some hungover college friends during a December trip to Puerto Rico. I’m happy to report the threemonth layoff didn’t hurt my game one bit. Nor did it help. My play is as inconsistent in 2020 as it was in 2019. I’ve been playing a version of what one might call “Ray Ray golf.” That’s where you drive like Ray Floyd and putt like Ray Charles. I respect that some politically correct folks might find that statement offensive, but so was my putting that day. It was so odious, my lone birdie came on a chip-in from behind the 13th green. No putter needed. “Hit the Road, 3-Jack,” Ray Charles himself might have sang if he were partnered with me. Sure enough, I didn’t come back no mo’ no mo’. Not because I didn’t want to. Three days later, the City of Denver—like so many other municipalities—closed its courses due to COVID-19 concerns. Voluntary self-quarantining followed. So did numerous articles—including one I wrote on coloradoavidgolfer.com—about golf’s relative safety compared to other sporting activities, especially for those who eschew carts in favor of walking; leave in the flagstick while putting; and use their gloved hand to remove the ball from the hole (of course, first you have to make the damn putt; I’m all for the COVID-19-safe, social-distancing, six-foot gimme). I certainly applaud the efforts of courses to stay open as long as they could. Steps included removing bunker rakes and on-course water coolers, raising the hole to prevent flagstick contact, increasing space between tee times, discouraging groups from gathering, preventing single players from filling foursomes to avoid unknown relationships, eliminating range mats, providing sanitized practice balls and prohibiting carts or limiting use to one rider per vehicle, disinfecting each cart after every use. Socially, it also felt like a different game. Suggestive of the dreaded “chicken wing” swing flaw, elbow bumps replaced traditional end-of-round handshakes, and solitary fist pumps substituted for celebratory high-fives. The bet-settling, post-round cash exchanges that usually took place over beers in the grill were transpiring in the parking lot via Venmo. Ultimately and correctly, though, the right to stay alive overrides the right to play golf. So what if the cancellation or postponement of charity events and other amateur tournaments inconveniences us? And it’s OK if the unofficial beginning of the golf season—the Masters—may signal its conclusion in October. As of this writing, it looks like the first majors of 2020 will be June’s U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. That, too, could change. Although the seven Colorado men and women who qualified for the national Four-Ball Championships won’t get their shots at glory, the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship portends to take place as scheduled, July 13-18 at Eisenhower Golf Course in Colorado Springs. The same holds true for the Korn Ferry Tour’s TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes, July 9-12 at TPC Colorado in Berthoud. As of March 25, all three CoBank Colorado Open Championships—beginning with the Colorado Women’s Open June 3-5—will be played as scheduled at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club. We’ll continue to monitor news on coloradoavidgolfer.com. In the meantime, dig into this issue’s guides to gear (page 26) and private clubs (page 55), and read a great story about Parker’s Shane Bertsch (page 50), whose first round on the PGA TOUR Champions, originally scheduled for April, won’t happen until May at the earliest. Despite the current shelter-in-place edict, he’s staying as sharp as he was in December when he won Q-school. Stay safe and remember: This, too, shall pass.  —JON RIZZI



Award-winning dining, a booming craft beer scene and exceptional year-round golf on courses along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail await you in Alabama. Plus, with Jerry Pate’s Kiva Dunes and Arnold Palmer’s Craft Farms in Gulf Shores, from the mountains to the coast you can take it all in.

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Membership Means More … Play Days! This year’s lineup doubles the number of courses—and the amount of fun. By Erin Gangloff

Schedule of Events*

MEMBER PLAY DAYS are back by popular demand! “After surveying our members at the beginning of 2019, they made it loud and clear they wanted to play different and exciting golf courses,” said Matthew VENUE DATE Walker, the Colorado Golf Association’s manager of programs. “So, in 2019 we introduced Member Play Days at four private courses around the state. The reThe Club at Flying Horse, Colorado Springs May 18 sponse to these opportunities was so positive that we have doubled the number of Play Days this year.” Perry Park Country Club, Larkspur June 15 This season brings eight opportunities for CGA Members of all TPC Colorado, Berthoud June 23 skill levels to play premier private golf courses around the state in noncompetitive one-day events. The first comes next month in Colorado Springs at Dalton Ranch Golf Club, Durango July 20 The Club at Flying Horse, followed by June events at Perry Park Country Club in Larkspur and Berthoud’s TPC Colorado, home of an annual event on the Korn Hiwan Golf Club, Evergreen August 17 Ferry Tour. Head west in July to indulge in the glories of Dalton Ranch Golf Club in Black Bear Golf Club, Parker September 1 Durango, and the next month treat yourself to a round at the 27-year home of the Colorado Open, Hiwan Golf Club, in Evergreen. Valley Country Club, Centennial October 5 September brings the sublime challenge of Black Bear Golf Club in Parker, Columbine Country Club, Denver October 12 while October caps off the season with rounds at two layouts with championship pedigrees: Centennial’s Valley Country Club, which staged the Colorado Women’s *The Colorado Golf Association is monitoring the COVID-19 situation. Open for seven years, and Littleton’s Columbine Country Club, which has welRegistrants will be notified if an event is changed/postponed. comed the 1967 PGA Championship and numerous U.S. Open qualifiers. These Play Days represent just one of the many exclusive benefits that come with a $59.95 CGA membership. Another benefit, for example, is that existing Colorado AvidGolfer Golf Passport members can add an official CGA GHIN Handicap for only $40.

Dalton Ranch Golf Club

Erin Gangloff is the managing director of programs for the Colorado Golf Association. To learn about pricing, times and registration for CGA Member Play Days, please check out coloradogolf.org/play-days. For information about CGA membership, please visit coloradogolf.org/membership. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | April 2020



Golf, Stay & Play

in Santa Fe!


A Hale Irwin Scenic Masterpiece Part of the Amazing



Growing Their Garden Thanks to health-conscious owners Brenda Smith and Judy Mackey, the Garden of the Gods Club—and all who enter it—is flourishing.  By Jon Rizzi

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO BUY THE GARDEN OF THE GODS CLUB & RESORT? MACKEY: It was kind of a surprise to us. We weren’t the highest bidder, but the owners knew we intended to uphold the legacy of the (founding) Hill Family (which owned it from 1951-2007); rebuild and renovate the property; and build a wellness center. And with me being a member and us both living in the community, the members really embraced us; the previous owners didn’t focus on them. SMITH: We got a grace period during which we could prove ourselves to the members. The momentum has just carried on. We always look at how something will impact the members and also give our guests the best possible experience.


IT STARTED WITH a little joke. In May of 2013, Judy Mackey, a Colorado Springs-based healthcare-insurance executive, and Brenda Smith, a managing partner at the public accounting firm of BKD, decided to start a wellness center. Having worked together on numerous professional initiatives over the years, the two found they shared an appreciation for alternative, integrative medical treatments. That May, the friends inquired about renting space at the Garden of Gods Resort & Club—the venerable, scenic 334-acre institution where Mackey was a member—and discovered that the owner, California-based Sunrise Company, was about to sell the 62-year-old property. “Why don’t we just buy it?” Mackey kidded. “For real?” replied Smith, who that evening casually floated the prospect by her husband, Chuck. He surprised her: “Sure.” By October, the women owned the club. They spent the next six years magnificently updating the 90,000-square-foot, 56-room clubhouse/lodge, building 31 new residential and lodging structures and cultivating members of the property’s 27-hole Kissing Camels Golf Club. Chief among their accomplishments: the construction of the 31,000-square-foot Strata Spa and Wellness Center, which has rapidly become a destination for personalized, holistic wellbeing programs tailored by physicians and therapists to produce optimal physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health.

HIGHER STRATA: Brenda Smith (left) and Judy Mackey have elevated the glorious Garden of the Gods Club by focusing on the well-being of club members, resort guests, employees and those looking to optimize their health.

HOW DOES GOLF FIT INTO YOUR VISION? MACKEY: Golf has been an important part of the Hill family vision since the first 18 Kissing Camels holes opened in 1961. It’s really baked into the social life, especially the Kissing Camels Ladies’ Golf Association, which has more members—and a slightly bigger locker room—than the men do. There used to be two different memberships—a dining membership on the “lodge” side of Mesa Road and the golf membership across the street. We’re eliminating that division and taking more of a campus approach. If there’s a social event at any golf tournament, we try to have it at the main lodge. Because of our emphasis on health, wellness and fitness, three members of our staff are TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) certified. WHAT ROLE HAS GOLF PLAYED IN YOUR LIVES? MACKEY: Golf was a big part of my healthcare

consulting job. A lot of the insurance carriers had golf tournaments and golf outings. It was a place to network, a place to build the kind of relationships you can’t build in a boardroom. When you get out there on the course you get to know somebody personally, you get to know about their family. I think your relationship changes. I was also a committee chair with the 2008 US Senior Open and the 2011 US Women’s Open. Both were at The Broadmoor and huge events for the Colorado Springs community. AS SUCCESSFUL WOMEN, DO YOU FEEL A RESPONSIBILITY TO INSPIRE OTHER WOMEN? SMITH: We not only have a responsibility to women; we have a responsibility to men. The more you show someone you believe in them, the more it helps them believe that they can do something, and they will work harder and try more. Gender shouldn’t really matter.

Year of the Woman ON JULY 13-18, at the United States Air Force Academy’s Eisenhower Golf Club in Colorado Springs, the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado will host the 72nd U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. The Colorado golf community has thereby designated 2020 as the Year of the Woman. Throughout 2020, the Colorado PGA and Colorado Golf Association will host numerous events and programs aimed at increasing women’s participation in the game. This regular feature will highlight women for whom golf has had an enormous impact in building relationships, families and careers. To learn more, visit coloradopga.com. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | April 2020





Leadership Summit

United States Air Force Academy Friday, July 1O, 2O2O Visit ColoradoJuniorGolf.org or ColoradoPGA.com for more information

Trajectory to Greatness – “Aim High!” What happens when the Wow of Girls meets the Wisdom of Women?

Dr. Janet Kavandi - Stellar Speaker Dr. Kavandi is a three-time space shuttle astronaut – taking part in the last mission to the Space Station MIR, mapping the Earth on the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, and installing the Quest airlock on the International Space Station. She served as Director of Flight Crew Operations at NASA Johnson and as the Deputy Director of Health and Human Performance. She is now the Senior Vice President for Programs at Sierra Nevada Corporations’ Space Systems headquarters in Louisville, Colorado.

Donna Orender - Stellar Speaker A nationally-recognized business leader, Donna Orender is the founder of Generation W, Generation WOW, and CEO of Orender Unlimited. She is a women’s professional basketball pioneer and former WNBA president and is deeply passionate about elevating the voices of girls and women.

presented in part by The Colorado Springs Toyota Dealers Association, Larry H. Miller Liberty Toyota and Larry H. Miller Toyota Colorado Springs

MACKEY: Sometimes you don’t realize that some of the things you are doing, some of the younger women are watching. Brenda and I are self-made, and we’ve gone through a lot to be successful. When some of these younger women who have obstacles hear about our struggles and how we overcame them, that gives them hope. I think it helps them see they can achieve their dreams, that it doesn’t come easy and that it’s a lot of work—but it can be done. WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER GOTTEN? SMITH: Don’t make it about you. That applies in two ways: The first is to listen genuinely with a true heart, so that you’re not already programmed to respond in a certain way or anticipate what the person’s going to say. It doesn’t matter if it’s an employee or a guest, or if it’s something you’re trying to accomplish in a negotiation. Really focus on what the person is trying to say and where are they trying to go. If you can genuinely care, it makes a big difference. The second: Surround yourself with people who are brighter than you are, and make sure you trust them. Then you can develop a culture that allows everyone to be successful. MACKEY: I subscribe to that. You also build loyalty with your clients by really listening to them and understanding them. That’s how you build your business and build relationships. A lot of our business partners wind up being wonderful friends just because we’re committed to their success and they’re invested in ours.



HALO EFFECT: At Strata, the center Smith and Mackey built, treatments include halotherapy in a Himalyan salt inhalation room with infrared deep heat therapy to help manage stress, detoxify and improve respiratory health.

WHAT IS MOST GRATIFYING ABOUT OWNING GARDEN OF THE GODS? MACKEY: Of course, we’ve been blessed to take this property to another level, but the gratification is really all about people. With Strata, our benefits are a self-funded plan. Our employees all use the wellness center, and we’ve set it up where the treatment is very affordable. We’ve changed so many lives. Our housekeepers—we make them feel as though they’re loved, and they’re welcomed

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here. I love seeing their health change, and they’re vibrant and energetic again, and they really feel like they’re part of a family. We’re really taking care of them. That, to me, is why we’re here. SMITH: It’s the people. The employees, the guests and the members. When you can impact and change peoples’ lives, it’s amazing. For more on how Mackey’s and Smith’s vision has come to life, visit gardenofthegodsresort.com





The Gallery


THE FUTURE OF the PGA of America looks a lot like Maggie Hartman. A 24-year-old junior golf leader for the ExperienceGolf instruction program at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora, Hartman was recently selected as one of 15 golf professionals to participate in PGA LEAD, a four-year-old strategic initiative “designed to establish a deep bench of diverse PGA Members who are prepared to ascend through the volunteer leadership ranks of the Association at the Chapter, Section and National levels.” Hartman, who graduated three years ago from the PGA Golf Management Program at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, became a full PGA member in March 2017 with a certification in player development. She applied to PGA LEAD while serving as director of The First Tee of Pikes Peak, where she had volunteered throughout college. Involvement in The First Tee’s Colorado Springs chapter came naturally to the self-described “product of The First Tee of Denver.” When she SHOWING THE WAY: Hartman, a “product of The First Tee of Denver,” has given was six or seven, her parents got her involved with The First Tee, and she back to the game through numerous programs promoting diversity and inclusion. eventually became a mentor. She played golf for East High School and also worked at City Park, where, she jokes, “hitting balls and driving the picker was good therapy.” Hartman cites as her inspirations Colorado PGA Head Professionals Tom Woodard, Todd Marley and Keith Soriano, all of whom encouraged her to pursue a career as a golf professional and to give back to the game. She says she “loves the inclusive culture of CommonGround,” and working with such programs as PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), Special Olympics and instruction for ESL students and individuals from diverse backgrounds. “It’s a priority for me as a golf professional for kids and the community to see people like themselves in these leadership positions,” she says, citing the example set by PGA President Suzy Whaley as “priceless” to her. The two-year PGA LEAD program will help Hartman and her fellow professionals “learn the ropes” to becoming those kinds of leaders. Since the program’s inception four years ago, six PGA LEAD alumni have already ascended into board leadership positions within their PGA Sections, including three currently serving as Section Vice Presidents. Another 15 PGA LEAD alumni serve on PGA of America National Committees. coloradopga.com



A LEAD Story

THEIR SHOT: Hartman (third from left) joined her 2020’21 PGA LEAD classmates for an early-morning photo during January’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.

On His Mark


the program will give each participant a weekly stipend so golfers can take a BCLA caddie for free—then provide a gratuity after the round. The program will differ from the Solich programs inasmuch as the caddies will be working at Colorado’s only five-star, five-diamond resort. To spearhead the recruitment and training of such talent, the CGA has enlisted Mark Kelbel as program director. He’s uniquely qualified. After spending 19 years as the PGA Head Professional at The Broadmoor, Kelbel now runs Fearless Golf, a nonprofit devoted to using the game as therapy for at-risk youth who have aged out of foster care. With BCLA, his focus will expand to identifying candidates “through The First Tee, local schools, churches and golf teams, train them as caddies and cultivate them for the Evans Scholarship.” Kelbel will encourage Broadmoor members to develop mentor-mentee relationships with individual caddies. “Kids grow more confident when they don’t have too many personalities to deal with,” he explains. The resort will still provide professional


Mark Kelbel


A JOURNEY THAT BEGAN with his brother Duffy more than 40 years ago at The Broadmoor has come full circle. Philanthropist George Solich— the Colorado Springs kid who parlayed his caddie experience at The Broadmoor into an Evans Scholarship, a tremendously successful business career and the creation of the oft-emulated Solich Caddie and Leadership Academy—has announced the launch of a unique caddie academy at his old stomping ground. Debuting shortly after Memorial Day, The Broadmoor Caddie & Leadership Academy will run through Labor Day and comprise 35 caddies in 2020. As with the Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy (which now has three Colorado chapters and has produced 225 caddies since its 2012 inception), the Colorado Golf Association will serve as the nonprofit host. Participants not only learn how to caddie and forecaddie, but also how to become leaders who are financially literate during 11 weekly classes and summer community-service projects. Like the Solich Academies at other courses,

caddies for some members and high-end resort guests. “This program dovetails with everything I’m doing with golf and what I’m pursuing professionally,” he says. “It checks all my boxes. The right people are behind it. It’s the right location. And it helps kids have better lives.” broadmoor.com April 2020 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER

The Gallery

Wonder Boy!

RICK REIMERS’ passion for improving the golf experience has resulted in the invention of golf bags that are lighter, have spring-loaded legs and straps across both shoulders. Now the Sun Mountain Sports founder is taking on slow play with the Finn Cycle. A single-rider electric-motor cycle that travels at the same speed and with the same stability as a golf car, the Finn Cycle allows each player to go directly to their ball. “They got a great response,” says Pete Roach, the PGA Professional at Vail Valley’s Sonnenalp Golf Club, which last year was the only Colorado course on the list of ROLLING DOWN THE FAIRWAY: The Finn Cycle speeds play and ups golf’s cool factor. more than 70 across the U.S. to feature them. “They’re fun, super-easy to operate and maneuver, the bag goes in the center-line downtube, they have hand-brakes and there’s no shifting gears.” Sun Mountain Motor Sports’ unique revenue-sharing model enabled the private club/resort course to put eight Finn Cycles into use last May, and players logged hundreds of rounds. This year, the golf shop will feature a kiosk where users can rent and unlock one simply by using an app on their phones. “They definitely get around a bit quicker,” Roach says, comparing the Finn Cyclists to other players. “But we have never had a problem with pace of play. That’s really determined by the group ahead of you.” The real appeal? “They’re fun to ride and just look cool.” finnscooters.com

Don’t worry about correctly pronouncing the surname of fivetime state high-school champion Micah Stangebye. For the next four years, you can just call him a Wonder Boy. That’s the nickname of the men’s sports teams at Arkansas Tech University (the women are the Golden Suns), and an apt description of its newest recruit. In February, the most decorated golfer in Montrose High School history—with two individual wins and three team victories in the State 4A (as well as regional titles all four years)—signed a letter of intent to attend the NCAA Division II school in the fall. The Wonder Boys have advanced to the NCAA Division II Nationals the last three years, making it as far as the semi-finals. Stangebye (pronounced “Stang-bee,” by the way) could be the missing piece. Before we find out, the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame will honor him with its 2020 Future Famer Award during the annual induction dinner at Colorado Golf Club. coloradogolfhalloffame.org


Sonnenalp’s Electric Ride

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The Gallery

Golf by Numbers



Colorado PGA Professionals have earned the highest educational designation a PGA member can obtain: PGA Master Professional. The newest master in the club is also one of the youngest in the country: 34-year-old Mark Bacheldor, the program director of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) PGA Golf Management University Program. Eligibility for the PGA Master Professional Program requires a minimum of 10 years of PGA membership, and Bacheldor notably only became a PGA member when he graduated from the UCCS program in 2008. Still, he calls achieving the designation “a dream long in the making.”uccs.edu

$10,000 of the almost $2 million in USGA research grant funding will go to the Turf Program at Colorado State University. This continues the USGA’s 100year commitment to providing scientific innovations aimed at enhancing golf course sustainability for a healthier environment and improved playing conditions. usga.org

finalists for the Evans Caddie Scholarship—out of 36 applicants—successfully interviewed January 28 at Cherry Hills Country Club. The nine men and four women each earned a full tuition and housing college scholarship at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where they will live among fellow students in the Evans Scholars House. This year’s scholars (and their sponsoring clubs) are: Autumn Henson and Dane Srsen (Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club); Logan Byler and Ethan Perlstein (Castle Pines Golf Club); Natalia Garayoa and Giovanny Gordillo (Cherry Hills Country Club); Tucker Bruce and Tristan Johnston (Roaring Fork Club); Cerra Shattuck (Boulder Country Club); Alexander Granquist (Columbine Country Club); Dakota Makinen (Denver Country Club); William Kissinger (Lakewood Country Club); and Fenton Dowling (Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy at Meridian Golf Club). Before caddying at their respective clubs, Byler and Gordillo also looped at Meridian’s Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy. Since 2012, the academy—which has chapters at Meridian, CommonGround and Tiara Rado golf courses—has now produced 22 Evans Scholars. In addition, Garayoa and two other 2020 recipients were ACE scholars. Administered by the Chicago-based Western Golf Association, the Evans Scholars Foundation currently serves students at the Eisenhower Chapter in Boulder and more than 470 CU alumni. Locally, the Colorado Golf Association and the Colorado Golf Foundation work to support caddie programs that put more young people on the path to an Evans Scholarship. coloradogolf.org


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Playing with a Full Tech By Ted Johnson


EVER SINCE THE microchip moved into golf-club design, we “gear heads” have had to learn lots of acronyms. Thanks to CAD (computer-aided design), we’ve come to understand the importance of CG (center of gravity), MOI (moment of inertia) and, of course, COR (the legal-sounding coefficient of restitution)—all of which factor into how clubhead and ball interact. Now we add another: AI, for artificial intelligence. Golf-club design is no longer just about mechanical engineering; it’s about software and mathematical expertise. Through one computer-generated iteration after another, AI has allowed Callaway to match the optimum face thickness—thus spring-like effect—for specific lofts. The result, like most of the clubs in this year’s Gear Guide, builds a little more performance into the clubs, which in turn gives us a little more distance, a little better feel—and a lot more satisfaction with our game.




CALLAWAY MAVRIK  $500 Why you’ll love it: Feel, power, forgiveness Why you should buy it: AI-aided design has produced optimal composition, face and shape for better impact Insider’s insight: Getting fit will bring significant carry distance

PING G410 PLUS  $400 Why you’ll love it: Tinkerers can fine-tune settings Why you should buy it: Offers power and forgiveness; fitting needed to match specs to your swing Insider’s insight: This company never fails to improve on its products

CLEVELAND LAUNCHER HB TURBO $350 Why you’ll love it: Grab-and-go driver with pop Why you should buy it: No adjustments needed; back-weighted, large face = forgiveness and distance Insider’s insight: A high-quality, low-maintenance choice

HONMA TR20  $650 Why you’ll love it: Beauty and tech from top Japanese line Why you should buy it: Titanium frame, unique carbon core and adjustability in a beautiful package Insider’s insight: A product started by Mark King, ex-CEO of TaylorMade

TITLEIST TS3  $500 Why you’ll love it: Sleek, hot look with forgiveness and pop Why you should buy it: Titanium crown, super-thin face, optimal shape = hot performance Insider’s insight: You don’t have to be Adam Scott to hit it well

TAYLORMADE SIM MAX  $500 Why you’ll love it: Confidence-inducing plus boomin’ distance Why you should buy it: Forgiving without sacrificing performance; stability and speed at impact Insider’s insight: High-tech product to get even more carry distance coloradoavidgolfer.com



FAIRWAY WOODS & HYBRIDS TOUR EDGE EXOTICS EXS 220  $250 Why you’ll love it: More performance for the buck Why you should buy it: Thinner face consisting of cross-hatched fibers offer wide trampoline effect Insider’s insight: Hard to find a better club for the money CALLAWAY MAVRIK MAX  $250 Why you’ll love it: Superb performance for serious players Why you should buy it: AI is used to vary the thickness for each specific loft to control spin Insider’s insight: Get fitted on every Mavrik (lofts 19-33 degrees)

TITLEIST TS3  $300 Why you’ll love it: Thin crown for low weight in clubhead Why you should buy it: Slender face and lower CG produces high, soaring fairway shots Insider’s insight: Pros like smaller heads for center-of-face hits MIZUNO CLK  $230 Why you’ll love it: Hybrid with thin crown, flatter head Why you should buy it: Reduces “chunks” out of the rough; high launch and forgiveness Insider’s insight: Adjustable lofts range from 16-25 degrees

KNUTH HIGH HEAT 257+ TGS  $340 Why you’ll love it: Hot face, unique sole design Why you should buy it: Thin, trampoline-like face and a sole that gets through the turf fast Insider’s insight: Further, straighter long approach shots with fewer chunks COBRA SPEEDZONE  $230 Why you’ll love it: One-length club has unique features Why you should buy it: Hollow rails enable gliding through turf and added flexibility Insider’s insight: Easy to hit, easy consistency (lofts: 19, 21 & 24) COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | April 2020




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TOUR EDGE EXS220  $500 Why you’ll love it: Forgiving irons with yowza distance Why you should buy it: Thin cup faces are rocket boosters on iron shots: 6-iron to A wedge (6 clubs) Insider’s insight: Perfect for newbie transitioning into avid golfer

TAYLORMADE P790  $1,400 Why you’ll love it: High-tech and maintains classy look, 4-PW Why you should buy it: Repositioned tungsten weight and Speedfoam in hollow head = feel and power Insider’s insight: A set of best friends for low handicappers

HONMA TR20P  $1,250 Why you’ll love it: True player iron with aggressive lofts Why you should buy it: Classic setup, thin topline, yet has balance of a more forgiving club Insider’s insight: Superb feel thanks to velvety forging

TITLEIST T200  $1,500 Why you’ll love it: A better-player’s iron with forgiveness Why you should buy it: Hot-face, polymer core and traditional look induces confidence Insider’s insight: T100 model is tighter, smaller; T200 is easier to hit

MIZUNO JPX919  $1,200 Why you’ll love it: Classic looks, high-tech features Why you should buy it: Better players rave about the feel as well as the forgiveness and distance Insider’s insight: Trying to go from 10-handicap to 4? Try these.

PING i500 $1,200 Why you’ll love it: Looks classic, plays modern Why you should buy it: Better players will love look but distance and feel speaks to modern tech Insider’s insight: A forged iron performance with top specs COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | April 2020



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BETTINARDI HLX 3.0  $190 Why you’ll love it: So pretty you won’t want to hit it Why you should buy it: Buttery feel from Bettinardi milling with honeycomb finish Insider’s insight: Keep an eye on it; many will want to try it out

PING GLIDE 3.0  $150 Why you’ll love it: Redesign includes iconic Eye2 shape Why you should buy it: Overall new wedge affording feel, forgiveness and performance Insider’s insight: Get fitted to match bounce to angle of attack TITLEIST VOKEY SM8  $160 Why you’ll love it: PGA TOUR’s most popular wedge Why you should buy it: SM8 offers the longest hosel, tungsten weight on toe; 2 groove shapes Insider’s insight: You’ll gain so much on those delicate shots

COBRA MIM  $150 Why you’ll love it: Blend of metals, less polishing Why you should buy it: Instead of forging, this cast club reduces machine treatment for soft feel Insider’s insight: More loft-sole options for 2020

TAYLORMADE MILLED GRIND 2.0  $170 Why you’ll love it: Raw finish for sharper grooves Why you should buy it: Based on Tiger’s wedge specs, the grooves and face produce a grabby club Insider’s insight: A high-tech design for advanced wedge players


CLEVELAND SMART SOLE 4  $120 Why you’ll love it: Unique wide sole for forgiveness Why you should buy it: Designed to eliminate mis-hits, making sand escapes easy and predictable Insider’s insight: A little practice eliminates short-game jitters




TAYLORMADE SPIDER S  $350 Why you’ll love it: New style to the most popular line on PGA TOUR Why you should buy it: Extreme rear-weight for max stability; no twisting of face through stroke Insider’s insight: Easy for straightback-straight-through stroke

TITLEIST PRO V1  $52 Why you’ll love it: Penetrating flight, great feel and spin Why you should buy it: Better ball for the windy plains of Colorado and doesn’t scuff as much Insider’s insight: Pro V1x flies higher but needs higher swing speed

CLEVELAND FRONTLINE  $200 Why you’ll love it: A blade that helps on mis-hits Why you should buy it: CG is closer to front of blade to improve accuracy Insider’s insight: Quality at a much lower price

BETTINARDI INOVAI 6.0  $400 Why you’ll love it: High-tech mallet with blade feel Why you should buy it: Multi-material head faced with 303 stainless in aluminum body Insider’s insight: Toned blue to help with alignment

CARBON BANDIT  $420 Why you’ll love it: Solid, unique feel at impact Why you should buy it: Brass in heel pushes CG to the middle for stability Insider’s insight: You won’t find the toe closing fast

BRIDGESTONE e12 $30 Why you’ll love it: Outstanding performance for the value Why you should buy it: Surlyn cover and acceleration mantle next to core for high-speed exit off tee Insider’s insight: Soft core brings soft feel on shorter shots

VICE PRO PLUS  $35 Why you’ll love it: 4-piece construction and urethane cover Why you should buy it: Similar spin, distance and feel to Pro V1 Insider’s insight: Price starts at $35 per but drops with more ordered

CALLAWAY ERC SOFT  $40 Why you’ll love it: Hybrid cover for overall bang and spin Why you should buy it: You’ll notice the high spin on approach shots to green Insider’s insight: You’ll get more aggressive with short irons ODYSSEY TOULON DESIGN  $450 Why you’ll love it: Traditional blade style in 303 carbon Why you should buy it: Soft feel with diamond-pattern milled into face = more sensation for you Insider’s insight: Confidence to stroke it on slippery downhillers

ODYSSEY TRIPLE TRACK MALLET $260 Why you’ll love it: Famous 2-Ball model with unique marks Why you should buy it: Classic resists face twisting, and Triple Track alignment is easy to square Insider’s insight: Paired with ERC Soft ball = more putts on line coloradoavidgolfer.com COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | April 2020

TAYLORMADE TP5 PIX  $45 Why you’ll love it: New alignment marks and inner cover Why you should buy it: The firmer underlying cover helps increase spin on wedge shots Insider’s insight: Highperformance for high swing speeds

MIZUNO RB566  $23 Why you’ll love it: Iconic company brings out “global” ball Why you should buy it: Threepiece construction whose C-dimple design creates fast air flow Insider’s insight: Boring trajectory that won’t descend quickly

SNELL MTB X  $32 Why you’ll love it: Online purchase brings great prices Why you should buy it: Firmer cover, firmer core than Black model = distance but still great feel Insider’s insight: Good spin but value comes in order of 2+ boxes

33 33

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Colorado Section

Player’s Corner PLAY AWAY

Wine and Wazzu Tasting notes from a golf trip to Eastern Washington By Jeff Wallach



HOW ABOUT A round of vintage golf—as on a course surrounded by more than 100 wineries producing some of the top vintages in the U.S.? I could well be talking about Napa or Sonoma or the pinot noir hotbed of Oregon’s Willamette Valley—all of which have fine terroir for grapes and golf. Instead, I’m referring to Walla Walla, Wash., the ascendant home of world-class Cabernet Francs, Merlots, Syrahs—and the Wine Valley Golf Club. Just as Walla Walla’s wines appeal to the viticultural cognoscenti, so do the designs of Wine Valley course creator Dan Hixson attract connoisseurs of golf-course architecture. In any other era, Hixson would have achieved the star quality of a Pete Dye or Robert Trent Jones. But Hixson, a former PGA club professional, hung his golf-course design shingle during one of the most fallow periods in the history of U.S. golf-course development. His best designs (Wine Valley and Oregon’s Bandon Crossings and Silvies Valley Ranch) are worth sipping slowly and will likely get even better with age. Like well-crafted art of any kind (including winemaking), Hixson’s work is so full of subtleties and subtexts that you can’t possibly appreciate its depth in just one serving. “This golf course is marked by open spaces and movement created by wind and water over thousands and thousands of years,” Hixson told The Seattle Times. “Conditions change every day, or more often than that. You can’t just come out here and play it the same way over and over. You’ve got to think and adapt, and to me, that is what makes golf fun.” The back tees stretch 7,600 yards, but even with a sensible slope rating of 134 you’d only play

THE GRAPE NORTHWEST: At nearly 600 yards from the Cabernet flex tees, Wine Valley’s 10th (above) boasts canyon-walled bunkers and enough wind to spin yon turbines. Walla Walla Vintners conducts tastings of its award-winning vintages in its iconic red-roofed barn (inset) nestled within the vineyards of Cut Bank Estate.

from there after way too much Cab Franc. The trouble isn’t in its length—or even its width, as the fairways are promiscuously wide. Each hole develops like a whodunit as you get closer to the greens. It helps that the course isn’t home to a single tree—one fewer than another top Washington venue, Chambers Bay. You can reach nearly every green here via some grassed throughway without having to hit over or past anything troublesome. But you’ll do well to pay attention to land forms and use them to move shots toward the holes. The course elicits superlatives by the third hole. You know you’re in the hands of a tactical master when you pick the wrong route on this short par 5 and have to lay up because of wa-


ter and nearly impossible approach angles. Some routes are more generous than they visually appear at first, reinforcing the idea that Hixson has seamlessly worked nuances into the holes. I noticed after playing a difficult route to one green that a hidden fairway lay beyond the intimidating central fairway bunker, an area that had appeared out of play. Wine Valley’s bunkering boasts infinite variety, and the course’s rolling chipping areas allow cagey players to putt from unexpected distances and locations or hit creative, unexpected shots. The course demonstrates every one of the different ways golf is fun. The putting here also provides sublime and giddy pleasure—greens tend toward slow, coloradoavidgolfer.com


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June 22nd, 7:30 am $110/player, Scramble PENULTIMATE PIN: From a downhill tee shot, Wine Valley’s par-4 17th winds uphill to a tiered green guarded left and right with bunkers.

allowing fun-house bumps and slopes to remain fair and provide a real chance to make a triplebreaking 30-footer. The genius of the layout lies in each shot detail, and on the same day, different players will have entirely different experiences, or the same player might, on different days, have entirely different experiences with a change in wind, gusto or just where certain shots land. The par-4 seventh boasts the punchbowl green you dream of, while the distant bunkers on the long par-5 10th look like canyon walls and discourage exploration. A wee, tricky par 3 and two rugged par 4s follow. Hole 14—a demanding short par 3 over a ravine and freckled with bunkers—ratchets up the yippee factor another notch. Fifteen presents possibly the only narrow driving hole you’ll encounter all day, but it’s on a 460-yard par 5 with a bunker complex canted away from the slice trajectory. You may watch tumbleweeds blow past here, a reminder that this is rugged, lonely country. The beautiful par-4 17th climbs to a twotiered green, leading you to the big finish—a risk/ reward par five with a green framed by bunkers and a ragged, parlous waste area.

THE OFF-COURSE COURSE In Walla Walla, bed down at the Green Gables Inn, located beside the leafy campus of Whitman College. The home, built in 1909, features five main guestrooms—several with balconies—and two additional guest houses. Visitors enjoy use of the covered porch, grounds, period public rooms with fireplaces and original woodwork and a friendly cat named Barnabas. Depending on weather, you can partake of a breakfast in the dining room or on the porch that will fuel 18 walking holes. Walla Walla’s atmospheric, historic downtown is home to many wine tasting rooms, including Seven Hills, Cayuse and Canoe Ridge. Top restaurants—which would be top restaurants even if they were in Portland or Seattle—include Saffron, with Mediterranean on tap; Four Brasserie, serving simple, clean French fare in a modern room; and TMACS, where I enjoyed the best Bolognese I’ve ever plowed into. To make a day of wine tasting without having to decide who has to spit in a bucket so as to drive safely, consider hiring knowledgeable, well-connected oenophile Tom Olson, at Wine Country 2GO. Tom will take the wheel, set up ap-

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Play Away

A REACHABLE RISK: With bunkers angling towards the flag, Palouse Ridge’s 307-yard par-4 15th tempts the gambling golfer to drive the green rather than place a tee shot in the ample fairway to the right.

COUGAR COUNTRY Unless you’re an alum or booster of Washington State, CU or another PAC 12 school, the town of Pullman doesn’t warrant more than a 100-mile day trip from Walla Walla. But go you must—in order to play the Washington State University-owned Palouse Ridge Golf Club. The course represents the final masterpiece of regional architect John Harbottle III. Best known for his world-class Olympic Course at Gold Mountain in Bremerton, Wash., Harbottle (whose credits also include Shining Mountain Golf Course in Woodland Park, Colo.) passed away at age 53 in 2012. Featuring a bold, muscular style that stands in contrast to the subtleties you’d find at Wine Valley, Harbottle’s layout at Palouse Ridge is brawny and challenging, calling for big shots delivered at the right moments. WSU golf team members play from the 7,308-yard crimson tees, but you’ll need a note from the Dean for that. It stretches 6,723 yards from the blues and 6,172 from the grays, both distances that will still test your golf faculties. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | April 2020


The syllabus of holes stretches up, over and around the Palouse—high, rolling hills that appear like giant dunes covered by wheat and barley fields. The venue is managed by students and faculty at this renowned western ag school. The yardage guide includes environmental notes for each hole. Start with a blind tee shot aimed at a distant clock tower, and don’t miss right. Or left. The course expresses a mountain feel from the get-go, with steep slopes that may prove either friend or foe, depending on how you use them. The drama department must have started consulting on the course around the 530-yard fifth hole, which looks impossible given forced carries over waste areas and nests of bunkers along what would otherwise be the preferred route. Yet I was surprised to find myself putting for birdie nonetheless. If one mark of a great golf course is visual demands that turn out less daunting than they appear, Palouse Ridge aces it. Subsequent holes are pure and classic, including a rugged cape hole at number seven that asks just how hungry you are. The back nine begins with distant mountain views. Number 11 delivers a short par 3 with an Irish accent, where you can’t quite see the shallow green surface beyond the forced carry. The five par 3s are generally characterized by crossings of water or waste areas, although the forward tees offer grassier routes. The lovely 307-yard 15th features angled bunkers disappearing down a tilted fairway. Actual trees appear on the uphill finishing hole and beside the large, sectioned green, leaving you feeling that a fun and engaging course grew more so as it matured. In other words, like so much else produced in this region, age has only improved it.

The most recent of Jeff Wallach’s five books, Mr. Wizard ($17.95 at open-bks.com), comes out this month.



pointments—including some at wineries that may not even offer public tastings—and even walk you out into the vineyards just before the crush to taste ripe grapes as varied as Cab Franc, Merlot and Syrah. Among our favorites during Tom’s tour were Walla Walla Vintners (loved their 2016 Cab Franc); Rasa’s 2014 QED Convergence; and Adamant Cellars’ unusual 2008 Malin. And in case you didn’t know, prior to the cultivation of grapes, the area gained fame for another form of produce. Reaching weights greater than two pounds, the Walla Walla sweet onion is Washington’s Official State Vegetable. Summer showcases the jumbo delicacy at farmer’s markets, restaurants (usually roasted, sliced into salads or fried as onion rings), and in the gourmet mustards and dips sold in shops around town. On July 18, the Annual Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival takes over downtown.

Player’s Corner STYLE

Making the Rounds Eye-catching items from the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando By Suzanne S. Brown

CHEW ON THIS Studies have shown that chewing caffeine-enhanced gum can improve alertness and increase performance efficiency on attention-intensive tasks. Denver-based Apollo Brands is applying that knowledge to the sports world with Golf Gum, which features a liquid core that releases natural caffeine from green coffee beans and B vitamins in a flavorful burst when first chewed. The sugar-free product also contains xylitol, a sweetener that promotes dental health. Scott Schaible, Apollo’s chief marketing officer, says the fact that top players like Tiger Woods are known to chew gum while competing in PGA tournaments has sparked amateurs to try a piece or two. Golf Gum comes in five-piece packs that retail for $5. Also look for the gum in the company’s innovative Space Station delivery system, a cashless dispenser that you’ll find at golf retailers like Lenny’s Golf Shop, pro shops and clubhouses. golfersgum.com

SHOE IN You won’t confuse the adidas CodeChaos BOA shoe with your dad’s golf oxfords or wingtips. With its aerodynamic lines, innovative lacing system, high-top collar and bold black-and-green color combination, these are shoes for guys who want to look distinctive as they stand up to whatever elements the course might throw at them. The shoes are waterproof, plus the knit upper wraps the foot and keeps out wind, water and sand. A new tread design, Twistgrip, offers traction, while the BOA lacing offers an easy micro-adjustable fit with the turn of a dial, $180. adidas.com

SPECS APPEAL You’ve got to hand it to a company that has as much fun as Goodr, which makes sunglasses that offer eye protection, function and style—at a reasonable price to boot. Their credo is that if the word bogey were changed to flamingo, we’d all enjoy our rounds a little more, especially when wearing their golfspecific specs available in 18 colorways and three different styles. Shown is the Tiger Blood Transfusion (suggestive of a certain player known for sporting red on Sundays) style with polarized lenses, a grip coating so the nose piece won’t slip, and snug, lightweight temples for a good fit, $25. goodr.com

RALPH, RECYCLED Sustainability is a major buzzword in the fashion industry, and Ralph Lauren has embraced it with its company-wide strategy, Design the Change. For spring, three of its golf polo shirt fabrics for men and women are made of recycled polyester, while also featuring the function and quality for which the label is known. About seven post-consumer-use recycled plastic bottles go into making each golf polo, which come in three of the brand’s signature fabrics: Lightweight Airflow, Featherweight Airflow and Airtech Pique. The company aims to use 100-percent recycled polyester by 2025. Shirts start at $89.50. ralphlauren.com




Style PUTTING ON THE DOGS Top touring pros like Matt Kuchar wear Skechers golf shoes, but so do a lot of golfers who just want to have fun on the course. This spring, Skechers Go Golf has come out with Drive 4–Dogs at Play, a shoe with a whimsical canine graphic, a smooth water-repellent leather upper and a spikeless traction bottom. Inside is the company’s Ultra Go lightweight, responsive cushioning. The style comes in white or light gray and a portion of each sale of the $85 item is donated to the Petco Foundation. skechers.com

PREP RALLY Tory Burch continues to expand on the Tory Sport division of her fashion business, offering looks with appeal both on and off the course. The designer loves Seventies-inspired color combinations like green and navy blue, retro golf motifs and a clever bird or two on a sweater. Chevrons, a recurring theme in her tennis and running collections, also make a graphic statement on her golf polos for spring. Burch’s affinity for prints reveals itself in florals for skorts; a ring pattern for pants and accessories; and a T-print on reversible jacquard bucket hats, belt bags and totes. The collection is priced from $48 to $398. toryburch.com

TO A TEE The graphic T-shirt has been popular for some time and shows no sign of losing favor with folks who want to wear their feelings on their sleeves—or shirt fronts. Bird & Vine, a California-based fashion label that uses modal (a super-soft fiber made from beechwood trees) in the shirts that it makes in the U.S., appeals to fans of the game with its women’s designs emblazoned with, simply: “golf.” And on the back: “eat, sleep, golf, repeat.” Sized from XS to XL, the longsleeved shirts come in red, white or black, $75. birdandvineusa.com

SOUND PRACTICE If you’re one of those people who like to play music during your round, a new product will help you justify the practice to other golfers in your group. Bushnell Outdoor Products has introduced the Wingman GPS Speaker, which uses GPS and Bluetooth technologies to give players audible front, center and back distances as they play, while also offering music through a mobile app on their phones. The Wingman has a magnetic mount to secure it to a cart and a battery life of about 10 hours, $150. bushnellgolf.com

SHADES OF GRAY … AND MELON Whatever a woman’s favorite color is, she’s bound to find it this season in golf wear that offers equal parts performance and panache. Take the looks from GG Blue Luxe Sport, designed by company owner Patti Varrelmann (who named the brand after her daughter Georgia Grace). For spring, the Divine group features dresses and separate pieces that combine metallic gray, white and melon. The items are made of the company’s GG Tech fabric—a polyester-and-spandex blend that is moisture-wicking, antimicrobial and offers 50+ SPF. The full lineup, sized from XS to XXXL, is priced between $75 and $125. ggblue.com CAG Style Editor Suzanne S. Brown is a former editor for The Denver Post and contributor to Colorado Expression. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | April 2020




Chalking Up the ’Cue Follow your nose to the best BBQ on the Front Range.  By John Lehndorff


AJ’S PIT BAR-B-Q Inside a mountain cabin-like industrial space in South Denver, Jared Leonard presides over a quintessential Texas-style barbecue fueled by 100 percent post oak. The folks at the counter reach behind them directly into the smoker to retrieve juicy pork ribs, sliced and chopped brisket and luscious pulled chicken and pulled pork. My favorites are the spice-rubbed tri-tip steak and the candy-like burnt beef ends. Big jars of house bread-and-butter pickle slices sit on the communal picnic tables and, instead of the paper towels, AJ’s provides diners with colorful cowboy cloth bandanas for wiping away the last lip-smack of sauce. On the side: Don’t miss the truffled mac-n-cheese with sharp cheddar, the deviled egg potato salad and the wonderful, dessert-like “custard-filled” cornbread with corn kernels. 2180 S. Delaware St., Denver pitbarbq.com; 720-815-5571


ONCE UPON A TIME, wannabe pros played tours of small golf tournaments known as the “barbecue circuit.” These days in Colorado, the barbecue circuit is a battery of artisan smokehouses competing for fans who crave that unique melding of smoke, salt, fat, spice and fire. Colorado pitmasters focus on quality and not necessarily on whether they ’cue authentically Carolina-, Kansas City- or Texas-style. All that matters is flavor. There are some things—call them rules of ’cue– that separate true smokehouses from chain eateries dishing some barbecue dishes. These pitmasters smoke their own meats (using different woods) and sell them by the pound or the slab. They craft their own sauces, side dishes and pickles, and they famously have lines at the front door when they open (traditionally at 11 a.m.) because they often run out of meat and close early. Expect true ’cue destinations to be quirky, opinionated and pricey. Some won’t serve dessert or bread because they aren’t considered “authentic.” One cranky pitmaster told me he initially resisted offering any barbecue sauce because he thought it insulted the meat. So, follow the rules and your nose to the top barbecue joints along the Front Range.

MEAT YOU THERE: AJ’s Pit BBQ Texas-sized assortment (above) includes tri-tip, pork ribs, brisket, pulled chicken and truffled mac-n-cheese; Smok’s Burnt Ends taste best tucked into a warm brioche with housemade pickles.

SMOK Kansas City meets Austin (by way of Mexico City) at this well-done barbecue stop located off the lobby of the Source, one of Denver’s hippest new hotels, in RiNo. Chef William Espiricueta applies fine-dining savvy to brisket,

EDITOR’S NOTE: In light of the current statewide ban on dine-in service at bars and restaurants, please contact these establishments regarding hours and delivery and takeout options. coloradoavidgolfer.com




ROAMING BUFFALO BAR-B-QUE An emerging “Colorado-style” barbecue can be found at Coy and Rachael Webb’s Denver smokehouse. They dish fine examples of pecan- and oak-smoked chopped brisket, pork ribs and turkey breast, but foodies come to sample some amazing rarities: Colorado-sourced smoked pulled lamb, the big and tender bison back ribs and especially the exquisite lamb shank. On the side: Use the housefried sea salt potato chips to scoop up bites of smoked poblano cheddar mac and “redeye” cowboy beans made with dark-roasted coffee. I’m also a devotee of Roaming Buffalo’s grits with Andouille sausage. 2387 S. Downing St., Denver roamingbuffalobbq.com; 303-722-2226

OWLBEAR BARBECUE Make a beeline for this urban oasis of world-class smoked goodness hidden between a tattoo parlor NICE SHANK: Colorado and Our Mutual Friend Brewery. Lamb at Roaming Buffalo Trained at the Vatican of smokehouses—Franklin’s BBQ in Austin, Tex.—Owlbear owner Karl Fallenius pork belly and ribs. Smok never runs out of burnt is a meat purist who only serves the best, reends—the slightly charred, chewier end pieces gardless of price, slow-smoked over mild oak and that get exposed to more smoke. I enjoyed them barrel staves sourced from wineries and distillsimply on a soft brioche with house pickles and eries. Neither of Owlbear’s two sauces is neca beer. Change-of-pace goodies include creamy essary for his artfully seasoned, spoon-tender deviled eggs, crunchy Nashville hot chicharrones, fatty beef brisket and sexy pork belly that melts smoked brisket and pulled pork corn tacos. The in the mouth like Chinese char siu. The biggest best vegetarian sandwich in town is the smoked eye-openers are the oversized pastrami-style portabello mushroom sandwich topped with a beef ribs crusted with spice rub. Seating is limbeer-battered onion ring, melted provolone and ited, but if you order a beer at the brewery, you spicy barbecue sauce. can eat at its picnic tables. On the side: The street food-inspired creamed On the side: Topped with Parmesan cheese corn is elote in a cup: smoked corn and chilies with crunch, the mac-n-cheese is the best I sampled. queso fresco and lime. Don’t miss Smok’s corn The Asian-style cucumber salad coolly counterbread and strawberry-rhubarb hand pies. points the rich, fatty meats. 3330 Brighton Boulevard, Denver 2826 Larimer St., Denver denversmok.com; 720-452-2487 owlbearbbq.com; 720-667-1181

JABO’S BAR-BE-Q The granddaddy on this barbecue honor roll has earned its spot by consistently dishing quality Louisiana-style brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken and hot links for more than 18 years in a Greenwood Village strip mall. The star of these hickory-smoked attractions are fall-off-the-bone pork spare rib slabs. I also like the Chicago-style rib tips over fries with sauce and the half-pound Carolina—pulled pork and coleslaw on a challah bun. If you love barbecue sauce, Jabo’s offers diners a tiny sampler of all their sauces before the meal. Go for the Smoky Vinegar and Hickory Mustard Habanero sauces. On the side: Every dinner comes with a nice, doughy Sconut, similar to a New Orleans beignet, topped with powdered sugar and a drizzle of sweet glaze. Molasses fans will love the dark, meaty barbecue beans. 9682 E. Arapahoe Rd, Greenwood Village jabosbarbeq.com; 303-799-4432 SWITCHBACK SMOKEHOUSE You can smell the fruit wood smoke before you see the smokehouse after a long and winding road trip to the foothills town of Kittredge. It’s worth the drive to find yourself sipping a cocktail by Bear Creek and digging into cured, smoked duck breast, chewy Montreal-style brisket and mahoganyglazed salmon. The sweet-tangy root beer sauce is a perfect pairing with pulled pork and thick-sliced peppered bacon by the slice. On the side: Don’t miss the tart batter-fried giardinera (pickled vegetables), thick waffle fries and baked beans thick with brisket. 26220 Highway 74, Kittredge 303-200-0878 WAYNE’S SMOKE SHACK In Wayne’s barbecue world, grown men and women stand in line and talk in hushed tones about whether they’ll get the smoked brisket, fall apart pork shoulder, Wagyu beef sausage links or spice-crusted juicy turkey breast … or a pound of each. I understand because I’ve developed a thing for Wayne’s Texas-style smoked candied pork belly. This north suburban shopping center often closes early to ensure the meat is always fresh PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF RESTAURANTS (TOP, RIGHT); BY KIM LONG (LEFT)

EYE ’CUE: Jabo’s rib-sticking Louisiana Bar-Be-Q (above) pairs with its barbecue beans and sinful sconuts; Switchback Smokehouse’s cured smoked duck breast (right) highlights a memorable mountain-town menu.








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from the smoker. Also recommended: the smoked catfish and scratch-baked Texas kolache pastries filled with fatty brisket and cheddar. On the side: The sides that sing to me are Wayne’s green chile mac-n-cheese, Southern green beans with pork belly and deep-dish peach cobbler. 406 Center Dr., Superior waynessmokeshack.com; 303-554-5319 John Lehndorff had to swim 100-plus extra laps at the pool to counteract his deep barbecue research. He is the former Dining Critic of the Rocky Mountain News and hosts Radio Nibbles on KGNU (kgnu.org)

More Front Range Smokin’ Treats SMOKED TOFU: Texas white oak-smoked firm tofu, with minced onions, sport peppers and pickles. LuLu’s BBQ, Louisville, lulus-bbq.com CHICKEN WASABI: Oklahoma-style, oak-smoked bonein chicken with Wasabi-Q sauce. Bird Dog BBQ, Colorado Springs, birddogbbq.com PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF RESTAURANT

THE “BOB”: Smoked bacon-wrapped, jalapeño-stuffed chicken breast chunks. Yazoo Barbecue, Denver, yazoobbq.com

WAYNE’S WORLD: Pounds of assorted deliciousness await at Wayne’s Smoke Shack, where St. Louis pork rib, smoked brisket, spice-crusted juicy turkey breast and mountains of sides carry the day.

SMOKED CHICKEN WINGS: Hickory-smoked and then crisply fried, these are the most addictively tasty wings in town—even without sauce. Boney’s BBQ, Denver, boneysbbq.com

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Side Bets

Subaru Outback XT Touring


Comparing the Crossovers How do some of the latest SUVs stack up?  By Isaac Bouchard AMERICANS AND PEOPLE across the globe are swapping cars for trucks, SUVs and other “utility” vehicles. Let’s see how some of the fresh-faced newcomers—collectively known as crossovers—compare to establishment stars like the Subaru Outback, which has seen its sales more than double over the past decade.

2020 SUBARU OUTBACK XT TOURING EPA Ratings: 23/30/26mpg 0-60mph: 6.1sec Price as tested: $41,851

Cadillac XT6 Luxury

The latest version of one of the vehicles that started the revolution switches back to turbo and ups the luxury quotient. Outside, the Outback looks much like its well-received predecessor, with the biggest giveaway being stacked, ice cube foglights. Inside, the cockpit is much bolder, with sweeping forms finished in contrasting, soft-touch materials. Touring models have buttery, brown leather and most everything standard, including an 11.6-inch, vertically-oriented touch screen whose big buttons make navigating menus easy. A stretch in wheelbase of 1.4 inches all translates to a bigger back seat and cavernous cargo room. This sixth-gen Outback takes refinement to a new level, with a long-legged stride that smothers the worst our roads can throw at it. And while steering accuracy and overall handling are fine, the Subaru most certainly emphasizes luxurious travel over sporty overtures. The 260hp, 2.4-liter engine plays well with the CVT-type transmission to offer copious thrust, which is unaffected by altitude. Though its delivery isn’t as linear nor sonorous as the outgoing flat-six’s, it gets 3 mpg more in all tests and knocks almost a second off the 0-60mph sprint, which now takes only 6.1 seconds. Subaru sure seems to have Americans zeroed, with over eight straight years of sales gains on the books. In all the best ways the Outback XT is the modern embodiment of the kind of classic wagons like the Country Squire and Vista Cruiser that previous generations prized for family duty, combined COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | April 2020


with the all-season, go-anywhere confidence of an SUV. No wonder it is the best-selling midsize crossover extant.

2020 CADILLAC XT6 LUXURY EPA Ratings: 17/24/20mpg 0-60mph: 6.4sec Price as tested: $71,585

Cadillac’s success with the Escalade has allowed it to take its sweet time getting a seven-passenger crossover to market. Now that the XT6 is here, though, one has to wonder if competition like the new Lincoln Aviator has made it redundant. coloradoavidgolfer.com

The Cadillac looks terrific, with modern and clean lines, slit-like lighting signatures front and rear and a great stance. Climb aboard and at first all appears right with the world, too: the architecture is clean and simple and details like the Bose Performance Series’ metal speaker grills, gold thread carbon fiber-look trim and microsuede headliner are impressive. But there’s room for improvement inside the XT6; many adjacent plastics don’t match in texture or color and some of the materials are subpar for the price. The roominess of the rear two rows comes at the cost of front seats that are too small and lack sufficient adjustments—a legacy of the C1 platform shared with the Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia. At least the CUE infotainment system is now world-class and lets you interface with it through multiple modalities. The XT6 handles well, rides decently on its adjustable dampers and the helm is responsive. But it never makes the driver want to push. It always starts in front-drive mode after being shut off, resulting in tires loudly scrambling for traction if you stomp the gas pedal from a dead stop. While the 3.6-liter, 310hp direct injection V6 is fairly refined, it doesn’t have the thrust of turbocharged competitors like the Aviator. It seems as if all Cadillac’s focus on the forthcoming allnew Escalade has come at the expense of its more modest offerings.

GMC Acadia XT4

2020 GMC ACADIA XT4 EPA Ratings: 18/25/21mpg 0-60mph: 6.2sec Price as tested: $45,680

Updated for 2020, the XT4—built on the same platform as the Cadillac—shares many of its vices and its virtues. It looks good, especially the off-road-oriented model. The Acadia interior is roomy and wellthought-out for family duties. But it shows the GMC’s penchant for making quality plastics look cheap. Its drivetrain is pretty much the same as in the Caddy, too, which is fine for the price. Allied with a smooth ride, competent handling, firm brakes and steering, the Acadia is a solid performer. But it costs at least as much as competitors like the Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai Palisade, which offer every conceivable safety system, cosseting options like ventilated seats and other unique virtues the GMC lacks.

Hyundai Palisade Limited

2020 HYUNDAI PALISADE LIMITED EPA Ratings: 19/24/21mpg 0-60mph: 7.1sec Price as tested: $47,605

The Palisade threads a tight needle: Twinned with the multiple-award-winning Kia Telluride, it also has to leave room for the Hyundai’s upcoming upmarket Genesis crossovers. Its exterior is more daring than the handsome, if conservative, Kia’s, and its interior has a very modern vibe, with textured metallic trim prominently used in lieu of timber. The material quality is generally a notch above that of competitors like the Ford Explorer, though the nicest hides are only available on the Limited trim. Yet even at this level, there is incredible value, with a range of standard equipment that makes most everyone else look stingy. From the twin infotainment screens and blind-spot camera repeaters that provide that Germanic sense of technological superiority to the heated and ven-

tilated first and second rows, the Palisade is a lovely place to while away the miles. Its ride cossets superbly and suppresses noise in the front, though those in the way back are as tightly packaged as in most seven- or eight-passenger crossovers of these dimensions. The Hyundai is not even remotely sporty. Pitch it into a corner and the soft suspension evinces itself with body roll and tire howl. But give it an interstate and it will munch miles as well as most luxury vehicles. The steering has a keen sense of the straight ahead, though the laneassist system tends to intrude too much. The Palisade powertrain, shared with the Telluride, is no more than adequate at our elevation. Outputs of 291hp/262lb-ft show it to be a bit torque-lite. Still, the 3.8-liter V6 makes many competitors’ turbocharged fours feel unrefined, and its 8-speed automatic thrusts it ahead. That sums up the Hyundai: one of the most polished vehicles in its segment and one brimming with equipment to soothe away the travails of travel.

CROSSOVER VS. SUV: WHAT’S THE DIFF? These days, the terms “crossover” and “SUV” have become interchangeable. They’re more marketing terms—“SUV” suggests a rugged off-roading capacity that “crossover” doesn’t—than descriptors of the design or construction of the vehicle. This hasn’t always been the case. A traditional utility vehicle (sport or not) was built using methods applied to many pickup trucks: a separate frame supporting a body, with a solid rear axle and part-time four-wheel-drive. The Toyota 4Runner, which the company calls “a full-size SUV” continues to be built this way. So, too, the Chevy Tahoe. And Ford is bringing back the Bronco, “a true body-on-frame SUV.” Most “crossovers” share an underlying structure with that of the company’s other cars in order to save costs. They typically lack the tow capacity of a true utility vehicle, but compensate with better ride quality and fuel economy. For example, Toyota’s popular Highlander crossover shares a platform with the Avalon, Camry and RAV4. These days, however, hardcore off-road companies like Jeep and Land Rover are scrapping the traditional body-on-frame approach for their SUVs in favor of a monocoque/unibody construction style and independent suspensions. So, ultimately, whether you’re driving a wee Mazda CX-30, midsized Toyota Highlander or a big ol’ BMW X7, you can classify it as you like—just like the car companies do.

Automotive Editor Isaac Bouchard owns Denver-based Bespoke Autos (isaac@bespokeautos.com; 303-475-1462). Read more of his automotive writing, reviews and recommendations on coloradoavidgolfer.com and bespokeautos.com. coloradoavidgolfer.com






Lacing ’em


A refreshed, reinvigorated SHANE BERTSCH, channeling Ben Hogan, is primed for the PGA TOUR Champions.

By ANDY BIGFORD Photographs by EHREN JOSEPH coloradoavidgolfer.com




mid-February day in Englewood, with Colorado golf courses in the midst of a lengthy, snowcovered, three-week-plus shutdown. Inside the comfy offices of Muscle Activation Techniques, with a wedge in hand and ping-pong balls at his feet, Shane Bertsch has almost everything he needs to stay primed for his PGA TOUR Champions debut in May: a mat, a mirror, a net, a simulator, an array of clubs and, perhaps most importantly, a dog-eared copy of Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons within arm’s reach. He’s crisply clipping the ping-pong balls over a table, occasionally checking his setup in the mirror, and explaining how a variation of a few centimeters can make all the difference. If you are looking for someone to get behind on the Champions Tour this season, a feel-good story grounded in Hoganesque determination and grit, Colorado native and Parker resident Bertsch is your guy. In a 25-year career that defines the term “journeyman,” Bertsch bounced between the PGA and developmental tours for some 500 events, recording five top 10s on the main tour along the way. His career is perhaps best defined by this stat: He won on what’s now known as the Korn Ferry Tour in 2000, when it was sponsored by Buy.com; in 2005, when it was the Nationwide Tour (holding off Bubba Watson and Charley Hoffman down the stretch); and in 2015, when he bested Patton Kizzire and Si Woo Kim in a Web.com event. Bertsch also won the 1994 Southwest Kansas ProAm and the 1998 Colorado Open. More than anything, his career has been marred by injury and misfortune— IRON WILL: Bertsch lives not far from Colorado Golf Club (right and previous page), allowing him to work on his game whenever he likes.




nothing anywhere near as severe as Hogan’s near-fatal collision with a bus, but arguably just as debilitating to a career trajectory. That includes a still-mysterious bout with vertigo in 2006, a miscommunication with the PGA TOUR that abruptly left him without status in 2009, and a series of odd broken bones and torn muscles that sidelined him just as he was gaining momentum. Finally healthy after all these years, he is poised for redemption on the second-chance Champions Tour, the ultimate mulligan for the over-50 set. In early December, just across the street from the famed TPC Scottsdale Stadium course that annually hosts the raucous Waste Management Phoenix Open, Bertsch teed it up on the also-challenging TPC Champions course in a 78-man field, vying for one of just five exempt spots. Fourteen years earlier, he had been forced to withdraw from the Phoenix Open and enter the nearby Mayo Clinic with dizziness so bad that he couldn’t see his ball to line up a putt. After multiple MRIs and CAT scans, puzzled doctors couldn’t find the cause, and he finally overcame the illness by taking anti-anxiety drugs for about a year. At the Champions Q-school qualifier, Bertsch started slowly with a one-under 70, but then the putts started to drop, including five birdies in a row in the third round. He closed with an emphatic 67-65-65 (267, -17), pocketing the $30,000 medalist’s check and the coveted PGA TOUR Champions card for 2020. He held off a final-round 62 by hard-charging Thongchai Jadee, who has 20 worldwide wins and is the all-time Asian Tour money winner, and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, an 11-time winner on the European Tour. The players who didn’t earn cards included former PGA TOUR winners like Carlos Franco, Paul Stankowski and Robert Gamez, as well as major champions Shaun Micheel, Todd Hamilton and Michael Campbell.

RAISING SHANE Bertsch grew up on Floyd Hill. His father ran the Whippletree Bar in Bergen Park, and his mom worked for United Airlines. He played multiple sports as a youth; Bertsch was a promising young ski racer at Loveland, and even something of a junior tennis prodigy, until he got whipsawed by Andre Agassi in an Intermountain tournament at age 13—and opted to try golf instead. He landed a bag boy job at Evergreen Golf Course, played every day, and soon became a low single digit. On the Evergreen High School golf team, he had the good fortune of chasing coloradoavidgolfer.com

Brett Dean, who would become a two-time All-American at Arizona State University. Working bag jobs at Hiwan and then Bear Creek, Bertsch set his sights on becoming a touring professional. Rounds at Overland Park with the late, legendary Bill Bisdorf and his wife, Norma, made quite an impression. Known as “Mr. Popeye” for his incredible forearm strength, the former PGA TOUR player and three-time Colorado Open champion could still drive the ball 300 yards in his 70s. Bertsch didn’t have that kind of length. But what the late bloomer lacked in ballstriking, he more than made up for with a world-class short game and putting stroke. That promising but incomplete skill set fortuitously landed on the doorstep of Jesse Blackwelder, a renowned teacher, 60year devotee to Ben Hogan’s fundamentals and, at the time, the head coach at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, N.M. Blackwelder would spend hours indoors each day with his student-athletes, working on the fundamentals of grip, stance and posture— and regularly reading long passages from Five Lessons to his antsy charges. Bertsch ate it up, but he would also flee to the outdoors to play as many twilight holes as he could when the study sessions ended. The fundamentals took root, and this was the beginning of a now 32-year coach-athlete relationship that is perhaps more critical today than ever before. From the first day, “I saw that he wanted to learn, and that’s how you get here (to the Tour),” recounts Blackwelder. He now runs his busy shop out of Lubbock, has shepherded five other players to the PGA TOUR and has legions of standout Texas amateurs who swear by his rigorous methods and his genuine interest in them as people. Coach and student still work on the Hogan fundamentals, and in a late-February check-up trip to Lubbock, the two spent eight hours in painstaking, slow-motion body movement drills indoors over two and a half days (while also squeezing in a round at the Texas A&M course). Bertsch took maybe 30 full swings the entire time and was exhausted, but the principles of takeaway, transition and follow-through were “ingrained.” “I’m not through with him yet,” laughs Blackwelder, who is now 79 but walked most of the 72 holes (along with his wife Carol) in following Bertsch at Q-school. The coach can’t hide his enthusiasm for the opportunity ahead and his pride in his student. “He’s an unbelievable person. He’s like a son.” As for all the dozens of new-wave instruction methods that have cropped up


regularly since Blackwelder first started studying the Hogan book in 1959, neither man pays them much attention. “The fundamentals never change,” says the coach. Likewise, technological breakthroughs like Trackman are helpful, but can entice golfers to skip too many important steps. Blackwelder’s initial tutelage back in the late 1980s got Bertsch into Texas A&M, where he finished runner-up in the Southwest Conference finals to future British Open champion Justin Leonard. But his all-world short game could only get him so far.

Bertsch turned 50 on March 30. With multiple Champions Tour events either canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, his debut could come at May’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. GRIT DON’T QUIT Steve Beach, the longtime golf instruction director at Glenmoor Country Club who had Brandt Jobe and Wyndham Clark as early pupils, welcomed Bertsch to use the club as a home base in the late 1990s. He could see all the traits that identified Bertsch as a member of the “uncommon breed” of Tour players. “He treats it like a full-time job, eight hours a day, five days a week,” Beach says. “He’s always one to have a positive attitude, to let go of the past. He never gives up.” Which is a good thing, because in those journeyman years, the setbacks stand out more than anything. After he recovered from the mysterious bout of vertigo, he received a medical exemption to play in 2008. He started strong, and by early fall a PGA TOUR official informed him that he’d already earned enough money to qualify for full status in 2009. So he took off the end of the season, traveling with his wife, Monica, and their two daughters to North Dakota to bury the ashes of his father. Upon returning, he learned that he in fact hadn’t locked down a spot, and then watched hopelessly on TV as Colorado State grad Martin Laird poured in a 10-foot putt on Continued on page 79 April 2020 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER

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Are You EXPERIENCED? INCREASINGLY, Colorado’s private clubs more closely

resemble four-star resorts. Beyond the clubhouse, golf course, pool, tennis courts and restaurants, many clubs now provide facilities for fitness and yoga, spa treatments, concierge services, family-friendly dining and amenities, childcare and every imaginable form of programming—from outdoor movie nights to concerts to wine tastings, cooking classes, private chef dinners and more. As clubs emphasize delivering these “experiences,” accommodating them within existing spaces has resulted in multimillion-dollar transformations at no fewer than a dozen facilities over the past 10 years. And members at least three more institutions—Greeley Country Club, The Country Club at Castle Pines and even the venerable Cherry Hills Country Club—have green-lighted major upgrades. With the steady influx of newcomers to the Front Range, the interclub competition for new members is fierce. But that hasn’t translated into price wars over initiations or dues. To the contrary, providing experiences doesn’t come cheaply.

The Country Club at Castle Pines coloradoavidgolfer.com



Award Winning. Again. 2019

Exclusive pricing for AvidGolfer readers.

Visit our showroom to learn more.

F inanci ng Avai l abl e

www.cologolfandturf.net • 303-761-3332 • 11757 S. Wadsworth Blvd. • Littleton, CO 80125


ANNZO PHELPS 303.570.3429 Annzo@Kentwood.com

PHELPS BLAIR 720.837.9054 PBlair@Kentwood.com

The last remaining lots in Castle Pines Village are now for sale. Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to design your future with Denver’s finest custom home builders. Castle Pines Village is Colorado’s premier gated, master planned community, offering an array of world-class amenities, stunning views and magical home settings.


All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) nor Kentwood Real Estate shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless.


Special Advertising Section

The Club at Cordillera

Presented by

AT A GLANCE ADDRESS: 655 Clubhouse Drive, Edwards WEBSITE: cordillera-vail.com INITIATION: $40,000 Standard Golf $70,000 Legacy Golf Membership ANNUAL DUES: $13,150 MEMBERSHIP CONTACT: Suzanne Kern 970-569-6418 skern@troon.com

» Members of The Club at Cordillera are Vail Valley proud. Like the pioneers who came before us, we have resiliently staked a claim to a downto-earth, mountain lifestyle built upon the foundation of personal connections, time spent outdoors, stewardship and culture. Members believe lives are best lived while enjoying the rewards of membership provided by The Club at Cordillera—a private slice of heaven that provides ample opportunity to relax, connect and savor Mother Nature’s majesty. It is a personal, four-season playground, and it feeds passion for an outdoor life invigorated by crisp mountain air, awe-inspiring scenery, aspen tree lines, fresh alpine snow and summer blossoms.

DON’T MISS: The limited-time Legacy Golf Membership – including membership for the whole family, as well as grandchildren up to age 25, all under one set of annual dues.

» Our spirit is grounded in the variety of our communities—each uniquely situated at its own elevation and positioned to provide the ultimate member and mountain living experience. The Club at Cordillera Membership includes all four of our wonderful golf courses: the Valley Course, a Tom Fazio design; the Mountain Course, a Hale Irwin design; the Short Course, a Dave Pelz design; and the Summit Course, a signature Jack Nicklaus design. » Along with 63 holes of golf, members enjoy the Clubhouses and dining at each location. Social events include three private, membersonly swimming pools, both indoor and outdoor,

two fitness facilities, pickleball, the Cordillera Fly-Fishing Club on private river waters, miles of hiking trails, biking group, weekly member wine mixers, live entertainment, mahjong, bridge, yoga and much more—including daily member refresher clinics with Troon Golf’s Director of Instruction Tim Mahoney. » During the winter, our Mountain Clubhouse becomes a Nordic Center, where we groom the entire course with our private snow CAT and provide snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, skate skiing, sleigh rides and sledding. » Regardless of where your front doors open in the Vail Valley, The Club at Cordillera is truly home-away-from-home, and we believe we have changed the way a private club is experienced. Golf Membership at Cordillera also allows reciprocal benefits at the other Troon courses, so that Members may use their Membership year-round all over the world. troon.com

Why Join The Club at Cordillera? The Club at Cordillera is the only private club in the Vail Valley to boast Troon management and a Player Development Program with a Top 50 Director of Instruction. Whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter, The Club at Cordillera is a yearround club with daily activities for everyone in the family, from our Kids Camp to backcountry CAT skiing. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | April 2020




IS ABOUT TO TRANSFORM. CLUBHOUSE EXPANSION - New upscale casual dining, chef’s table, wine room, bar and terraces with unrivaled views of Pikes Peak, Devils Head and the Front Range - Complete kitchen renovation and expansion NEW AMENITIES - Adult and family cliffside pool with cabanas, dining and drink service overlooking Pikes Peak - Warming hut including dining, bar and social space in addition to a club fitness center and deck - Tennis, pickleball and four heated paddle tennis courts - A year-round golf teaching center including simulators

www.ccatcastlepines.com Become a part of the $17 million dollar transformation. For more information, please contact Mark Lewicki:

303.660.6807 mlewicki@ccofcastlepines.com


Denver Outside, Paradise Inside


he moment you pass through the gates of the exceedingly private Cherry Creek Country Club, your entire family will be transported to an extraordinary paradise. From the expansive, full-service Spa and Fitness Wellness Center to the expertlyappointed meeting venues to the Jack and Jackie Nicklaus Signature 18Hole Championship Golf Course to the summer-long Kids Camp, there is truly something for everyone in this exclusive oasis right in your backyard.

DINING The award-winning culinary team uses its continuing education to create unforgettable gastronomic experiences of traditional club fare with a modern twist. Seasonal menus and ingredients are offered, along with everchanging featured chef specialty dishes and regular exclusive wine- and spiritpairing dinners. GOLF The 18-hole premier Jack and Jackie Nicklaus Signature golf course offers several thrilling risk-

reward holes and enjoyment for all ability levels. Progressive turf care management techniques are used to maintain and diversify the course landscape over time for course conditions that are second-to-none. EVENTS An experienced events team plans unforgettable special events—from incredible decorations and setup, to custom menus, entertainment and stunning settings. Create family traditions throughout the year, with

2405 South Yosemite Street Denver, CO 80231 303.597.0300 | cherrycreekcountryclub.com

appearances by ponies, pumpkins, reindeer, the Easter Bunny, fireworks, live bands, zoo animals and much more.

boasts all-new equipment in ultra-private treatment rooms, a relaxing meditation deck and expansive gift boutique.

SPA The full-service Spa offers a wide array of luxurious services for both ladies and gentlemen, including relaxing and rehabilitative massage, physical therapy, cupping, dry needling, facials and extraordinary, customized skincare lines. In addition to manicures and pedicures, makeup application, hair services, eyelash lifting and aromatherapy, the Spa

FITNESS Certified personal trainers and state-of-the-art equipment await you for unrivaled members-only private workouts to aid in attaining personal strength and wellness goals. Daily everchanging, cutting-edge classes taught by talented instructors span Pilates, Barre, Tai Chi, trampolines, boot camp and more.

To experience the reasons why Colorado AvidGolfer readers consistently vote Cherry Creek Country Club the Best Golf Course Community in the CAGGY Awards, please contact Kate Converse of Cherry Creek Country Club Realty with all Real Estate inquiries at 303.489.5505 or visit kateconverse.com

For membership inquiries, please contact Karen Hart at 303.908.8822 or karenhart@cherrycreekcountryclub.com

Special Advertising Section

CLUBBING UP Presented by

Frost Creek AT A GLANCE ADDRESS: 1094 Frost Creek Dr, Eagle WEBSITE: frostcreek.com NATIONAL MEMBERSHIP INITIATION: $30,000 NATIONAL ANNUAL DUES: $5,790 REAL ESTATE: 1-6 acre custom homesites plus new construction homes MEMBERSHIP AND REAL ESTATE CONTACT: Kakie Holland 970-455-3072 kholland@frostcreek.com

DON’T MISS: The opportunity to be part of a mountain club without having to own mountain real estate! Our 10 member cabins and 2 “glamping” yurts give our National Members the ability to be part of the community without home ownership. Be careful, though. You just might fall in love and stake your own claim to one of our custom homesites.

» Frost Creek is a luxury four-season mountain club located three miles up Brush Creek Road outside Eagle, Colorado. The club features a spectacular Tom Weiskopf-designed mountain golf course surrounding a 40,000-square-foot lodge-style clubhouse, 10 mountain-chic member cabins, two member yurts for glamour camping and available custom homesites ranging in size from 1-6+ acres, and, this year, Frost Creek is offering new-construction homes. Frost Creek provides private fly-fishing access on adjacent Brush Creek and in stocked ponds, and more than 25 mountain lifestyle activities including SUP boards, fat-tire bikes and a member Jeep for offroad excursions. It is like a four-season camp for members of all ages. » Founded in 2015, Frost Creek has grown to include more than 250 members. Membership is made up of a great mix of “local” and “national” (anyone who doesn’t own or rent a home in Eagle County) members. The club offers onsite “member cabins” for use when visiting the club. Many national members start in the cabins, fall in love with the property and quickly start looking at real estate. » Frost Creek’s membership is young and energetic and the club’s casual family atmosphere has become one of its core values. » One thing that all Frost Creek members have

in common is that they are participants in life, not spectators. Member events are lively and well attended and activities and club offerings are highly utilized. It’s not uncommon to see members at a yoga class in the morning, on the golf course an hour later, and then fly-fishing or paddleboarding in the evening. » Typically, excellent golf outings can be categorized by great courses or great experiences. Tom Weiskopf’s design at Frost Creek is both. The course is magnificent, the greens are immaculate, and the changing seasons make it a different round every time you’re out. Tucked away and secluded from any hustle and bustle, the course has two distinct feels. The front nine is ranch-style with big views and great vistas and the back nine meanders around Brush Creek, perfectly complementing the creek and wetlands. It’s a memorable round every time you play. » Throughout the day Frost Creek’s executive chef and team provide gourmet food and dining options from an ever-evolving Coloradoinspired menu.

What’s New in 2020? Nestled on 81 acres of land, surrounded by pristine, protected wilderness, awaits an extraordinary living experience. Hunter’s View—Frost Creek’s newest real estate offering—is a thoughtfully designed neighborhood of new construction homes, with direct access to the many year-round activities that both Frost Creek and the surrounding Vail Valley have to offer.




Mother Nature is one heck of a designer

Nestled in a quiet stretch of Brush Creek Valley, surrounded by pristine Colorado Wilderness, awaits a truly extraordinary golf experience. Frost Creek, envisioned by Tom Weiskopf and shaped by nature itself, is a combination of focused shotmaking, stunning vistas and pure tranquility Are you ready to explore?












Golf Memberships Social Memberships Open to the Public Homes for Sale or Rent Lots for Sale Stay & Play Packages 16 Guest Rooms Corporate & Couples Retreats Dining, Bar & Social Spaces Fishing, Hiking, Tennis & Fitness Located less than 2 Hours North of Denver & Avoid I70 700 County Road 67J, Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545




BestLife FamilyLife



WorkLife SocialLife

Drive Your Passions The ultimate ClubLife experience awaits you with membership options that include access to Black Bear Golf Club and Blackstone Country Club. Start your ClubLife experience today. 720.330.7087 | blackstone-club.com | blackbearclub.com

*Membership is contingent on successful completion of the Club›s enrollment process. Other restrictions and exclusions may apply. See Club for details. © ClubCorp USA, Inc. All rights reserved. 47374 0120 CA



rest easy

D I S C OV E R T H E B E N E F I T S O F M E M B E R S H I P Life is not meant to be rushed. It is something to savor. To sip. To enjoy. That’s why we built Garden of the Gods Resort and Club in a one-of-a-kind setting, surrounded by natural wonders. Because when you’re lucky enough to live in a place like this, you need to make sure it’s properly experienced in every sense. We invite you to claim your home away from home with a Garden of the Gods Club Membership. Choose from a variety of membership categories to fit your needs and patterns of usage. And enjoy world-class activities and amenities, our full social calendar of events and parties, luxury accommodations for you and your guests, and countless other exclusive benefits. Become part of our social community at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club and leave no sense unturned.



Mesa Road

Colorado Springs






Special Advertising Section

Perry Park Country Club

Presented by

AT A GLANCE ADDRESS: 7047 Perry Park Blvd, Larkspur WEBSITE: perryparkcc.com INITIATION: $4,500 Full Equity Golf Membership SOCIAL INITIATION: $200 FULL GOLF MONTHLY DUES: $460 family PROFESSIONAL GOLF MONTHLY DUES: $210 single family SOCIAL MONTHLY DUES: $50 Family MEMBERSHIP CONTACT: Andrew Bustamante 303-681-3305 x4 abustamante@perryparkcc.com

» A scenic 20-minute drive from Castle Rock or Monument puts you in another world. A world without traffic, noise or hassle. A place of serenity, timeless beauty and amazing golf. Picture winding green fairways set among spectacular red rock formations, ponderosa pines and many of Colorado’s wild fauna. Imagine the pleasure of a round of golf in this serene setting framed by the woodlands of Pike National Forest. This is Perry Park Country Club, where one round will convince you there’s been something missing from your game. » Fifty years ago, the noted Colorado golf architect Dick Phelps met the challenge of designing 18 holes among the natural wonders of the severe rock upheavals of millennia past. His flawless execution resulted in an exquisite 6,927-yard, par-72 course that continues to test low-handicap players and provides a gratifying round for the weekend golfer.

DON’T MISS: You can’t charge a $1,000 Initiation Fee and $210 in monthly dues at a private club…but we just did. Check out our new Professional Golf Membership while enjoying a Colorado AvidGolfer 2020 CAGGY AwardWinning Best Value Club. The value just got better. Enjoy the views from our new outdoor deck and complete renovation of the Manor House, established in 1891! Escape the crowds and enjoy the serene views, amazing wildlife and peace and quiet.


» With eight separate tee positions, the layout welcomes golfers of all skill levels, allowing each member to tailor the course to his or her greatest enjoyment. Though elevation changes abound, the course is eminently walkable. Both private carts and walking carts are allowed. The 6,927-yard tournament tees play to a slope of 132 with a rating of 72.9. Middle tees are 6,626

yards with a slope of 126 and a rating of 72.1 for men. The gold tees measure 5,434 yards, and we have added a forward tee at 4,816 yards for enjoyment of all skill levels including novice. » Perry Park’s new robotic mowers double-cut and roll each green every day for tournamentquality conditions. » Friendly members and a new-member introduction program will have you meeting new friends, playing golf and becoming involved in our social activities in no time at all. » We offer ladies’, men’s and couple’s leagues with a full complement of 18 club tournaments, as well as inter-club events. » The Manor House and Max’s, our facility across Lake Wauconda, host the club’s many social events, such as Prime Rib and other special dining nights, Jazz and Barbecue by the Lake, wine tastings and more. Celebrations take place on every major holiday, including fireworks on the 4th of July. Many members join in for bridge, craft classes, bowling, group outings and hosting their own private parties. » Children enjoy monthly Kid’s Movie Night and Kid’s Club.

Why Join Perry Park? It’s a unique chance to make your home course the club Colorado AvidGolfer’s 2020 CAGGY Awards chose as one of the best values and most underrated in Colorado. You’ll also experience all the benefits of an outstanding equity private club: including a laid-back atmosphere, mountain views close to home, a stunning golf course and many year-round social activities. Plus, it’s the best value Full Equity Golf Club on the Front Range!



NEW 2020 MEMBERSHIP CATEGORY Professional Membership Small $1000 One-Time Initiation Fee $210 Monthly Dues

Tuesday - Sunday 2pm  Later  Cart Fee Only Tuesday - Sunday before 2pm  Guest Fee Only You can't charge $210 per month for pri ate club golf... but we just did.

CO AvidGolfer 2020 CAGG Aards Best Value Most nderrated Best Par 5 #11 Best Par 4 #14 Call 303-681-3305 ext. 4

CLUBBING UP Presented by










0545 Bald Eagle Way, Carbondale 970-704-1905; clubcorp.com





Swimming, tennis,spa, fitness center, ClubCorp reciprocity

Nicklaus Design (1997)

Dave Fiscus

1 Ballyneal Lane, Holyoke 970-854-5900; ballyneal.com

$30,000 (local) $25,000 (nat’l)

$4,500/ $3,000/yr.



Bird hunting, bocce ball, shooting, lodging, dining, spa, 12-hole and putting courses

Tom Doak (2006)

Kent Hiller/ Dave Hensley

Bear Creek Golf Club

12201 Morrison Rd., Denver 303-667-4626; bearcreekgolfclub.net






Arnold Palmer, Ed Seay (1985)

Rich Goins

Black Bear Golf Club

11300 Canterberry Pkwy., Parker 720-330-7087; blackbear-club.com





Dining, privileges at Blackstone and all ClubCorp facilities

Jeff Brauer (1996)

Irene Skrondahl

Blackstone Country Club

7777 Country Club Dr., Aurora 720-330-7087; blackstone-club.com





Swimming, tennis, fitness, dining, privileges at Black Bear and all ClubCorp facilities

Jay Morrish (2006)

Irene Skrondahl

Bookcliff Country Club

2730 G Rd., Grand Junction 970-243-3323; bookcliffcc.com





Swimming, tennis, exercise center, spa, dining, Troon Privé membership

Dick Phelps (1958)

Kari Canaday

Boulder Country Club

350 Clubhouse Rd., Boulder 303-530-4600; bouldercc.org





Swimming, tennis, fitness, dining, wellness center, youth summer camp, par 3

Press Maxwell (1965)

Kate Kippenberger

Broadmoor Golf Club

One Lake Circle, Colorado Springs 719-577-5790; broadmoorgolfclub.org





All resort privileges, private member’s lounge

East: D. Ross (1918) West: R. T. Jones (1964)

Shauna Sartori

Castle Pines Golf Club

1000 Hummingbird Dr., Castle Rock 303-688-6000; castlepinesgolfclub.club



Invitation only


Fitness center, dining

Jack Nicklaus (1981)


The Country Club at Castle Pines

6400 Country Club Dr., Castle Pines Village 303-688-7400; ccatcastlepines.com





Dining, 20-acre golf practice range; Adding pools, fitness, tennis, pickleball, paddle tennis

Nicklaus Design (1985)

Mark Lewicki

Catamount Ranch & Club

33400 B Catamount Dr., Steamboat Springs 970-871-9300; catamountranchclub.com





Swimming, tennis, private lake, water sports, fitness, skiing

Tom Weiskopf (2000)

Nicole Piret

Cherry Creek Country Club

2405 South Yosemite St., Denver 303-597-0300; cherrycreekcountryclub.com





Swimming, tennis, spa, full fitness facility

Jack Nicklaus/ Jack Nicklaus II (2002)

Karen Hart

Cherry Hills Country Club

4125 S. University Blvd., Cherry Hills Village 303-350-5200; chcc.com



Invitation only


Swimming , tennis, dining, indoor golf practice

William Flynn (1922); Renaissance Golf (2009)

B.J. Johnson

Colorado Golf Club

7803 E. Stroh Rd., Parker 303-840-5400; coloradogolfclub.com

$55,000/ $85,000


By Invitation


9-hole short course, dining, fitness, trails, AboutGolf simulator and indoor bays

Ben Crenshaw/ Bill Coore (2006)

Tom Ferrell

Colorado Springs Country Club

3333 Templeton Gap Rd., Colorado Springs 719-634-8851; cscountryclub.com





Swimming, tennis, dining, fitness, pickleball, kids’ playroom

Dick Phelps (1957)

Kevin Sanger

Columbine Country Club

17 Fairway Lane, Columbine Valley 303-794-2674; columbinecc.com





Swimming, tennis, par-3, fitness, new clubhouse with indoor simulators, indoor/outdoor dining, spa

Henry Hughes (1956)

Leah Caillier

The Club at Cordillera

655 Clubhouse Dr., Edwards 970-569-6418; cordillera-vail.com





Swimming, tennis, Nordic center, dining, hiking, fly-fishing, skiing, Troon Privé privileges

Valley: T. Fazio (1997) Mountain: H. Irwin (1994) Summit: J Nicklaus (2001)

Suzanne Kern

1000 Cornerstone Trail, Montrose 970-249-1922; cornerstoneclub.com




Hiking, fly-fishing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, 4-wheeling, mountain biking, shooting

Greg Norman (2007); Matt Dusenberry (2018)

Tom Craft

Country Club of Colorado

125 E. Clubhouse Dr., Colorado Springs 719-538-4084; ccofcolorado.com





Swimming, dining, tennis, fitness, sailing, spa, beach, lake, watersports, pickleball

Pete Dye (1973)

Danielle Tuttle

Country Club of the Rockies

676 Sawatch Dr., Edwards 970-926-3080; countrycluboftherockies.com





Call for facilities

Jack Nicklaus (1984)

Pentti Tofferi

Denver Country Club

1700 E. First Ave., Denver 303-733-2441; denvercc.net



Invitation only


Swimming, tennis, ice rink, fitness, paddle tennis

James Foulis (1902); Bill Coore (1985); Gil Hanse (2009)

Molly Elm

28521 U.S. Highway 6 & 24, Wolcott 970-926-4400; eaglesprings.org



Invitation only



Jay Morrish/ Tom Weiskopf (1995)

Mike Steiner

37661 Weld County Rd. 39, Eaton 970-454-2106; eatoncc.net






Frank Baumgardner (1968)

Misty Welsh

The Club at Flying Horse

1880 Weiskopf Point, Colorado Springs 719-487-2646; flyinghorseclub.com

$25,000 (one course)/ $35,000 (two courses)




Swimming, tennis, fitness, spa, indoor golf facility, lodging, dining, Flying Horse North course opening this summer

Tom Weiskopf (2005) Flying Horse North: Phil Smith (2020)

Jennifer Weis

Fort Collins Country Club

1920 Country Club Rd., Fort Collins 970-482-1336; fortcollinscc.com





Swimming, dining, fitness, indoor and outdoor tennis, privileges at ClubCorp

Henry Hughes (1960); Pete Dye (2001)

Heidi Elser

The Fox Hill Club

1400 State Hwy 119, Longmont 303-651-7600; thefoxhillclub.com





Dining, swimming, tennis, fitness

Frank Hummel (1972)

Pat Miller

Aspen Glen Club Ballyneal Golf Club

Cornerstone Club

Eagle Springs Golf Club Eaton Country Club

EDITOR’S NOTE: This information is accurate to the best of our knowledge. Contact the club directly to confirm.





CLUBBING UP Presented by









1094 Frost Creek Dr., Eagle 970-455-3072; frostcreek.com

$30,000/ $35,000

$5,790/ $8,690/yr.



Swimming, tennis, fitness, fishing, spa, paddleboard, archery, yurts, Nordic skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, Jeep access, hiking and biking trails

Tom Weiskopf (2007)

Kakie Holland

Garden of the Gods Resort and Club

3320 Mesa Rd., Colorado Springs 719-520-4980; gardenofthegodsclub.com





Kissing Camels Golf Club, lodging, dining, Strata Integrated Wellness Spa (Wellness Center, Spa & Salon), fitness, swimming, tennis

Press Maxwell (1961) Mark Rathert (1997)

Tracey Kalata


600 Glacier Club Dr., Durango 970-382-7800; theglacierclub.com

$17,500/ $70,000




Swimming, tennis, fitness, spa

Arthur Hills (1974)/ Irwin-Schoeder (2017)

Ken Stone/ Kimberly Lohre

Glenmoor Country Club

110 Glenmoor Dr., Cherry Hills Village 970-353-0528; greeleycc.org





Swimming, tennis, fitness, dining, massage, kids activity room

Pete Dye (1985)

Teri Kubik

Greeley Country Club

4500 W. 10th St., Greeley 970-353-0528; greeleycc.org





Swimming, tennis, racquetball, dining, pickleball, access to Fort Collins & Fox Hill CCs

Press Maxwell/ Tom Bendelow (1932)

Claire Carter

Harmony Club

4176 Club Dr., Timnath 970-224-4622; harmonyclub.info





Indoor heated golf facility, pool, tennis, fitness, pickleball

Jim Engh (2007)

Jason Ward

Hiwan Golf Club

30671 Clubhouse Ln., Evergreen 303-674-3366; hiwan.com





Dining, swimming, tennis, fitness center, fishing, yoga and pilates

Press Maxwell (1962)

Judy Ikola

200 Inverness Dr., Englewood 303-397-7878; invernesshotel.com





Swimming, tennis, renovated fitness, locker and dining facilities

Press Maxwell (1974)

Dave Steinmetz

4400 Lake Valley Dr., Niwot 303-444-2114; lakevalley.com


$342-$452 / mo.



Dining, practice facilities, private swim and fishing lake

Press Maxwell (1964)

Rob Mount

6800 W. 10th Ave., Lakewood 303-233-4614; lakewoodcountryclub.net


$775 /mo.



Swimming, fitness

Tom Bendelow/ Donald Ross (1908) Gill Hanse (2018)

Carol Kaiser

Maroon Creek Club

10 Club Circle Rd., Aspen 970-920-1533; mccaspen.com



Invitation only


Swimming, tennis, fitness, spa, dining

Tom Fazio (1995)

David Chadbourne

Meridian Golf Club

9742 S. Meridian Blvd., Englewood 303-799-8402; meridiangolfclub.com






Jack Nicklaus (1984)

Tim Murphy

Perry Park Country Club

7047 Perry Park Blvd., Larkspur 303-681-3305; perryparkcc.com





Dining, golf, professional membership

Dick Phelps (1969)

Andrew Bustamante

Pinehurst Country Club

6255 W. Quincy Ave., Denver 303-996-5499; muchmorethangolf.com





Swimming, indoor/outdoor tennis, dining, fitness, golf simulators

Press Maxwell (1960)

Tiffany Messer

The Pinery Country Club

6900 N. Pinery Pkwy., Parker 303-841-5157; thepinerycc.com





Swimming, fitness, 27 holes with golf practice facilities, indoor/outdoor tennis

David Bingham (1972)

Jeff Mathews

5225 Pradera Pkwy., Parker 303-607-5672; theclubatpradera.com





Tennis, fitness

Jim Engh (2005)

Dustin Picciolo

5416 Vardon Way, Fort Collins 970-226-8555; ptarmigancc.com





Swimming, dining, tennis

Jack Nicklaus (1988)

Ryan Flack

3200 8th Ave., Pueblo 719-543-4844; pueblocountryclub.com





Swimming, tennis, dining, special events

Henry Hughes (1903)

Buck Streich

The Ranch Country Club

11887 Tejon St., Westminster 303-460-9700; theranchcc.com





Indoor golf facility, indoor and outdoor tennis, swimming family pools, fitness, dining, indoor and outdoor kids play area

Dick Phelps (1974)

Danielle Ochs

The Golf Club at Ravenna

11118 Caretaker Rd., Littleton 720-956-1600; ravennagolf.com





Dining, pool, fitness center

Jay Morrish (2006)

George Kahrhoff

Red Rocks Country Club

16235 W. Belleview Ave., Morrison 303-352-2030; redrockscountryclub.org





Dining, swimming, fishing, hiking, golf simulator

Stanley Harwood (1976)/ Kevin Atkinson (2017)

Bobby Norman

Red Sky Golf Club

1099 Red Sky Rd., Wolcott 970-754-8400; redskygolfclub.com





Swimming, tennis, hiking, dining, cycling/skiing, year-round events

Tom Fazio (2002)/ Greg Norman (2003)

Shawnna Frank

Roaring Fork Club

100 Arbaney Ranch Rd., Basalt 970-927-9000; roaringforkclub.com



Invitation only


Swimming, tennis, fly-fishing, dining, fitness

Jack Nicklaus (1999)

Sam Broome

15707 W. 26th Ave., Golden 303-279-3334; theclubatrollinghills.org





Swimming, indoor/outdoor tennis, fitness, HD golf simulator, dining

Press Maxwell/ Dick Phelps (1967)

Marta Kostelny

Snowmass Club

0239 Snowmass Club Cir., Snowmass Village 970-923-5600; snowmassclub.com





Athletic club, swimming, spa, indoor/outdoor tennis, fitness, cross-country skiing, dining

Jim Engh (2003)

Joanna Mallory

Sonnenalp Club

1265 Berry Creek Rd., Edwards 970-477-5376; sonnenalpclub.com





Swimming, tennis, spa, fitness, dining, indoor/outdoor practice facilities

Jay Morrish/ Bob Cupp (1982)

Diane Kerchof

Valley Country Club

14601 Country Club Dr., Centennial 720-630-2463; valleycountryclub.org





Swimming, lighted tennis, fitness, dining, children’s activity center

William Bell (1960)

Steve O’Brien

The Country Club at Woodmoor

18945 Pebble Beach Way, Monument 719-884-7241; ccwoodmoor.com





Swimming, indoor tennis, fitness, cross-country skiing, childcare

Press Maxwell (1969)

Ashley Wimberly

Frost Creek Club

The Club at Inverness Lake Valley Golf Club Lakewood Country Club

The Club at Pradera Ptarmigan Country Club Pueblo Country Club

The Club at Rolling Hills

* Initiations reflect full golf memberships for individuals. When given, ranges can account for incentives, promotions, refundability or multiple levels (equity/non-equity, associate, junior, individual, family, etc.). Clubs often make financing available. ** Dues reflect full golf. They do not account for food and beverage minimums, service fees, capital assessments or other surcharges. Ranges reflect levels of membership.




Cornerstone The only thing more marvelous than the Montrose course itself might be the story of the club’s reboot.  By JON RIZZI PERCHED ATOP the Uncompahgre Plateau, at an elevation above 9,000 feet, the par-4 12th hole at Cornerstone Club stretches a full 431 yards. From the rear teeing area, you’re looking at a 150-yard carry into the wind to a rippling, bunker-less, uphill fairway. Instead, however, your sights turn towards a 180-degree eyeful of Western Slope grandeur: the tabletop of Grand Mesa to the north, the serrated and notched peaks of the West Elks and Cimarrons due east, and the saw-toothed San Juans in the south—all of it framed by waves of aspens and piñons gleaming beneath a cerulean sky. It’s far from the only photo-prompting panorama you’ll encounter on this 7,793yard masterpiece. Fourteen of the 18 holes boast a view of a mountain pass, while other “signature” shots come at the cliffhanging green on hole 10, which balances above the Cimarron Ridge, and a face-to-face encounter with Mount Sneffels when you reach the green that awaits after you’ve teed off on 12. Although it climbs from 8,500 to 9,361 feet above sea level, it’s not the extreme upand-down, high-wire act that defines most mountain golf. Rather than repeatedly plunging from tee to green, you play through abundant aspen stands, meadows of sagebrush and thickets of scrub oak. The serene and sequestered journeys from green to tee are a forest bather’s fantasy. Cornerstone members first savored this property’s natural bounty in 2007, when the Greg Norman-designed course debuted as


one of the best new private layouts in the U.S. Located 22 miles from the airport in Montrose and 40 from the one in Telluride, the club attracted a geographically diverse cross-section of about 60 members—all of whom purchased one of the 6,000acre property’s 412 “Homestead” lots as a condition of joining. Then the recession hit, and in January of 2012, the original developer, Texas billionaire Ray Hunt, sold the entire property to a private equity firm, whose underfinanced ownership lasted six months. The ensuing years brought the selling off of 1,200 acres, as well as financial and legal issues that pitted the Cornerstone Homeowners Association against various investors and subdividing developers. Meanwhile, the course—which encompasses a whopping 350 acres, 7.2 miles of cart path and 32 miles of irrigation pipe (including 3,100 valves and sprinkler heads)— went fallow after the 2011 season and would not host another round of golf for seven years. Before shutting down the course, however, the homeowners put in money to have the irrigation system flushed and drained. “The best investment we ever made,” says Bob Aisner, president of the Cornerstone Owners Association. “Hunt spent $8 million putting in a water system in 2006. Blowing it out after the 2011 season cost less than $6,000. It took [Course Superintendent] Jason [Stroehlein] three or four days, and when he turned it on again in 2017, all but about 30 heads were working perfectly.” Tuning up



the elaborate system thus wound up costing $50,000 instead of the millions it would have cost to repair or potentially replace it. Aisner had restarted the irrigation in 2017 after a prospective ownership deal went south. He and a group of seven other homeowners had taken over Cornerstone. Chief among their priorities: Resurrect a golf course that had not been maintained for more than five years. Key to accomplishing that was rehiring Stroehlein, who’d originally worked at the property and had since moved to St. Louis. “Getting Jason back was spectacular,” Aisner says. “Nothing was more important.” The group also brought in another pivotal person with a history on the project: former Greg Norman senior design associate Matt Dusenberry, who had been integrally involved in Cornerstone’s original layout and had since struck out on his own. “It wasn’t Armageddon,” the architect says, describing the conditions he encountered. Thanks to the short growing season in the high-desert climate, the low-mow bluegrass fairways “looked like they had maintained themselves,” having only grown to about four to five inches, while the sandprofile bentgrass tees, approaches and greens “were desiccated with very limited turf.” The course’s 84 bunkers were another story. They had become “vacation homes for the elk,” Aisner jokes, and coyotes would dig and tear out the lining. Dusenberry and his design partner Jim




A NEW DAY DAWNS: Rising over the West Elk Mountains, the morning sun butters the 12th green at Cornerstone.




WESTERN STYLE: Large windows and appointments of varying tones give the clubhouse (top) a welcoming airiness and solidity; by modifying the bentgrass approach and bunkers, Dusenberry made the first green more playable.

CIMARRON ROLL: The “infinity green” on Cornerstone’s signature 10th vanishes into the vast Cimarron Ridge beyond.

McKenna didn’t just have to restore the course. They had to make the sprawling layout more playable, sustainable and efficient— no small task for 18 challenging golf holes that occupied enough acreage for 36 or 54. To help achieve those goals, Aisner—who also belongs to the celebrated Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina—brought in that club’s managing partner, John McNeely, to consult at Cornerstone. Ranked by Golf Digest as the top private club to open in 2018, Congaree only irrigates 65 acres. “The combination of Matt, Jason and John brought it all into place,” Aisner says. “There’s always a push-pull in these relationships,” Dusenberry explains. “We always look to reduce irrigated turf, but it can’t come at the expense of the players’ enjoyment.” Dusenberry decreased the number of teeing areas from seven to four per hole and the total course length by 128 yards. He necked the bluegrass fairways without losing their receptivity or the proportionality critical for such a huge site. He also shrank the high-maintenance bentgrass approaches on some holes, but would not eliminate any. “Bent approaches are a distinctive element at Cornerstone,” the architect explains. “They’re part of the course’s identity, its memorability and, above all, its playability. We decided early on to keep those, but shrink them where possible.” Understanding that many of the COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | April 2020

blindingly white sand bunkers were more aesthetic than strategic, Dusenberry reduced their number by one-third, eliminating many to create grassed bailout areas and sometimes combining two or three into one for easier maintenance. He also lifted their floors and shaved down many of their noses to promote player-friendliness. In addition, the club rebuilt all 56 of those bunkers with the Better Billy Bunker System, which hadn’t existed when the course first opened. The system eliminates the need for lining and improves drainage and durability. After reopening the ample and versatile practice area and eight holes in 2018, Cornerstone debuted its full 18 last year. Members who loved the original layout raved about the modifications, and the owners appreciated the 12.5 percent reduction in water use—from 72 to 63 million gallons— that resulted from irrigating five fewer acres and removing 2.7 acres of sand-capped bentgrass. With the course fully operational, so is everything else at Cornerstone. Since Congaree closes in summer, its head PGA professional, Tom Craft, works as Cornerstone’s general manager, and its pantry chef, Ashley Depew, serves as Cornerstone’s executive chef. Danny Lee, an assistant head PGA professional at Florida’s Miromar Lakes Golf


Club, is the PGA Head Professional. Cornerstone isn’t just a golf club. The huge property boasts 20 miles of hiking, biking and riding trails, plus 100 acres of horse corrals and pastures that will become a full-on equestrian center. Shooters can take aim on a target range, while fly-fishers can cast into a stock pond or head to the troutrich waters of the nearby San Miguel, Dolores and Gunnison rivers. Come winter, members cross-country ski on 10 miles of trails and snowmobile and snowshoe for hours. Four plushly appointed homestead cabins—replete with steam showers, soaring ceilings and four bedrooms—welcome guests and prospective members. And if you’re thinking of joining, know this: Although lots and homes are available, you no longer have to purchase one in order to join. Nor do you have to pay the $65,000 that Aisner originally paid to become a member. “Now it’s $15,000, no property to buy and $12,000 in annual dues,” he says. Cornerstone has come all the way back. And, at least for now, one of the West’s finest mountain courses is also one the country’s best private-club values. Jon Rizzi is the editor of Colorado AvidGolfer. For information on Cornerstone, visit cornerstoneclub.com or call 970-249-1922. coloradoavidgolfer.com

BERTSCH Continued from page 53

GIFT OF THE PRESENT Through it all, Bertsch never had any regrets or suffered any lack of motivation, at least until he reached that shadowy period just prior to turning 50, which 40-something PGA TOUR players refer to as “purgatory.” Despite having status, he opted out of the Korn Ferry Tour for 2019, his first nontouring season since 1995. At Blackwelder’s urging, Bertsch had decided earlier to open an instruction business, and he is loved by his students in the Denver area. Last summer, he also became the hot commodity at Telluride Ski & Golf Resort. After connecting with CEO and part-owner Bill Jensen, he accepted an invite to teach golf at the southwestern Colorado resort in one of the most scenic settings in the state. The location also afforded the opportunity to pursue his other love, fly-fishing, by combining golf instruction with guided forays to the local trout streams. Fly-fishing also figured into the life of Shane’s brother and regular caddie, Jesse, a South Platte River guide whose new responsibilities as a fly-shop manager prompted Shane to cast for a new bag man. The job went to Aurora’s Fred Sanders, a sage veteran, who looped for the vast majority of Kenny Perry’s 14 PGA TOUR victories and nine wins on the Champions, including four senior majors. Sanders was on the bag for victories by Kirk Triplett, Robert Damron and Russ Cochran. In detailing Sanders’ CV, Bertsch smiles. “My new caddie has made more money on the TOUR than I have.” During his career, Bertsch traveled by RV with his family, sharing home-schooling duties with Monica until their daughters were in their teens. With Brianna headed to college in the fall, and Stella entering Bishop Machebeuf High School, it will mostly be just him and Sanders grinding it out on the Champions. Bertsch is more than confident coloradoavidgolfer.com

he will pay his way with earnings; during the pre-50 stage of his career, he sought sponsorship help for only one season, and quickly reimbursed his backers. Booking air and hotel reservations for the Champions is much easier: There is no cut.

PUMPED TO PLAY Bertsch turned 50 and therefore became Champions Tour eligible on March 30. That initially meant he’d miss the first six events of the 2020 season but would still have roughly 20 opportunities. But then came the COVID-19 pandemic. His inaugural start was supposed to be April 17-19 in the Mitsubishi Electric Classic at TPC Sugarloaf outside Atlanta. But with that and three other events either canceled or postponed, it NO GIMMES: After trying different putting grips, Bertsch decided appeared at press time as though to ditch the claw (shown here) in favor of the arm-lock method. his first Champions event might be May’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Even with his flat-stick prowess, Bertsch Championship in Benton Harbor, Mich. For Bertsch, who played in just two majors has cycled through all the grips, which is (both U.S. Opens) in his pre-50 career, that “what you do when putting for a living.” After going from regular to righthand low to claw, will be quite the stage for a debut. He’ll be ready. He is proud to have he recently settled on the arm-lock method developed into an accurate driver of the (most notably employed by Matt Kuchar) that ball and carries it 275 yards; his irons are became popular after the anchored-putter crisp and the short game is still magnificent. ban. It requires a bulky 40-inch Odyssey While forever grounded in Hogan’s principles putter and a lot of adjustments, but Bertsch and indoor drills, once outside he naturally says the results are a “hair better.” Without explicitly saying as much, prefers to play a lot rather than practice a lot. He made several trips to Scottsdale during Bertsch expects to perform well in this the winter to hone his game in warm weather second chance—and to win. There’s no reason and enjoys privileges at both Glenmoor and to think he can’t. Brett Quigley, who finished 20 strokes behind Bertsch in Q-school, won Colorado Golf Club. At six-foot-two and 185 lbs., Bertsch a month later in Marrakesh in the Chammay be in the best shape of his life, working pions Tour’s Morocco Open, and after a out four times a week at 7 a.m. with Dave T3 finish in the Cologuard Classic, Quigley O’Mara at Viking Fitness in Greenwood stood second in the overall standings in early Village. Even so, he’ll likely take advantage March with $350,000-plus in earnings. There is a fine line between success of the Champions Tour option to ride for most of his tournaments, figuring there is no and failure at the highest levels of golf. It’s downside to conserving energy. (Champions often the flat stick that makes the difference, caddies must walk and carry, and Bertsch along with perseverance and maintaining the gladly obliged Sanders’ request that he use a fundamentals through the many trials and tribulations of a grueling season. It was never lightweight tote instead of a 40-lb. tour bag.) Bertsch has a Titleist ball sponsorship smart to bet against Ben Hogan. And Shane with a victory schedule, but his clubs are a Bertsch is a better putter. “mixed bag,” with no fewer than five brands in the arsenal, including a TaylorMade driver Contributing editor Andy Bigford thinks and 3-wood, Cleveland 6-Wood, Callaway he fixed his golf setup just by talking to 4 and 5 Hybrids and Mizuno irons (note to Shane Bertsch and Jesse Blackwelder, and absorbing a fraction of what they had to say. aging amateurs: his first iron is the 6). PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHANE BERTSCH/GLENMOOR COUNTRY CLUB

the 72nd hole of the final event of the season to drop Bertsch to 126th on the money list, one spot from exemption. Having not entered Q-school because he thought he was already in, he found himself with no status for 2009. Shortly thereafter, while walking around his house, he broke his fifth metatarsal—the little toe on his right foot. Advised by doctors that he wouldn’t need surgery, he subsequently required two. He broke his hand in 2010, and then, six years later, suffered a tear in the labrum of his left shoulder that required more surgery.




Of Ben and Shane IN CONCEPTUALIZING THE imagery for this issue’s lead story on golfer Shane Bertsch’s return as a PGA TOUR Champions rookie, photographer Ehren Joseph sent Art Director Chelsea Oglesby some classic golf images that evoked the idea of a comeback. Bertsch, an Evergreen native, has bounced between the PGA TOUR, the Nike/Nationwide/Web.com/ Korn Ferry Tour and numerous medical facilities over a 28-year professional career. Then, last December, the journeyman fired a 17under 267 to win Qualifying School for the PGA TOUR Champions. He turned 50 on March 30, and his first event—COVID-19 cancellations and postponements notwithstanding —could be the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship May 21-24 in Benton Harbor, Mich. Among the most compelling shots that Ehren sent was this AP photo of the great Ben Hogan, who famously returned to golf after a near-fatal head-on collision with a bus in 1949 to win the 1950 U.S. Open and five more majors. Never mind that the severity of Shane’s injuries in no way compares to the broken bones and blood clots Hogan sustained; nor that the photo predates Hogan’s accident by eight years. It still suggests the lace-’em-up spirit of a golfer ready to make the most of a second chance at glory. “Hogan’s the man!” Shane texted when we informed him of the concept. We had no idea until writer Andy Bigford filed his story that Hogan’s legendary Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf has been Shane’s golf bible since his junior college days. A dogeared copy accompanies his practice routines, and he and his longtime coach Jesse Blackwelder refer to it religiously. Combine that coincidence with the determination that animates both golfers. Then factor in the fortuity of finding inspiration in a photo from 1941, and you have the perfect recipe for the opening shot of Shane Bertsch taken in the Colorado Golf Club men’s locker room that appears on page 50. —Jon Rizzi


What does a 79-year-old photo have to do with this magazine?

A DISTANT MUSE: Ben Hogan, 28, after finishing second to Lawson Little at the Texas Open at Willow Springs Golf Course in San Antonio, Feb. 9, 1941.




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Profile for Colorado AvidGolfer

2020 April Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine  

ON THE COVER: The remarkable comeback of Shane Bertsch. FEATURED: The 2020 Private Club & Gear Guides | Cornerstone Club's Reboot | A Golf...

2020 April Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine  

ON THE COVER: The remarkable comeback of Shane Bertsch. FEATURED: The 2020 Private Club & Gear Guides | Cornerstone Club's Reboot | A Golf...