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Elevating the Game.


POLE POSITION Our 18 th CAGGY AWARDS Celebrate the BEST of Colorado GOLF

The Trick to Prickly Desert Shots


the Golfer’s Guide to

Pole Creek Golf Course


Winner, Best Mountain Course





$1,000s ON GOLF

(see page 17)

PLUS: Finishing the Robert Trent Jones Trail

SPRING 2020 | $3.95

Kapalua Returns to Form

Classic Colorado: The Rio Grande Club

02 >



Play Golf & Support A Colorado Military Veteran For $229 you get four award-winning golf courses at one amazing price!

Golf Club at Bear Dance

Colorado National Golf Club

303.681.4653 beardancegolf.com

303.926.1723 coloradonationalgolfclub.com

Plum Creek Golf Club

Riverdale Golf Courses

303.660.2200 golfplumcreek.com

303.659.4700 riverdalegolf.com

2020 Mile High Golf Trail Pass Proceeds go toward providing a Colorado Wounded Veteran a mortgage free home!

Get your 2020 Mile High Golf Trail Pass today at www.MileHighGolfTrail.com

“The Country Club at Castle Pines is an absolutely beautiful course with all its vistas. A person can play The Country Club and feel he’s had a great time no matter what his score, simply because of the views.” Jack Nicklaus

THE COUNTRY CLUB AT CASTLE PINES APPROVES $17.1 MILLION EXPANSION OF CLUB AMENITIES The Country Club at Castle Pines is a private, member owned Club in Castle Pines, Colorado. The extensive multimillion-dollar reinvention project will bring stylish new dining and social features to the clubhouse, as well as cliffside amenities to include pools, fitness, paddle tennis, pickleball, tennis and the addition of an indoor/outdoor golf performance center to its already expansive 20 acre practice facility. One of the most iconic Clubs in all of Colorado, The Country Club at Castle Pines already boasts a world class championship Jack Nicklaus Signature course and award-winning Pro Shop including the 2019 Colorado PGA Private Merchandiser of the Year.



- Spectacular Nicklaus Signature Golf Course has breathtaking views, mountain terrain and our spectacular 18-hole greens renovation completed in spring 2017.

Clubhouse Expansion

- Game Improvement Facilities include two chipping greens with greenside bunkers, a short-game area with small target greens, and a 20-acre driving range with Titleist NXT practice balls.

- New expanded fine dining, chef’s table, wine room, bar and outside terraces with unrivaled views of Pikes Peak, Devils Head and the Front Range - Complete kitchen renovation and expansion

New Amenities

- Golf Pro Shop was awarded the 2019 “Best of the Best” honoring the top 5 private club winners in the nation.

- Adult and family cliffside pools with cabanas, dining and drink service overlooking Pikes Peak

- Iconic, award winning Clubhouse at 6,800 feet with endless mountain views from our outdoor terrace. It’s the ideal place to simply sit outside with friends to enjoy a glass of wine or beer, and watch the sunset over the mountains.

- Warming hut including dining, bar and social space in addition to a club fitness center, movement studio, and deck

- Casual and Formal Dining experiences with exquisite food and exceptional service in a relaxed environment.

- An indoor / outdoor golf teaching center on the range

- Strong Sense of Community because the Club is the perfect place to enjoy Club traditions and events, family dinners, wine tastings, live music, holiday festivities and more year-round.

Categories Available

- Exceptional Service from a well-trained and friendly staff.

Corporate Golf – 2 or 3 Designees

- The Taste: don’t miss our annual food and wine festival with live music each June.

Social Plus – All amenities but golf

- Tennis, pickleball and four year-round heated paddle tennis courts

Regular Golf Junior Golf (38 and under)

Tours and previews are by appointment only. Pre-Construction opportunities will be the most advantageous time to consider applying. For more information, please contact Mark Lewicki:


| mlewicki@ccofcastlepines.com | www.ccatcastlepines.com

CONTENTS | Spring 2020

DEPARTMENTS 12 Forethoughts

When 18 Isn’t Enough By Jon Rizzi

14 Year of the Woman

Meet the Honorable Sue Payton By Judy Malone

16 The CGA

The World Handicap System brings

improvements for Colorado golfers.

29 The Gallery Eulogies for three giants of Colorado golf; CSU’s men rank high; The Country Club at Castle Pines’ $17.1 million upgrade; more

108 Blind Shot

The most influential golf-course architect

of the last 50 years holes out. By Jon Rizzi


Alabama’s groundbreaking Robert Trent Jones Trail. By Tony Dear

44 Lesson Tee 76

Forget Your Just Deserts. By Alex Fisher

48 15th Club

Prevent injury and increase mobility. By Jamie White


61 76 CAGGY Award Winners A Colorado of the Mind Nearly 6,400 of you voted for your favorite courses, clubs, teachers and destinations. After counting every ballot, we bring you the “Best of Colorado Golf.”

Glorious golf, trophy trout and mountain highs make South Fork’s sequestered Rio Grande Club one of the state’s quintessential escapes. By Todd Hartley



Revitalized by its creators, Kapalua’s celebrated Plantation Course on Maui shines once again. By Tom Mackin

in Tabernash. Photograph by Chris Wheeler/Great Divide Pictures. Courtesy of Pole Creek Golf Club

53 Fareways

Topgolf and Blackstone raise the bar on

Colorado golf cuisine. By John Lehndorff

58 Nice Drives

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, BMW X3M

and Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 square off; Chevy Silverado 2500 HD. By Isaac Bouchard

Pole Creek Golf Club


Polishing the Pearl



SPRING TRAINING Pitchers, catchers and golfers are reporting to Arizona. Find out where to tee off, hang out and more.



TOURNAMENT GUIDE Our annual goody bag of tips and tricks to make your next golf event an unforgettable affair.



108 coloradoavidgolfer.com

OFFICIAL BEER SPONSOR OF THE PGA TOUR ENJOY RESPONSIBLY © 2020 Anheuser-Busch, Michelob Ultra® Light Beer, St. Louis, MO | 95 calories, 2.6g carbs, 0.6g protein and 0.0g fat, per 12 oz.

Spring 2020 | Volume 18, Number 8 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

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

Suzanne S. Brown contributors

Thank you to our Avid Golfers for recognizing Pole Creek as the Best Mountain Course in 2020 (again!)

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

coloradoavidgolfer .com

Colorado AvidGolfer (ISSN 1548-4335) is published eight times a year by Baker-Colorado Publishing, LLC, and printed by Publication Printers Corp. Volume 18, Number eight. 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 Š 2019 by BakerColorado 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 :

Colorado Section

Polecreekgolf.com COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020

970-887-9195 10


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.

www.GolfAlabama.org Non-Stop Flights to Birmingham (BHM), Huntsville (HSV), Mobile (BFM) and near Gulf Shores (PNS) from Denver (DEN)

Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Birmingham



When 18 Isn’t Enough

The guide promotes environmental stewardship, golf course playability and the overall health of the Colorado golf industry through comprehensive best management practices (BMPs) covering twelve key areas.

BMP section coverage includes water management, pollinator protection, nutrient use, integrated pest management, energy and much more.

These BMPs provide guidance for Rocky Mountain golf course superintendents and maintenance professionals. This book represents the commitment of our 567 members to operating at the highest of standards.


Dedicated to environmental conservation, sustainability and the overall vitality of the game, the Rocky Mountain Golf Course Superintendents Association (RMGCSA) has just released its Colorado Golf Industry Best Management Practices Guide.

ON THE 18TH, you can put me down for an 8 ... and a 152 total. Now, no golfer worthy of the “avid” appellation would admit to that kind of tally. Except me. I am not only copping to it—I’m taking pride in it. You see, I’m recounting a golf experience that took place far from any of the courses about which I’ve written or about which you’ve read. Let me clarify: We’re in the 18th publishing year of Colorado AvidGolfer, and you’re reading the eighth and last issue of said year, which begins with every April issue and ends with every Spring. The total number of those issues is 152. From 2002 to 2009, we published nine issues a year. We made the downturn to eight per annum in 2010 and carded snowmen in each of our last ten years. Basically, we went out in 80 and came in with 72. That 152 is both gross and net, since a magazine editor has no option but to play scratch. The only strokes I occasionally accept are compliments. (On the course, however, my game rarely inspires compliments, so I’ll take as many pops as you’re willing to give me.) The culmination of this 18th year may merit this admittedly belabored golf analogy, but I’d rather look ahead to the next 18 than reminisce about the previous ones, and this issue hints at some of what’s to come. Flip the page and you’ll read the first in a series of profiles that highlight the Year of the Woman. This initiative, taken on by the Colorado PGA and Colorado Golf Association in support of the 2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Eisenhower Golf Club July 13-18, also coincides with the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote. Leading us off on page 14 is Sue Payton, a highly accomplished aerospace executive and lifelong golfer who went to work for the Department of Defense in 2001 and rose to the title of United States Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, overseeing a $30 billion acquisitions budget. She and other inspiring women will hold forth at the Women’s Leadership Summit on the Friday before the U.S. Junior Girls’ begins. Paying it forward, they aim to invest in current and future women leaders by providing content, tools, mentoring and networking opportunities to support their career success. Payton serves as an example of why golf rates high among those networking opportunities. On page 16, you’ll learn about the changes wrought by the World Golf Handicap System and, on page 53, about how Topgolf and Aurora’s Blackstone Country Club are revolutionizing golf fare. Both of these establishments respectively trounced their competition in the public and private dining categories of this year’s CAGGY Awards (page 61), our annual celebration of the Best of Colorado Golf, in which a record 6,389 of you exercised your right to vote. Thank you to the women and men who took the time to cast your vote. And thank you to everyone who has read the magazine for 18 volumes and will continue to do so. After all this time, you’re the reason I’m still grinding over each word as if it were a match-winning putt. In other words, I’ll proudly sign for that 152. ­—JON RIZZI

Check it out at











Sue Payton Has the Honors Fueled by golf’s many virtues, the former Air Force exec’s business and personal life continues to soar. By Judy Malone 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. Inspired by this historic event, the Colorado golf community has 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 awareness and participation in the game by women. And in these pages, we will highlight women for whom golf has had an enormous impact in building relationships, families and careers. PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF COLORADO PGA

First on the tee is the Honorable Sue Payton. A prime example of how golf can be leveraged to build relationships and advance a career, the Illinois native has played golf for more than a half-century. During that time, she has gone from Air Force wife to technology lab director to Deputy Under Secretary of Defense to Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisitions, where she directed a $30 billion annual budget and led the teams that provided war-winning capabilities to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, she is the president and co-owner with her husband, Col. Gary Payton, of SCI Aerospace, a small engineering business that helps aerospace and defense companies grow their bottom line. HOW WERE YOU INTRODUCED TO GOLF? My dad took up the game when my twin brother and I were 13. We three spent hours hitting balls into a bushel basket. Our dad wouldn’t let us play a regulation course until we broke 100 on the local par 3. HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO LEVERAGE GOLF TO IMPACT YOUR CAREER? So many things that sports—and especially golf—have taught me about discipline, patience, preparation, trust, empowerment, teamwork and managing risk directly impacted how I led organizations in industry and government. Just as each hole on a golf course offers risks and rewards, so does negotiating a multiyear F-22 contract or ensuring a successful radar replacement on the B-2

bomber when there is no schedule or performance margin available. Over the 57 years that I have played this amazing game, no matter my handicap, golf strengthened my relationships with dear friends, business colleagues, bosses and young professionals that I mentored. From family outings to big corporate golf tournaments, golf is the great connective tissue that binds spirits for the fun of the game. COLORADO LAUNCHED ITS FIRST WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT IN 2018. WHAT IS ITS PURPOSE? The Summit is a way to invest in current and future women leaders by providing content, tools, mentoring and networking opportunities to sup-

IF NOT FOR GOLF: The game introduced Payton (second from left) to Jason Doyle, the president of UMB Bank in Colorado Springs (left); and Eisenhower Golf Club WGA members Janet Yoder and Ron Irons (far right).



AN INSPIRATION: Payton, a Colorado PGA REACH trustee, leads the 2019 Women’s Leadership Summit.

port their career success. Over the years, we have recruited amazingly successful women to discuss the challenges they faced and the methods they used to eliminate barriers to their success in the hope that those in the audience could gain advantages from their examples. WHAT ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST TWO WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SUMMITS? Awarding college scholarships to several very deserving high school and college students who are pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math is a wonderful way to pay it forward. It reinforces that we are inspired by their efforts to grow and broaden their education—a fundamental concept in supporting the next generation. Additionally, last year we had an exceptional keynote speaker who shed light on what makes people from different generations tick and what ticks them off! A leader from a successful Colorado Springs start-up bought the speaker’s book, read the first 70 pages and, the next day, restructured parts of the company to better attract and retain employees from multiple generations. Our Women’s Summits get results! (Note: The 2020 Women’s Leadership Summit takes place July 10 at the U.S. Air Force Academy.) WHO’S IN YOUR DREAM FOURSOME—AND WHY? Condoleezza Rice, David Feherty and Julie Inkster. Rice displays a great blend of diplomacy, refused to see herself as a victim and went toe-to-toe with the Soviets. Feherty would help us find the humor in our quirky shots and ensure we did not take the round too seriously. And then I’d top it off with Inkster’s tenacious, never-give-up attitude. coloradoavidgolfer.com



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


A Whole New World The World Handicap System brings improvements for Colorado golfers. MANY GOLFERS ARE aware that the USGA and R&A rolled out the new World Handicap System (WHS) in January. As the only licensed Allied Golf Association of the USGA in Colorado, the Colorado Golf Association has all the resources Colorado golfers need to prepare for the changes. The CGA’s Director of Club and Facility Services Aaron Guereca launched a new video series which outlines the key things you need to know about the WHS. Colorado AvidGolfer has provided these videos on its website, but you can also see them at Coloradogolf.org. Additional CGA resources include detailed explanations, training schedules and access for club handicap chairs to become certified. Major improvements to the WHS mean a significant overhaul to the GHIN mobile app. CGA members can monitor their handicap daily and enjoy improved score posting and hole-by-hole scoring. These advancements allow

golfers to analyze their game and connect with their fellow golfers to ensure accurate up-to-date handicap and course rating information. You can post scores, look up friends and competitors and review your stats from a round. If you aren’t a member of a club or golf league in Colorado, it’s easy and affordable to become a CGA member. One great way to receive a handicap is to become a Colorado AvidGolfer Golf Passport Plus Member and receive the Colorado AvidGolfer Golf Passport and access to the CGA member resources and GHIN Mobile app. Otherwise, visit the CGA website to view member facilities near you. The game has come a long way from the dark ages of handicaps being used solely in local clubs. The USGA Slope System allowed handicaps to travel from course to course, and the new World Handicap System is the latest step in the “globalization” of golf.

World Handicap System: In the Know • Your handicap may change. But this means players around the world will have an apples-to-apples handicap. • The maximum hole score for each player will be limited to a Net Double Bogey. This adjustment is more consistent from hole to hole than the Equitable Stroke Control procedure. Net Double Bogey is already used in many other parts of the world and the calculation is simple: Par + 2 + any handicap strokes you receive. • Your Handicap Index will update daily. The CGA will still provide you with an email handicap update on the 1st and 15th of every month, however now your index will be updated overnight and you can see this change reflected at course computers or via the free GHIN mobile app. • The new WHS will limit extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index. The system will also take into consideration course or weather conditions to ensure that scores reflect when a course plays significantly different than its established Course Rating and Slope Rating.

HANDY: The CGA’s upgraded app lets you monitor your handicap daily and enjoy improved score posting, hole-by-hole scoring and other great functions.

For more information, visit coloradogolf.org/world-handicap-system COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020









*Limited time offer. While supplies last. Valid with purchase of $79.95 or above.

Tons of great deals. One Golf Passport. Turn to learn more.

HEY, EARLY BIRDS! Escape the cold with a FREE MESQUITE


2 ROUNDS of GOLF at The Palms or CasaBlanca courses


a 2-NIGHT STAY at the CasaBlanca hotel

will be yours FREE when you purchase your 2020 Golf Passport today.*

This offer is ONLY available when you purchase your Golf Passport with Golf Balls, Golf Passport Plus or Golf Passport Deluxe. DON’T MISS OUT! SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR EARLY BIRD SPECIAL NOW! *Limited time offer. While supplies last. Valid with purchase of $79.95 or above.

The 2020 GOLF PASSPORT gives you savings on your golf game that you won’t find anywhere else. Save UP TO 60% on 65 courses, with 18 EXCLUSIVE deals. And ALL offers include a cart.













• • •

• • •

• • •

FREE GOLF VACATION (while supplies last)

Callaway Chrome Soft Golf Balls good for golf and beer

• • •

• • •

Golf discounts at 65 courses Dining & retail discounts Warrior Custom Golf Hybrid and Wedge

CGA membership Official USGA GHIN handicap

• • •

79.95 LLER! BEST SE $


For more information, visit coloradoavidgolfer.com/golf-passport or call 720.493.1729 ext. 18

Golf Passport Courses have great deals throughout the state. CHECK OUT THESE LOW RATES! Prices for each course start at the rates listed. For full details, visit coloradoavidgolfer.com/golf-passport-courses

Fort Collins

Steamboat Springs

Boulder Vail


Grand Junction


Colorado Springs Montrose

Breckenridge, Breckenridge | $75 Eagle Ranch, Eagle  |  $35 EXCLUSIVE EagleVail, Avon | $59 Golf Granby Ranch, Granby  |  $35 Grand Elk, Granby  |  $32 Grand Lake, Grand Lake  |  $40 Haymaker, Steamboat Springs  |  $60 EXCLUSIVE Keystone Ranch, Keystone  |  $85 Pole Creek, Tabernash  |  $59 Raven at Three Peaks, Silverthorne  |  $69 The River Course at Keystone, Keystone  |  $85 Vail Golf Club, Vail  |  $59 Yampa Valley, Craig  |  $30 EXCLUSIVE


NORTHEAST REGION Fox Acres, Red Feather Lakes (SEMI-PRIVATE)  |  $50 NEW Highland Meadows, Windsor  |  $37 NEW Pelican Lake Golf Club, Windsor  |  $50 Quail Dunes, Fort Morgan  |  $20



The Bridges, Montrose  |  $35 EXCLUSIVE Cedaredge, Cedaredge | $35 Devil’s Thumb, Delta  |  $35 Links at Cobble Creek, Montrose  |  $49 NEW Redlands Mesa, Grand Junction  |  $60 Tiara Rado, Grand Junction  |  $50

Antler Creek, Falcon  |  $31 EXCLUSIVE Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colo. Springs (SEMI-PRIVATE)  |  $75 EXCLUSIVE Country Club at Woodmoor, Monument (SEMI-PRIVATE)  |  $40 EXCLUSIVE Four Mile Ranch, Cañon City  |  $40 EXCLUSIVE King’s Deer, Monument  |  $30 EXCLUSIVE Walking Stick, Pueblo  |  $39.50

DENVER METRO REGION Applewood, Golden | $35 Black Bear, Parker (PRIVATE)  |  $79 EXCLUSIVE NEW Broadlands, Broomfield | $45 Broken Tee, Englewood  |  $35 Buffalo Run, Commerce City  |  $44 The Club at Inverness, Englewood (SEMI-PRIVATE)  |  $70 EXCLUSIVE Colorado National, Erie  |  $51.50 CommonGround, Aurora  |  $53 EXCLUSIVE Eagle Trace, Broomfield  |  $30 Family Sports, Centennial  |  $21/9 holes Foothills, Denver | $39 Fox Hollow, Lakewood  |  $50 Green Valley Ranch, Denver  |  $39 EXCLUSIVE Heritage Eagle Bend, Aurora  |  $45 Homestead, Lakewood | $40 The Greg Mastriona at Hyland Hills Blue, Westminster  |  $25 The Greg Mastriona at Hyland Hills Gold, Westminster  |  $45 The Greg Mastriona at Hyland Hills Par 3, Westminster  |  $12

Indian Tree, Arvada  |  $43 EXCLUSIVE Legacy Ridge, Westminster  |  $50 + tax The Links, Highlands Ranch  |  $41 Littleton Golf & Tennis, Littleton  |  $30 Lone Tree Golf Club & Hotel, Lone Tree  |  $58 The Meadows, Littleton  |  $43 Murphy Creek, Aurora  |  $42 EXCLUSIVE Omni Interlocken, Broomfield  |  $62 Perry Park Country Club, Larkspur (PRIVATE)  |  $79 EXCLUSIVE Plum Creek, Castle Rock  |  $45 Raccoon Creek, Littleton  |  $42 The Ridge at Castle Pines, Castle Pines  |  $59 EXCLUSIVE South Suburban Par 3, Centennial  |  $9 Thorncreek, Thornton | $47 Todd Creek, Thornton  |  $40 EXCLUSIVE University of Denver Golf Club, Highlands Ranch  |  $49 Walnut Creek Golf Preserve, Westminster  |  $50 + tax

Six Courses ~Within~

Six Minutes CasaBlancaResort.com | 1-877-438-2929

Plus, your membership includes these additional benefits: A FREE GOLF VACATION

Stay two nights at the CasaBlanca hotel in Mesquite, Nevada and play two rounds at The Palms or CasaBlanca courses. This wonderful golf vacation is free for a limited time. Included with any membership purchase of $79.95 and above. While supplies last.




Redeem your offer for a free Tomahawk Edge Hybrid (valued at $249) and Wedge (valued at $149) from Warrior Custom Golf.

Coupons and exclusive deals at the PGA TOUR Superstore, GOLFTEC and more!

Receive 25% off your total check or 2-for-1 entrées at more than 80 restaurants! These offers are unlimited and come with 2 memberships so that you and a friend can both enjoy. Preferred Clientele Club offers can be used at restaurants such as Wash Park Grille, Nonna’s Italian Bistro, Dickey’s, Delectable Egg and more.

S&H not included. While supplies last.

BALLS for PLAY and BEER Keep your one dozen Callaway Chrome Soft Golf Balls for play, turn them in for a drink, or do both! Use the balls on the course or bring them to any Otra Vez, Tavern or THG location to exchange for a free beer or margarita. Included with purchase of a $79.95 or $109.95 Golf Passport membership.

TWO WAYS TO BUY! Purchase your Golf Passport online at coloradoavidgolfer.com/golf-passport or at a PGA TOUR Superstore location near you today!

Proud Sponsor of Great Drives Golf Passport Member Conditions: 2020 Member Privileges. All rates include a cart. Visit coloradoavidgolfer.com/golf-passport for complete details regarding rates, available tee times, number of rounds and reservation policy. Tee time requests are on a space available basis to Golf Passport members and participating courses’ rain check policies will apply. Unless otherwise stated, the golf offers are good from January 1, 2020 – December, 31 2020, excluding holidays, special events, tournaments or closure to environmental or economic conditions. Mountain seasons may vary slightly. The Golf Passport is limited to one per person and is non-transferable. Prices do not include sales tax. Some courses may require a credit card to secure a tee time prior to play. If a tee time is cancelled, the golf course may charge for its discounted fee. Colorado AvidGolfer reserves the right to make reasonable modifications to the Golf Passport, effective upon notice by e-mail or first class mail to the Golf Passport member. A Golf Passport member may reject any such modification by responding in writing to Colorado AvidGolfer and returning the Golf Passport within ten (10) days. The Golf Passport member will receive a prorated refund. However, no refund will be given if the Golf Passport Member received the Complimentary Two-Night Stay at CasaBlanca Resort and Two Rounds of Golf at CasaBlanca or The Palms Golf Club. The Golf Passport member agrees that he or she is not entitled to any additional compensation. Colorado AvidGolfer disclaims all liability for damage or loss of property or injury to any person occurring while using the Golf Passport. If ordered online, please allow up to 10 days for delivery of your Golf Passport. Golf Passport membership includes a digital subscription to Colorado AvidGolfer with the option to opt-in to the mailing subscription for an additional fee. Members will also be subscribed to the Colorado AvidGolfer weekly newsletter list and can unsubscribe at any time.



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*2020 New Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE SUV-This is a closed end lease based on LA706641 with MSRP $72,550. Lease for $699 per month for 39 months with 7,500 miles per year. $5,995 due at signing includes $4401 down payment, first month payment of $699, and bank acquisition fee of $895. Taxes, Dealer fee, and motor vehicle fees are not included. $0 security deposit. Not all customers will qualify for security deposit waiver. For well-qualified lessees as determined by the approved lender. Not all buyers will qualify. Residential restrictions may apply. Contact Land Rover Denver for more details. Photo of vehicle is for illustrative purpose only. Offer expires 3/31/2020








Some of the greatest of all time have played at The Broadmoor Golf Club. Join the ranks on two iconic, championship courses set in the Cheyenne Mountain foothills of Colorado Springs. Then relax each night with the unmatched hospitality and spirit of the American West. Visit broadmoor.com to plan your trip.

Proudly hosting the 2025 U.S. Senior Open.



The newest inductee to the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame has overseen all golf-related activities at The Broadmoor for over 20 years. Twice named the Golf Person of the Year in Colorado, Russ helped shape The Broadmoor Golf Club into one of the most celebrated set of courses in the world. The Colorado Golf Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor.




The Gallery



A Jim-Dandy ON AND OFF the golf course, Jimmy Vickers never shrank from big moments. One of the four younger brothers of the late Castle Pines Golf Club patriarch Jack Vickers, Jimmy won the 1952 NCAA Men’s individual championship while playing for the University of Oklahoma; competed in 15 U.S. Amateurs and two U.S. Opens; narrowly missed the cut at the 1966 Masters; played in 41 Bing Crosby Pro-Ams, winning the 1977 event with pro Leonard Thompson; and captured two

World Seniors Golf Championships. For Vickers, who died Jan. 7 at age 91, no giant was too big to slay. In the finals of the 1950 Western Amateur in Dallas, he upset “the Toledo Strongman,” two-time British Amateur Champion Frank Stranahan, who would win six times on the PGA TOUR. Two years later, in the NCAA finals, he defeated Eddie Merrins, a future member of 11 golf halls of fame and “teacher to the stars” at BelAir Country Club. In 1953, future World Golf Hall of Famer Gene Littler, the winner of 29 PGA TOUR events, fell to Vickers in the semifinals of the TransMississippi Championship at Kansas Country Club. The Wichita native’s Colorado achievements were no less impressive. While attending Denver’s Regis University in 1949, he captured the Colorado Golf Association Match Play championship at Denver Country Club by defeating Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Bob Clark, 2&1. He would defend his title the following year with a 3&2 victory over Paul Gore at Lakewood. Later on, his involvement with brother Jack in the development of RANGER JIM: A yellowing clip from 1949 shows the Regis student

Castle Pines Golf Club helped bring an Augustaesque “national” club to the Centennial State. He involved himself heavily in the creation of The International, devising the modified Stableford System that distinguished it from the myriad strokeplay contests on the PGA TOUR. His wealth of golf connections and irrepressible personality helped attract competitors from around the world. For his playing accomplishments as well as his service to the game (he served on the boards of the Trans-Mississippi Golf Association, Western Golf Association and the Evans Scholarship), Vickers entered the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2013. The last of the three new inductees to speak, he commanded the stage for nearly 45 minutes. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, he amused the audience with anecdotes from a well-lived life in golf.

receiving the first of his two straight State Match Play trophies.

More than a Coach


and Match Play Championships last year. She began taking lessons from Stearman at age nine. “He was Mary’s coach for as long as she’s played golf and teaching her was one of his proudest accomplishments,” his daughter Kelly Bar-Or said. The winner of the 2019 Summit League individual championship and the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame’s Person of the Year, Weinstein called Stearman her “personal golf coach and best friend” after last year’s state Match Play victory. “He taught everyone individually,” she said in January. “He didn’t try to put a player into a specific swing, but match the swing to the player— and I was super-grateful for that. On a personal level, he was extremely kind and extremely loving in a grandfatherly kind of way. I always had Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners with him and his family.” Although he also ran group programs, Stearman believed in individualized attention. “I tell my kids, ‘If I do my job right, you’ll become your best teacher,’” he said. Students like Weinstein are now finding that out for themselves. “Terry was my role model,



COLORADO JUNIOR GOLF lost one of its most passionate instructors when Terry Stearman passed away December 2 at age 77. At one time or another, the native Australian had coached some of the state’s best young players, and like a proud grandfather, he hung photos of them, often holding trophies, on the walls of the office from which he operated at Family Sports Center in Centennial. For more than 15 years, his affordable golf program focused on aspiring golfers from middleclass families who “don’t belong to country clubs,” he said in a 2013 CAG interview. “Nor do they fit The First Tee profile.” He counted hundreds of juniors among his charges. At one point or another, standouts such as Allie Johnson, Tyler Zhang, Gillian Vance, Delaney Elliott, Morgan Sahm, Delaney Benson, Elizabeth Wang, Katie Berrian, Dani and Max Urman, Katy Dyachkova, Claudia Davis, Hannah More and Chris Weinstein called Stearman their coach. Perhaps the most notable beneficiary of his teaching is Chris Weinstein’s sister, Mary, the University of Denver senior who dominated both the Colorado Golf Association’s Women’s Stroke Play

STUDENT-TEACHER: Mary Weinstein and Terry Stearman in San Diego for the 2017 U.S. Women’s Am.

the most important person in my life,” she says. “Even though he’s passed away and I’m on my own, I can look at what I’m doing and figure it out for myself. I always will be grateful for his time and the lessons that he taught me.” Spring 2020 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER

The Gallery

Expanding the Castle

Shane Comes Back AFTER YEARS OF injuries and conditional status on the Korn Ferry and PGA TOUR, Parker resident Shane Bertsch will make his debut on the PGA TOUR Champions as a fully exempt player at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic April 17. Bertsch, who turns 50 on March 30, earned the exemption by winning December’s PGA TOUR Champions Qualifying Tournament Final Stage. He shot 7067-65-65 for a 17-under 267 at TPC Scottsdale, edging Thongchai Jaidee by a stroke (Jaidee, Robert Karlsson, Robin Byrd and Stephen Leaney also COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020

received full exemptions). “I can't wait. It feels so good to be out here with guys I haven’t seen forever,” Bertsch told PGATour.com. “I feel like I kind of belong again.” Since his first pro start in 1992, the former Texas A&M Aggie posted five top-10s in 194 starts on the PGA TOUR and three wins in 325 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour. “I told everyone that there's a guy like me that makes it, a guy that's had a long journeyman-type career and gets a shot at the Champions Tour,” Bertsch said. “I'm just glad I get a shot this next year.”




for viewing the competition on four new paddle tennis courts. “We are very excited about starting off 2020 with the mandate to create new amenities and improvements that elevate the total member experience for the entire family,” the club’s Chief Operating Officer Dave Whalen said. “This is an exciting new chapter for The Country Club at Castle Pines, and we can’t wait to offer our members and their guests a worldclass experience beyond golf and dining among the most picturesque landscape in all of Denver.” With the Front Range’s population growing, so is the need for private clubs like The Country Club at Castle Pines to provide all-encompassing services, family-friendly amenities, increased programming and “experience-oriented” CLUBBING WAY UP: Upgrades to The Country Club at Castle Pines include grander dining and social features, infinityenvironments. These changes aren’t just edge outdoor pools, fitness areas, paddle tennis, pickleball, tennis and an indoor/outdoor golf performance center. to pamper existing members, but also to appeal to prospective ones in a competDECEMBER’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF a $17.1 nis. The club will also add an indoor/outdoor golf itive market. million expansion of The Country Club at Castle performance center to its already expansive 20Over the last five years, numerous DenverPines marked the culmination of a long process. acre practice facility. area clubs have invested heavily in improvements. After members voted down a $22.5 million FaThe club’s most recent renovation of note Among the more notable: Morrison’s Red Rocks cilities Master Plan (itself the result of two years was the 2012 addition of an expansive wrapCountry Club; The Ranch Country Club in Westof research and preparation) in August of 2018, around dining-room patio with views of Pikes minster; Columbine Country Club near Littleton; the committee developed a somewhat dialed-back Peak, Devil’s Head and the Front Range. Denver Country Club; and, less than a mile from version with comparable impact on the services The new clubhouse plans call for the dining The Country Club at Castle Pines as the hummingand amenities offered by the private, memberroom and patio to expand once again to feature bird flies, Castle Pines Golf Club. owned facility. an exclusive dining space capable of larger func“The members are very excited about all the Instead of focusing on what would have tions, “where members and their guests will enjoy coming improvements,” said Larry Woods, presbeen, the 33-year-old club is naturally emphaa modernly rustic-but-modern indoor/outdoor ex- ident of the CCCP’s board of directors. “There sizing the numerous upgrades that will transform perience that just can’t be duplicated,” according has always been a sense of pride among the comit from a traditional golf club with a world-class to a press release. munity in the club, the golf course and the wide championship Jack Nicklaus Signature course Plans also call for an infinity-edge pool with range of benefits and amenities offered here. The and a lively restaurant and patio into a full-service adult and children’s environments directly over- experiences of the past year and a half have only country club with even grander dining and social looking the mountains. Members soon will enjoy strengthened that pride and I expect it will grow features, as well as such cliffside amenities as poolside dining and drinks from the new warming even stronger as we all take advantage of the newpools, fitness, paddle tennis, pickleball and tenhut that will also feature fitness and social space est amenities.” ccatcastlepines.com

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The Gallery



WHAT’S UP WITH the Colorado State men’s golf team? Their national ranking. As of February 1, Golfstat ranks the Rams fifth in the nation, and Golfweek places them eighth. During the fall season, Christian Newton’s squad won three of its four tournaments—the Ram Masters Invitational at Fort Collins Country Club, Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Alabama and St. Mary’s Invitational at Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach. It marks only the fifth time in program history that a CSU team has won three or more events in a season. Led by senior AJ Ott of Fort Collins, ROLLING WITH THE TIDE: Colorado State’s Davis Bryant, sophomore Davis Bryant of Aurora and jumedalist Parathakorn “Poon” Suyasri, Oscar Teiffel, Jack nior Parathakorn “Poon” Suyasri of ThaiAinscough, AJ Ott and head Coach Christian Nelson flank Jerry Pate after winning October’s Jerry Pate National land, the Rams have proven they can play Intercollegiate outside Birmingham, Alabama. consistently in different climates. Suyasri went 11-under to earn medalist honors in the Jerry Pate event, and Bryant carded a 7-under 64 at Poppy. Ott, who won last year’s Southwestern Amateur and was the low amateur at the Colorado Open, has shot par or better in eight of his 11 rounds. The team’s number four and five players, Jack Ainscough (Durham, England) and Oscar Teiffel (Gothenburg, Sweden), have both demonstrated consistency. Eight events, including May’s Mountain West Championship, remain before the NCAA Regionals. The team’s goal is to reach the NCAA Nationals for the first time since 2011, a year before coach Newton took the job. csurams.com/sports/mens-golf

Herman “Chubb” Harden, who directed the City Park Junior Golf program for 23 years, died November 17. Harden devoted himself so selflessly to teaching thousands of junior golfers (including future PGA Tour pros Jonathan Kaye and Tom Woodard and Colorado Golf Association Executive Director Ed Mate) that The First Tee named its four-hole course at City Park “Chubb’s Course.” The name—and his legacy—will remain when the renovated City Park Golf Course reopens this year.

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The Gallery

Golf by Numbers


years after achieving the highest finish in school history in the NCAA National Championship, the 2008-2009 University of Denver women’s golf team will be inducted May 16 into the DU Athletic Hall of Fame. In only its 10th year of existence, the team— consisting of Stephanie Sherlock, Katie Kempter, Sarah Faller, current Ladies European Tour player Ellie Givens and current Oregon State University coach Dawn Shockley—placed fifth at Nationals one year after finishing sixth. Coached by Sammie Chergo with current coach Lindsay Kuhle (née Hulwick) as assistant coach, the squad had four team victories that year. Sherlock, who won a program-record six individual titles in her career will also be inducted individually. denverpioneers.com

teams with Colorado ties played in December’s annual PNC Father-Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, and both finished in the top 10. After an opening-round 12-under 60 tied them for second place with eventual winners Bernhard and Jason Donald Langer, David and Brady Duval came in fourth at 21-under, three shots behind. Hale and Steve Irwin carded a 61 on the second day to vault seven spots into eighth place at 18-under. The Irwins won the event in 2003, and Duval partnered with his stepson, Nick Karavites, to take the 2016 title. pncfathersonchallenge.com




year after winning the National Golf Course Owners Association’s West Region Course of the Year, Golden’s Applewood Golf Course has earned another honor from the NGCOA. In December, the Charleston, S.C.-based organization named Applewood’s Golf Fore Life Learning Center a winner of its Player Development Award, which is “bestowed upon a course, entity or individual which has implemented true and tested player development programs, providing effective return-on-investment and an overall welcoming atmosphere for new golfers of all ages.” The course received its award January 22 at a Golf Business Conference Celebration and Awards Dinner in Orlando. applewoodgc.com

A HALL OF A TEAM: The 2008-2009 DU Pioneers women’s golf team, which finished fifth in the nation, will be inducted into the DU Athletic Hall of Fame. From left to right: Sarah Faller, Ellie Givens, Assistant Coach Lindsay Kuhle, Head Coach Sammie Chergo, Associate Athletic Director Ron Grahame, Stephanie Sherlock, Katie Kempter and Dawn Shockley.

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Player’s Corner PLAY AWAY

LAKEFRONT PROPERTY: A trio of waterfalls divides Ross Bridge’s ninth and 18th greens.

End of the Trail? Having visited all 11 sites on Alabama’s groundbreaking Robert Trent Jones Trail, a golfer inventories the experience.  By Tony Dear

TAKE THE PLUNGE: The opener of Capitol Hill’s Judge course is the Trail’s signature hole.


Ross Bridge had opened the year before and was the last of the Robert Trent Jones Trail courses to come on board, meaning it was really Roger Rulewich and Bobby Vaughan who designed it (Old Man Jones had passed in 2000). The pictures were lovely, and I’d heard good things about the place from a handful of friends. But at 8,191 yards from the back tees, it was one of the longest courses in the world, and with such wet turf all those yards were going to stretch even further. Still, I’ve always been of the view that if it’s 95˚ out it may as well be 120˚. If I still have the light on reading or working at 1 a.m., why not go until 2? It’s all the same to me. So, if I was going to play a course this long, what difference would another couple of hundred yards make? This was 2006, and I was working on an article for a British mag about what it was like to play over 8,000 yards of golf which, 14 years ago, was an awful lot further than it is today. I mean, my driverhead was made of metal and my ball had a urethane cover, but it wasn’t all dialed in like it is today. I’d face this behemoth with Director of Golf


Chip Purser. Chip introduced himself and asked if this really was what I still wanted to do. He then said no one in the 18 months the course had been open had been stupid enough to play every hole from the tips. “People play a few from all the way back, sure” he added, “but certainly not all of them.” Even the senior pros lopped nearly 700 yards off the full distance when they played Ross Bridge for the Regions Charity Classic from 2006 to 2010. To cut a very, very long story short, I had a bit of a nightmare. Really, the one highlight of the round was watching Chip’s 3-wood approach from 275 yards at the 571-yard 16th (the shortest Par 5 on the course by 48 yards) carry the front bunker and roll to within a few feet of the hole. It was one of the best shots I’ve ever seen. “I remember that shot, and thanks for helping me relive it,” Purser said in October after I reminded him of the round. “And do you remember how tired you were after playing the beast? I took a picture of you slumped over the cart like the ropes of a prize fight you barely survived.” The photo is long gone sadly, but absolutely I recall Spring 2020 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


IT WAS LATE, and the shiny surfaces below indicated rain. Indeed, the TV in the arrival lounge showed several inches had fallen on Birmingham, Ala., over the last few days. It really didn’t augur well, for the next morning’s plan was to play Ross Bridge…from the tips.

Play Away

AWASH IN BEAUTY: Water guards the closer of the Backbreaker 9 at Silver Lakes (left) and the 15th at Grand National’s Lake Course (below).


Shoals; battling a network TV segment-worthy downpour at Hampton Cove then walking through the steam as the hot sun emerged a few minutes later; the amazing opening hole on the Judge at Capitol Hill; some really firm, fast, and heavily contoured greens at Grand National; some major undulations at Oxmoor Valley; the superb Short Course at Magnolia Grove. It’s been fun. Despite all the courses being designed by the same guy (well, you know what I mean), and therefore having much in common, there are enough features peculiar to each site to distinguish them from each other. They are still affordable ($65-$130), can be as accommodating or taxing as you want (18-hole courses usually range from 4,500-7,500 yards, and while Ross Bridge might extend beyond most people’s capabilities, you can play it from 5,312 yards if you wish), and if there isn’t a top-quality hotel (Marri-

ott/Renaissance) on-site, there are plenty of good options close by. The RTJ Trail is a very tightly run ship with an undeniable impact on the Alabama economy. More than 8,000 houses have sprouted around the properties, along with over five million square feet of commercial space generating hundreds of millions of tax dollars. The initial construction project generated 77,000 new jobs directly and indirectly, and today there are 54,000 more tourism jobs than there were before the Trail opened. It has been a major contributor to the State’s soaring tourism income—$3 billion in 1990 compared with over $13 billion now. That money is being spent by guys like Jim Ponciroli, John Kitzie and George Blatt—guys from out of state who have been coming to play the Trail with their buddies or significant others for a decade or more. PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL CLEMMER

collapsing onto the cart. I bring up this ancient history because it remains my most vivid memory from the RTJ Trail which I completed last Spring—which is to say, I have now visited all 11 sites, though certainly haven’t played all 32 courses (standard, nine-hole, Par 3) and 468 holes. We all know the story of this impressive project. In the late 1980s, Dr. David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), sought to diversify the State pension fund’s assets and, inspired by the movie Field of Dreams—and the line “Build it and he will come” in particular— hit upon the idea of creating a chain of affordable, public golf courses located close to the Interstate System. Not only would it boost tourism, Bronner also hoped it would stimulate commercial activity and attract retirees. Bronner enlisted Bobby Vaughan, a former director of golf from North Carolina, to procure the necessary land and form alliances with municipalities, corporations and private developers. Together, they decided the course architect whose name would guarantee maximum exposure was Robert Trent Jones, who had designed or redesigned over 500 courses around the world. Having reached his mid-80s, however, Jones was semi-retired. He did manage to visit the sites and draw up routings, but he left the detailed work to Rulewich, his senior associate, who had joined Jones’s firm after graduating from Yale in 1958. Besides doing myself harm on a long, humid day at Ross Bridge in 2006, what else do I remember from half a dozen trips over the last 13 years? Sweeping the dew shortly after dawn on the beautiful Backbreaker Nine at Silver Lakes in 2018 comes to mind, as does my first experience of Perry Maxwell holes at Lakewood, which the RSA purchased in 1999. Joe Lee added nine holes in 1967; Ron Garl nine more in ’86; and Vaughan renovated it in 2004 (I never did quite work out who built what at Lakewood, but the Maxwell holes definitely stood out). I remember playing perhaps the prettiest hole I ever saw–the 18th on Fighting Joe at the

UNDULANT AND PETULANT: The first green on Oxmoor Valley’s Ridge course welcomes well-struck approaches. Just don’t come up short or try to run it up.



Play Away

Ponciroli, from St. Louis, comes for eight or ing are exceptional and consistent,” he says. “It’s nine days every year with his wife Karen and ena great value, and the starters couldn’t be nicer.” joys the Lakes Course at Grand National best of “And Melissa in reservations is the best,” he all, though he also has a soft spot for Ross Bridge adds, emphasizing the professionalism and effiand the Senator at Capitol Hill. “We used to play ciency of the almost legendary Melissa Hawkins. the Judge there too,” he says. “But it’s too difficult “The RTJ Trail was a fabulous idea,” he continues. for us now. Plenty of the other courses are easier “I had never been to Alabama before I played the to walk, though, so we always find somewhere we Trail and now I’ve been more than 20 times. And enjoy. We usually start in Florence and then loop it’s been incredible to see the impact it has had through Birmingham, Prattville, Opelika, back to on the state over the years.” Birmingham, and then Huntsville before we drive back home.” Atlanta resident Kitzie has his system down too. “I’ve been coming every year since ‘99, and now come every April with four to eight buddies,” he says. “It’s ideal because we can play 36 holes a day and stay right on the course. We usually go for four days and play six rounds.” After playing most of the Trail courses, Kitzie’s group now rotates between Opelika, Oxmoor/Ross Bridge and Capitol Hill. “The logistics just work,” he says. Blatt, 72, now lives in Sarasota, Fla., and started visiting in 2006. He comes for a week every January and plays Magnolia Grove, Grand National, Capitol SCENIC ENDING: The par-3 18th of The Shoals’ 8,092-yard Fighting Hill and Cambrian Ridge, his faJoe course perches majestically above the Tennessee River. vorite. He plays at least 36 every day, and oftentimes will get the first tee time in He’s not wrong. What the RTJ Trail has done the morning and squeeze in 45. “Playing in Janfor the State of Alabama is nothing short of pheuary, we can have the courses to ourselves,” he nomenal. Having seen all 11 facilities now, I’ve says. “You can’t beat it.” seen the effect it’s had. It’s staggering, mindbogThough all three gentlemen are clearly fans gling, implausible, inconceivable. of the RTJ Trail, it is Kitzie who emerges as its No, not inconceivable. David Bronner had a biggest cheerleader. “The service and conditionhunch it might work and, boy, was he ever right. Tony Dear, a CAG Contributor, regularly writes the gear column for coloradoavidgolfer.com. For more on the Robert Trent Jones Trail, visit rtjgolf.com or call 800-949-4444, option 2. Direct flights leave from Denver to Alabama airports in Huntsville (HSV), Birmingham (BHM) and Mobile (BFM), as well as Pensacola (PNS) in Florida.





Photos: Tyana Arviso

BIPARTISANSHIP AT WORK: The green on the short par-4 third at Capitol Hill’s links-style Senator course shares a surface with the longish par-3 seventh.

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Player’s Corner LESSON

Forget Your Just Deserts If you stray, you pay—that’s usually the rule when your ball leaves an Arizona fairway. But it doesn’t always have to be this way.  By Alex Fisher OFTEN CALLED target golf, Southwest desert courses usually have narrow fairways and little to no rough. An errant tee shot typically ends up in the desert—and that’s where the fun starts! Desert golf demands creativity. Locals who frequent these courses carry one specific club—usually a wedge they don’t mind beating up—just to escape the junk. Desert lies can be very unpredictable. Hardpan lies, discussed in the previous issue, are common, but you’ll more often find your golf ball nestled in some form of desert shrubbery after it stops rolling. Predicting what the golf ball is going to do out of these lies can be almost impossible. One of the most challenging situations occurs when your golf ball comes to rest in some “Desert Cabbage”—a bunch of wild grass elevated above the ground. Hitting a golf ball off of the ground is one thing, but having to hit a ball suspended above it is quite another.

Instead of taking an “unplayable” or invoking “winter rules” with your foot, give the following a try: •  Before pulling a club out of your bag, evaluate the lie and determine what it’s going to give you. More often than not, golfers tend to play “hero golf” and try and pull off some miraculous shot—only to put themselves in worse situations. •  Secondly, are you able to ground the club without the ball moving? You more than likely are going to have to hover the club at address so that you don’t accidentally move the ball or get the clubhead stuck on your takeaway. •  Lastly, you’re going to have to choke up on the grip and make your swing plane flatter to compensate for the ball being above the ground. This will help you avoid the club going underneath the ball and completely missing it.



DETERMINE SWING PLANE A flatter swing plane is essential to hitting a ball that is above the ground. Make a practice swing, stopping at the midpoint of your backswing. Make sure the butt end of the golf club is pointing directly toward the golf ball. If it is pointing to the inside (the area between your feet and the ball), then your swing plane is too steep and you will whiff.


SETUP Establish a firm footing at address so that you don’t slip at any point during the swing. Leaning a little towards your front foot will help you with your footing, as well as create a steeper angle of attack for the club to get through the shrubbery. Lastly, place your hands lower down on the grip so that you can adjust for the golf ball being closer to you and so you don’t ground the club.






BACKSWING Avoid any weight shift to your back foot like you would normally do in a regular swing. Instead, feel like you are swinging the golf club back with your arms only and using as little body rotation as possible. Because you’re choking down on the handle, your backswing will be slightly abbreviated and shorter. This will give you more control.


DOWNSWING Maintaining posture and spine angle should be your main focus on the downswing. Trying to keep the tempo of your golf swing under control and not trying to hit a home run will certainly help. Maintaining your chest’s distance from the ball is a good swing thought to have.


IMPACT As you’re driving your weight toward your front foot, extend your trailing arm (right for right-handed golfers) as hard as you can. You have to utilize the leverage and power it has in order to get the club to cut through the thick grass.


FINISH Full commitment is key to sticking your finish and staying balanced throughout the swing. The majority of your weight should end up on your front foot and your upper body should be facing the target. If at any point you back out of the shot, you’re likely to get yourself in further trouble.

Alex Fisher is the PGA Director of Instruction at the JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and at Glacier Club in Durango during the summer months. Reach him at alexfisherpga.com or 602-363-9800. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020




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Player’s Corner 15TH CLUB

Swing Into Spring Prevent injury and increase mobility with these functional movements. By Jamie White COMING OUT OF hibernation from the Colorado winter means preparing effectively with a functional golf mobility program. As a Gray Institute Functional Golf Specialist, I utilize a program with my players that encompasses more than 240 exercises, covers 66 transformational zones and progresses players in stages through mobility, stability, strength, endur-

ance and recovery. This same program has been highlighted on the Golf Channel’s Driven, which follows Oklahoma State University’s golf team. The moves here mirror the four stages of the golf swing. While representing only a fraction of what I teach, they should get you moving in the right direction this spring.







A.  From the address position, raise arms overhead and lunge laterally right with trail leg and flex spine to the left towards the target, keeping arms and spine angle the same as address. B.  From that position, take trail leg and cross over lead leg, flexing the spine and arms to the right.

A.  Get into setup position and rotate into backswing. B.  Lead leg will internally rotate over the trail foot, and trail arm will load into the top of the swing creating greater hip mobility and larger thoracic spine rotation.





A.  Start with arms at shoulder height in address position. With trail foot and trail arm step forward over lead side. B.  Lead side arm will flex overhead toward the golf ball creating side bend and flexion in the spine. (This is a great mobility drill to feel the weight shift for better impact and better spine angles.)



A.  Start at address position, let the arms pass the torso and try to extend arms high. B. Take trail leg and do a forward lunge toward the ball. This will create greater mobility in the torso and shoulders. (Note: This is crucial for turning through the ball and allowing the big muscles to sequence the swing and eliminate flipping with the hands.)

Jamie White is co-owner of Denver Golf Performance, a facility dedicated to fitness, instruction, nutrition and recovery. A Titleist Performance Institute Level 3 Golf, Fitness and Junior Development coach, he specializes in bridging the gap between fitness and instruction for uncompromised results. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020




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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



TOPGRUB: Topgolf’s CAGGYwinning fare includes (from left) flatbread pizza, drinks in golf-bag pitchers, fried chicken and waffles; and filled doughnut holes (below)

Fare Above Par

Topgolf and Blackstone raise the bar on Colorado golf cuisine.  By John Lehndorff THERE ARE NO club sandwiches on the menu at Blackstone Country Club or at Topgolf. These are not your grandfather’s golf facilities and they do not serve the same old roster of dishes that have defined “golf food” forever. Your votes in the 18th annual CAGGY Awards earned Topgolf (in Thornton and Centennial) top honors for the best food at a Colorado public golf facility. Aurora’s Blackstone Country Club took top honors for the best served at a private golf club. After tasting the fare at both places, it’s obvious that the future of dining for golfers of all persuasions is bright. These are very different venues and experiences, but each offers a refreshing approach—from Topgolf’s injectable doughnut holes to Blackstone’s almond-crusted halibut with shrimp and chorizo risotto.

HOME COOKING ON THE TOPGOLF RANGE Topgolf is an eye-opener for any first-time visitor. The three-story, high-tech driving range makes it easy to enjoy golf with climate-controlled hitting bays that come with music, clubs to use and a video screen providing detailed results from micro-chipped golf balls. coloradoavidgolfer.com

One of the biggest surprises is just how good the food, drink and service is at Topgolf’s facilities across the nation. The chef-prepared fare made with non-institutional ingredients attracts golf fans who sometimes stop in for a meal and never actually pick up a club. I visited the recently opened Thornton Topgolf facility, but the four-year-old Centennial location features the same menu with a few tweaks. The complexes have common areas with fullservice food and drink on each level. Bays seat eight comfortably (six players plus two spectators) with a large communal table looking out on the huge netted range. An attentive bay host tablets orders and delivers food and drink rapidly—a plus since golfers rent the bay by the hour. Maria Galan, Topgolf’s executive chef in Thornton, says that the goal from the start was to serve restaurant quality fare. “The dishes on our menu are cooked from scratch, not pulled out of a freezer. Almost everything is made to be shareable, not fork-and-knife entrées,” she says. The coolest platter is the meat-and-cheese board surrounded by a huge freshly baked soft pretzel. Spilling out of the middle are slices of Genoa salami, grilled jalapeño sausage and prosciut-


to with pepperjack and Cheddar chunks plus fruit, berries and candied pecans. Dipping joy is provided by ramekins of horseradish Dijon and warm, house-made Pabst Blue Ribbon cheese sauce. Other great shareables include farmhouse flatbread pizzas on chewy naan bread, some well-constructed nachos and the truly exceptional Backyard Wings. The kitchen takes plump chicken wings—dry-rubbed and citrus-brined for 24 hours—roasts and then grills them until fall-apart tender and infuses them with garlic vinaigrette. Wing sauces from savory to fiery top them off.



TOPGOLF THORNTON 16011 Grant St., 303-785-6350 TOPGOLF CENTENNIAL 10601 E. Easter Ave., 720-880-3151; topgolf.com

BLACKSTONE COOKS UP MAGIC While The Fireside is located at Blackstone Country Club and surrounded by a 7,313-yard Jay Morrish-designed course, it is nothing like a standard seasonal golf grill. Besides serving golfers lunch and dinner fare and cocktails on the spacious patio, this is a

year-round restaurant and watering hole for members whose families call the neighborhood home. This private eatery sees many of the same customers week after week all year long. “We’re here to cook what they want. We survey them and we have a feedback committee that tell us how they feel about potential menu items—and they aren’t shy about it,” says Executive Chef Scott Ballard. He attributes the eatery’s success to the fact that the staff actually listens to members. You enter Blackstone’s expansive stone Tudor-style clubhouse under a towering wooden arch into The Fireside bar and restaurant. Boasting tons of natural light and roaring fireplaces, it has the potential to be clubby and stuffy, but the facility and menu have been designed to be comfortable and casual. Members enjoy everything from a quick Tuesday night burger with the kids to celebrations of major life events here, but nobody feels obliged to wear uncomfortable clothes. The names of the lunch and dinner dishes are not exotic, but the ingredient sourcing, preparation and plating elevates them significantly. “We call it familiar but refined,” Ballard says. Dinners can start with crowd-pleasers like Buffalo chicken wings and Asian potstickers. I lift a toast to the grilled crostini, which was born to snag a bite of creamy burrata cheese with pestolike walnut pistou sprinkled with black salt. Even die-hard Brussels sprouts haters are likely to get seduced by the sweet, salty, crunchy melding of fried sprouts with crispy candied bacon, Granny Smith apple and pistachios. Per members’ requests for healthconscious—but not boring—cuisine, The Fireside’s menus showcase many main-dish salads. Vitamin Greens are layered with roasted beets, watermelon radish, tomatoes, apple, toasted pumpkin seeds and blood orange vinaigrette. The Power Salad combines quinoa, goat cheese, dried blueberries and grilled lemon vinaigrette. Either can be dressed with grilled shrimp, salmon or chicken.

FISH STACK: Almond-crusted halibut crowns a layer of sautéed spinach atop a creamy shrimp-and-chorizo risotto.


BUILT TO REPAST: Blackstone’s tantalizing tenderloin steak stack with portobello mushrooms and asparagus.

The diverse specialty entrées have earned their way on to the menu, often after auditions as nightly specials. One flavor winner is the almondcrusted halibut. The firm-fleshed fish sits atop sautéed spinach and creamy shrimp-and-chorizo risotto. The most popular entrée is Asian beef tenderloin tips stir-fried with sesame oil, snowpeas, sweet chile oil and chewy soba noodles. On Saturday nights, The Fireside becomes a classic prime steakhouse that grills big steaks and lobster tails with a full salad bar. The prime rib has its own devotees as does the craveable buffet of serve-yourself sides: roasted asparagus, baked spuds, sautéed mushrooms and onions and cavatappi mac with cheddar, Asiago and Parmesan. The establishment eschews the steakhouse-sized wine libraries and focuses on good wines (including affordable reds and whites) not typically found in liquor stores. The Fireside’s mixologists concoct an array of cocktails such as the signature Smoked Manhattan served in a chilled,

FIRESIDE CHAP: Blackstone Executive Chef Scott Ballard ascribes much of the restaurant’s success to his staff’s responsiveness to member input.




You can tell a lot about a sports eatery by how seriously they take sandwiches, the perfect golf-watching meal. Topgolf’s burger is a fresh grind of different beef cuts that yields a nicely juicy patty with stellar toppings. The Sunrise is crowned with thick bacon, Cheddar and a fried egg. The cocktail program would be at home in many downtown Denver bars. Signature cocktails—like the pineapple punch powered by Captain Morgan Rum and Malibu Coconut Rum— pour from pitchers shaped like golf bags (or divot-mix containers). Besides a roster of local brews like Wibby IPL and Blue Moon Belgian White, Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne is always available for those hole-in-one moments. Mornings are busy here. Breakfast offerings start with a steady supply of good coffee, superfood bowls boasting acai, berries and bananas, granola and chia, and a substantial griddled breakfast burrito. Weekend mimosa brunches add fried chicken and Belgian waffle sliders and ahi and avocado toast plus an eggs Benedict atop crispy zucchini cakes. Some families “golf” here just for the cake doughnut holes with plastic injectors of chocolate, raspberry jelly and Bavarian cream filling. Kids and others have been known to just squirt them directly into their mouths.

Come Play the West Located in Arvada, Colorado, West Woods Golf Club is 27 holes of classic golf. The three courses – the Sleeping Indian, the Cottonwood and the Silo – were designed by one of Colorado’s best-known golf architects, Richard M. Phelps and his son, Rick. Each nine has a very different personality. Book a tee time online at WestWoodsGolf.com or call 720-898-7370.


6655 Quaker Street, Arvada, CO 80007 | 720-898-7370 | WestWoodsGolf.com



oak-smoked glass. The lunch menu includes the starters and salads and well-crafted sandwiches such as the prime rib French dip and the best-seller, a peppercorn-crusted Black Angus bleu cheeseburger with Balsamic onions on brioche. Chef Ballard says he studiously avoided putting a conventional club sandwich on the menu. Instead he proudly points to the Caddy Master, a “gooey grilled sourdough sandwich” middled with turkey, ham, bacon and Cheddar–best served with beer-battered onion rings. Ballard’s newest addition is a schnitzel-thin chicken fried ribeye steak with skin-on Colorado mashers and gravy. Pounded thin and lightly crusted, the steak overfills The Fireside’s biggest plates and exceeds expectations. Ballard and his staff obsess about culinary details that regulars take for granted. For instance, taco meats are smoked in-house and the soft corn tortillas are handmade. All the baguettes and other breads are baked on premises because they simply taste better. Ballard says he also wants to pass along skills to his young staff. “We try to always put some heart into what we cook,” he says. Blackstone is part of the ClubCorp family of clubs. Members have privileges at the nearby Black Bear Golf Club in Parker (which serves a casual gastropub menu) and they can also play

STARTER SET: Grilled crostini shares an appetizer plate with Granny Smith slices, a creamy burrata sprinkled with black salt and a pesto-like walnut pistou.

golf at more than 200 courses nationwide. Finally, I’m glad to see that both our reader favorites still pour sterling versions of my favorite golf-watching beverage: The Arnold Palmer.

BLACKSTONE COUNTRY CLUB 7777 S. Country Club Parkway, Aurora. 303-680-0245; clubcorp.com/clubs/ blackstone-black-bear

CAG Contributor John Lehndorff is the former dining critic of the Rocky Mountain News and food editor of the Daily Camera. He writes Nibbles for the Boulder Weekly and hosts Radio Nibbles on KGNU.





Battle of the High-End Hatchbacks The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, BMW X3M and Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 square off.  By Isaac Bouchard

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio


ONCE UPON A TIME, the compact sports sedan segment was where premium companies battled most fiercely. For generations, the BMW M3 would line up against various hot-rodded Mercedes-Benzes and occasional interlopers from companies like Cadillac, Jaguar and, lately, Alfa Romeo. Now that SUVs and crossovers rule, the combat zone for these prestige players has shifted to higher riding AWD hatchbacks. Since its debut, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio has been regarded as the finest driving compact crossover—better, in fact, than the Porsche Macan. In its ultimate, 505hp Quadrifoglio form, it makes a compelling candidate, with the sharpest steering, most incisive handling and an amazingly absorbent ride quality. Up against it, Mercedes-AMG refreshed the GLC 63 for 2020 with the latest electronics, including Benz’s AI-enhanced, cloud-based MBUX interfaces and tweaked driving modes for various conditions. A standard new locking rear diff aids in making the Slippery mode more useful during Colorado winters and in extreme track use. BMW’s X3M is an all-new offering, coming in priced and sized like the original X5M. Running a new inline, twin-turbo six-cylinder dubbed S58 that will power the new M3, it makes good on the promise of the latest BMW’s great bones. SPEED AND POWER In standard SUV guise the Benz “only” comes with a 469hp version of the hand-built (by one person and one person only) AMG 4-liter “hot V” engine. But its 479lb-ft, channeled through a slick 9-speed box, allow it to keep up with the other two, while outperforming them in au-


Mercedes-AMG GLC 63




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ral theatrics. Its bellowing V8 soundtrack lords it over the Alfa’s flatulent V6 and even the Bimmer’s smooth, sizzling, inline six. All three will hit 60 mph in the low 3-second range—which, frankly, is insane—and run mid-11-second quarter-mile times. (Note that the X3M that does this is the more expensive, 503hp, Competition version.)


How the SUV Saved the Sports Sedan The savior of the sports sedan might just turn out to be the SUV. While the latter has decimated the former’s sales, the all-wheel drive hardware and common platforms upon which both are now built make it possible for low, sleek and sexy four-doors to deploy the outrageous amounts of torque and horsepower anywhere, any time of year. No matter the road conditions, cars like the latest Benz E63S and BMW M5 can put down 600 hp, formerly the providence of only the most outrageous hypercars. Even the forthcoming M3 will have 500 ponies in its stable, and—you guessed it—standard AWD.

NOISE The BMW feels the most quiet and refined, as well as the best put together. Even though Mercedes has upgraded the GLC, it still allows more road and wind noise to intrude, and its interior materials feel a step down. But they’re still better than what the Stelvio has to offer (though, to be fair, Alfa has upgraded many interior parts and many of the electronics for ’20). COMFORT In normal, utility-vehicle duty, all three do well, with comfortable, supportive seats in front, decent-sized back benches and well-sized cargo holds. The Stelvio Quad’s excellent ride quality is a boon in urban use, where the Benz can seem a bit flat-footed. The BMW

splits the difference, as it does in many other respects. Its iDrive interface combines better ease-of-use than Mercedes MBUX yet does more than the Alfa’s antiquated setup. THE VERDICT While some may make a decision purely based on image, styling and other intangibles, rarely have three competitors been so evenly matched in performance or pleasure for the driver. If the roads are empty and there’s a chance to really get after it, nothing beats the Alfa Romeo. Its sheer verve and interactive nature mark it as a truly great driver’s vehicle—not just a great SUV. Slide its configurator to “Race” and revel in the kind of reflexes only the finest cars can rival. Those times are rare, however, and when it’s used in a more sedate manner, the Alpha’s turbo lag, cheap cockpit and anodyne exhaust don’t compare. Here’s where the AMG GLC 63 really shines, with its bombastic noises and sense of fun. Combining these attributes best is the BMW X3M Comp, whose virtues are more evenly spread and accessible more of the time.

SUV Scorecard Year, Make, Model

Price as Tested

MPG (hwy/city/avg)

0-60 mph


Horsepower (hp)

Torque (lb-ft)

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio



3.4 sec

12.0sec @ 115mph



2020 BMW X3M



3.3 sec

11.6sec @ 119mph



2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63



3.6 sec

12.0sec @ 115mph



Heavy-Duty Hauler 2020 CHEVROLET SILVERADO 2500HD

Price as tested: $48,420

I put Chevy’s all new Silverado 2500HD to the test with a 1,600-mile road trip to Texas and back. Built on what feels like the stiffest truck frame yet, it rode, handled and steered better than any heavy duty I’ve experienced, including the superb new Ram HDs. Particularly nice was how accurate the helm felt while hauling my enclosed, 6,000-pound trailer. It tracked perfectly, without the vagueness that almost always goes with towing—especially impressive given that it was equipped with offroad-ready, all-terrain tires. The standard engine—an all-new, 6.6liter V8—punches out 401 hp and a 464lb-ft of torque, enough to allow the 2500HD to effortlessly tow over mountain passes. This Silverado is also efficient, averaging exactly 8 mpg while towing at high speed, which is almost identical to the diesel Chevy I used to own. It also runs cheaper fuel and doesn’t need as many expensive oil changes nor mandatory diesel additive. The only thing holding it back is a carryover 6-speed automatic, which, while smoothshifting, could use more ratios. That is available if you upgrade to the excellent Duramax diesel, whose 445hp/910lb-ft are channeled through a COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020

new 10-speed. Compelling in its chiseled new suit, with its blocky forms and blunt front end sending the right, big-rig signals, the Chevy is larger in every dimension and a 5.2-inch stretch in wheelbase makes for a perfect-sized crew cab and bed. Thoughtful heavy-duty features include four integrated bed steps that make it easy to grab gear. Inside, however, Chevrolet has shifted into reverse, with uninspiring forms, cheap materials and a dearth of standard equipment. That’s sad, since the tech itself works fine, with a fastresponse screen, Apple and Android compatibility and brilliant, optional trailering aids including up to 15 views from the Silverado’s two cameras and a linked-in accessory cam that can see “through” an enclosed trailer to what’s behind. The Silverado is just an interior upgrade away from being the choicest heavy-duty rig out there. Ram’s got it beat inside, but I found the Chevrolet to have better body control and steering. Considering the relative antiquity of the Ford


competitor (and its history of diesel engine issues), this Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is very compelling, especially for the price. Automotive Editor Isaac Bouchard owns Denverbased 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


A RECORD-SETTING 6,389 of you participated in our 18th annual salute to the Best of Colorado Golf ! This represents an increase of nearly 40 percent over our previous high. Thank you! We tallied all of those votes in 60 categories for the top courses and clubs, teachers and travel destinations. Some courses and instructors evidently mounted better campaigns than others did; such is the democratic process. So, as usual, we supplemented the results with some alphabetized picks of our own. To see the winners, flip the page.


The Golf Club at Bear Dance



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PUBLIC & RESORT COURSES The Golf Club at Bear Dance, Larkspur 2. Arrowhead Golf Club, Littleton 3. The Ridge at Castle Pines, Castle Pines Staff Picks (alphabetical) The Golf Club at Bear Dance CommonGround Golf Course, Aurora Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, Denver The Ridge at Castle Pines


TPC Colorado, Berthoud 2. Pelican Lakes Golf Club, Windsor 3. Mariana Butte Golf Course, Loveland Staff Picks (alphabetical) Collindale Golf Course, Fort Collins Mariana Butte Golf Course TPC Colorado


Pole Creek Golf Club, Tabernash 2. Breckenridge Golf Club, Breckenridge 3. Red Sky Golf Club–Norman, Wolcott

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Red Sky Golf Club–Fazio, Wolcott The River Course at Keystone, Keystone Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club, Steamboat Springs Vail Golf Club, Vail

BEST SOUTHERN COURSE (Colorado Springs and below)

Broadmoor Golf Club, Colorado Springs 2. Patty Jewett Golf Course, Colorado Springs 3. Walking Stick Golf Course, Pueblo Staff Picks (alphabetical) Broadmoor Golf Club Country Club of Colorado, Colorado Springs Kissing Camels Golf Club, Colorado Springs



The Club at Redlands Mesa


Staff Picks (alphabetical) The Bridges Golf & Country Club, Montrose The Club at Redlands Mesa Tiara Rado Golf Course, Grand Junction

2. Devil’s Thumb Golf Course, Delta 3. Lakota Canyon Ranch Golf Club, New Castle


The Club at Redlands Mesa, Grand Junction

Eagle Trace Golf Club, Broomfield 2. Red Hawk Ridge Golf Course, Castle Rock 3. Aurora Hills Golf Course, Aurora Staff Picks (alphabetical) Applewood Golf Course, Golden Broken Tee Golf Course, Englewood Overland Park Golf Course, Denver



2. The Golf Club at Bear Dance 3. CommonGround Golf Course Staff Picks (alphabetical) Broken Tee Golf Course Colorado National Golf Course, Erie CommonGround Golf Course Green Valley Ranch Golf Club TPC Colorado





2. Broadmoor Golf Club 3. The Golf Club at Bear Dance Staff Picks (alphabetical) Green Valley Ranch Golf Club Murphy Creek Golf Course, Aurora Omni Interlocken Golf Club, Broomfield



The Golf Club at Bear Dance 2. Fossil Trace Golf Club, Golden 3. Broadmoor Golf Club

Coal Creek Golf Course

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Beaver Creek Golf Club, Beaver Creek The River Course at Keystone Willis Case Golf Course, Denver

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Green Valley Ranch Golf Club Legacy Ridge Golf Course, Westminster Meadow Hills Golf Course, Aurora


Broadmoor Golf Club (East Course)


2. The Golf Club at Bear Dance 3. Fossil Trace Golf Club

Broadmoor Golf Club

2. Omni Interlocken Golf Club 3. Red Sky Golf Club

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Pelican Lakes Golf Club The Ridge at Castle Pines Green Valley Ranch Golf Club

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Broadmoor Golf Club The Club at Inverness, Englewood Omni Interlocken Golf Club


Arrowhead Golf Club, No. 13 2. The Golf Club at Bear Dance, No. 17 3. Homestead Golf Course, Lakewood, No. 17 Staff Picks (alphabetical) Broadmoor Golf Club (East), No. 4 CommonGround Golf Course, No. 6 Gypsum Creek Golf Course, Gypsum, No. 17


2. CommonGround Golf Course 3. Aurora Hills Golf Course Staff Picks (alphabetical) Estes Park Golf Course Foothills Golf Course, Denver South Suburban Golf Course, Centennial


Riverdale Dunes Golf Course, Brighton, No. 15 2. The Golf Club at Bear Dance, No. 6 3. The Golf Club at Bear Dance, No. 16

BEST COURSE FOR WOMEN Applewood Golf Course

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Fox Hollow Golf Course (Canyon), Lakewood, No. 5 Saddle Rock Golf Course, Aurora, No. 10 Saddleback Golf Club, Firestone, No. 16

2. Aurora Hills Golf Course 3. CommonGround Golf Course Staff Picks (alphabetical) Adobe Creek National Golf Course, Fruita CommonGround Golf Course Fox Hollow Golf Course



2. Broadmoor Golf Club 3. The Golf Club at Bear Dance Staff Picks (alphabetical) Aspen Golf Club, Aspen Broadmoor Golf Club The Ridge at Castle Pines


Topgolf, Centennial 2. Broadmoor Golf Club 3. Applewood Golf Course Staff Picks (alphabetical) The Bridges Golf & Country Club Colorado National Golf Club Riverdale Golf Courses Vail Golf Club


2. Broadmoor Golf Club 3. The Golf Club at Bear Dance Staff Picks (alphabetical) The Club at Inverness Raccoon Creek Golf Course, Littleton Vail Golf Club


Coal Creek Golf Course, Louisville 2. CommonGround Golf Course 3. Applewood Golf Course

2. Fossil Trace Golf Club, No. 12 3. The Golf Club at Bear Dance, No. 18

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Fox Hollow Golf Course Riverdale Dunes Golf Course Red Hawk Ridge Golf Course

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Estes Park Golf Course, Estes Park, No. 17 Red Hawk Ridge Golf Course, No. 18 TPC Colorado, No. 13


Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, No. 18

The Golf Club at Bear Dance

T2. CommonGround Golf Course Riverdale Golf Courses



Aurora Hills Golf Course 2. CommonGround Golf Course 3. Applewood Golf Course Staff Picks (alphabetical) Aspen Golf Club Bella Rosa Golf Course, Frederick Flatirons Golf Course, Boulder

Applewood Golf Course




“ISN’T IT WONDERFUL?” Audrey Hepburn’s character says of the jewelry store in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “You see what I mean, how nothing bad could happen to you in a place like this?” It’s fair to say that anyone who has set foot on the property at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs has had a similar reaction. Featuring a feast of luxe lodging options, delectable restaurants, plush amenities and rustic adventures, Colorado’s only Forbes five-star, AAA five-diamond resort radiates refinement at every turn. It also treats its premier private membership—and its hotel guests, whom the resort considers visiting members—to 36 holes of stellar championship-level golf designed by Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones. We’re not alone in showering praise. GOLF magazine named it North America’s #1 Golf Resort and Golf Digest ranked it one of the continent’s 12 five-star properties. Everything—from the well-stocked golf shop to the impressive Heritage Hallway—pulses with a history that will continue with the 2025 U.S. Senior Open, its ninth USGA championship. At the event’s 2018 edition, Bernard Langer said The Broadmoor’s greens were tougher than Augusta National’s. In other words, nothing bad could ever happen there—except a few three-putts. But oh, what a place to have them!


2. Aurora Hills Golf Course 3. Applewood Golf Course Staff Picks (alphabetical) Overland Park Golf Course Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club, Aurora Indian Tree Golf Course, Arvada


Colorado National Golf Club 2. The Golf Club at Bear Dance 3. Arrowhead Golf Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) Deer Creek Golf Club, Littleton Green Valley Ranch Golf Club The Ridge at Castle Pines


Broken Tee Golf Course 2. Broadmoor Golf Club 3. Coal Creek Golf Course

Staff Picks (alphabetical) The Greg Mastriona Courses at Hyland Hills, Westminster The Links at Cobble Creek, Montrose Walnut Creek Golf Preserve, Westminster


Aurora Hills Golf Course 2. The Golf Club at Bear Dance 3. Bella Rosa Golf Course Staff Picks (alphabetical) Battlement Mesa Golf Course, Battlement Mesa Green Valley Ranch Golf Club Vail Golf Club


2. Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club 3. The Golf Club at Bear Dance Staff Picks (alphabetical) Reunion at Buffalo Run Golf Course, Commerce City Todd Creek Golf Club, Thornton Water Valley at Pelican Lakes Golf Club

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Broadmoor Golf Club Red Sky Golf Club Raccoon Creek Golf Course



2. Coal Creek Golf Course 3. CommonGround Golf Course

2. Fox Hollow Golf Course 3. Aspen Golf Club

Staff Picks (alphabetical) All 65 of them

Coal Creek Golf Course

Buffalo Run Golf Course

Broadmoor Golf Club (East)

PRIVATE CLUBS BEST DENVER METRO CLUB Cherry Hills Country Club, Cherry Hills Village

2. Denver Country Club, Denver 3. Colorado Golf Club, Parker Staff Picks (alphabetical) Castle Pines Golf Club, Castle Pines Cherry Creek Country Club, Denver The Country Club at Castle Pines, Castle Pines

BEST FRONT RANGE/NORTHEAST CLUB Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club, Holyoke 2. Greeley Country Club, Greeley 3. Harmony Club, Timnath Staff Picks (alphabetical) Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club The Golf Club at Fox Acres, Red Feather Lakes Harmony Club


2. Country Club of the Rockies, Edwards 3. Roaring Fork Club, Basalt Staff Picks (alphabetical) The Club at Cordillera, Edwards Frost Creek Club, Eagle Red Sky Golf Club


Telluride Ski & Golf Club, Telluride 2. The Glacier Club, Durango 3. Bookcliff Country Club, Grand Junction Staff Picks (alphabetical) Cornerstone Club, Montrose The Glacier Club Telluride Ski & Golf Club

BEST SOUTHERN CLUB Broadmoor Golf Club

2. The Club at Flying Horse, Colorado Springs 3. Eisenhower Golf Club, Colorado Springs Staff Picks (alphabetical) Broadmoor Golf Club The Club at Flying Horse Kissing Camels at Garden of the Gods Club, Colorado Springs

Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club





Black Bear Golf Club, Parker 2. Perry Park Country Club, Larkspur 3. Valley Country Club, Centennial


Staff Picks (alphabetical) Perry Park Country Club The Pinery Country Club, Parker The Club at Pradera, Parker The Country Club at Woodmoor, Monument


2. Broadmoor Golf Club 3. Cherry Creek Country Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) Columbine Country Club, Columbine Valley The Club at Cordillera Frost Creek Club

BEST FOR FAMILIES Black Bear Golf Club

2. Valley Country Club 3. Cherry Creek Country Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) Glenmoor Country Club, Cherry Hills Village Pinehurst Country Club, Denver The Ranch Country Club, Westminster


2. Perry Park Country Club 3. Valley Country Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) The Ranch Country Club Blackstone Country Club, Aurora The Pinery Country Club


2. Broadmoor Golf Club 3. Cherry Hills Country Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) The Country Club at Castle Pines Lakewood Country Club, Lakewood Sanctuary, Sedalia

Black Bear Golf Club

Cherry Hills Country Club

MOST COVETED INVITATION Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club

2. Sanctuary 3. Cherry Hills Country Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) Castle Pines Golf Club Cherry Hills Country Club Sanctuary

BEST MEN’S LOCKER ROOM Cherry Creek Country Club 2. Castle Pines Golf Club 3. Colorado Golf Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) Cherry Hills Country Club Columbine Country Club Lakewood Country Club

BEST WOMEN’S LOCKER ROOM Cherry Creek Country Club

2. Broadmoor Golf Club 3. Cherry Hills Country Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) Cherry Creek Country Club Cherry Hills Country Club Lakewood Country Club


Cherry Creek Country Club 2. Broadmoor Golf Club 3. Castle Pines Golf Club

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Colorado Golf Club Columbine Country Club The Club at Flying Horse Frost Creek Club


Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club 2. Cherry Hills Country Club 3. Cherry Creek Country Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) Broadmoor Golf Club Castle Pines Golf Club Cherry Hills Country Club Colorado Golf Club


Blackstone Country Club 2. Broadmoor Golf Club 3. The Ranch Country Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) Castle Pines Golf Club The Country Club at Castle Pines Colorado Golf Club


2. Chery Creek Country Club 3. Colorado Golf Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) Blackstone Country Club The Club at Pradera The Club at Ravenna, Littleton


Cherry Creek Country Club, No. 17 2. The Club at Ravenna, No. 16 3. Perry Park Country Club, No. 8 Staff Picks (alphabetical) Castle Pines Golf Club, No. 16 Colorado Golf Club, No. 2 The Club at Rolling Hills, Golden, No. 17

Cherry Creek Country Club




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Cherry Creek Country Club, No. 11 2. Perry Park Country Club, No. 14 3. The Country Club at Castle Pines, No. 15 Staff Picks (alphabetical) Castle Pines Golf Club, No. 10 The Club at Cordillera (Summit), No. 15 The Club at Flying Horse, No. 14


Cherry Creek Country Club, No. 16 2. Perry Park Country Club, No. 11 3. Cherry Hills Country Club, No. 17 Staff Picks (alphabetical) Castle Pines Golf Club, No. 17 Colorado Golf Club, No. 16 Red Rocks Country Club, Morrison, No. 18


Chris Schultz, Broken Tee Golf Course 2. Dennis Murray, Valley Country Club 3. Cassius Dinkel, Cherry Creek Country Club Staff Picks (alphabetical) Ed Oldham, The Ranch Country Club Rick Timm, Timm Golf Academy Trent Wearner, Trent Wearner Golf Academy Jason Witczak, The Club at Pradera/The Pinery


Quintero Golf Club



2. Desert Mountain, Scottsdale 3. Seven Canyons Golf Club, Sedona

2. Wolf Creek Golf Club, Mesquite 3. Edgewood Tahoe, Stateline

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, Maricopa Grayhawk Golf Club, Scottsdale Troon North Golf Club, Scottsdale Ventana Canyon Golf Club, Tucson We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Ft. McDowell

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Bear’s Best, Las Vegas Cascata, Boulder City Coyote Springs Golf Club, Coyote Springs Rio Secco Golf Club, Las Vegas

Quintero Golf Club, Peoria


2. Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach 3. Cypress Point Club, Del Monte Forest

2. Dennis Murray 3. Jim Owens, Cherry Creek Country Club

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Pelican Hill Golf Club, Newport Beach Pebble Beach Golf Links PGA West/La Quinta Resort, La Quinta

Staff Picks (alphabetical) Brad Alston, Optimum Golf Alex Fisher, Glacier Club Chris Johnson, GolfTEC–Boulder Dan Sniffin, Omni Interlocken Golf Club



2. Lana Ortega, Lana Ortega Golf 3. Ed Oldham Staff Picks (alphabetical) Dede Cusimano, Aspen Golf Academy Elena King, ExperienceGolf Mike Knight, GolfTEC–Westminster

Kapalua Golf, Lahaina

2. Mauna Kea Golf Course, Waimea 3. Princeville Makai Golf Club, Princeville Staff Picks (alphabetical) Manele Golf Course, Lanai Mauna Lani Golf, Waimea Waikoloa Beach Resort, Waikoloa Village


Sandia Golf Club, Albuquerque

2. Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club, Sandia Park 3. Piñon Hills Golf Course, Farmington Staff Picks (alphabetical) Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club Rockwind Community Links, Hobbs Towa Golf Club, Santa Fe Univ. of New Mexico Golf Course, Albuquerque

Shadow Creek Golf Club, Las Vegas

BEST GOLF EXPERIENCE: UTAH Sand Hollow Resort, Hurricane

2. Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course, Midway 3. Willow Creek Country Club, Sandy Staff Picks (alphabetical) Coral Canyon Golf Club, Washington Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club, St. George Sand Hollow Golf Resort Thanksgiving Point Golf Club, Lehi

BEST GOLF EXPERIENCE: OVERALL U.S. Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina

2. Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Oregon 3. Teton Pines Country Club, Wyoming Staff Picks (alphabetical) Bandon Dunes Golf Resort American Club/Kohler, Wisconsin Sea Island, Georgia Streamsong Resort, Florida


2. Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia 3. Old Head Golf Links, Ireland Staff Picks (alphabetical) Royal County Down, Northern Ireland Quivira, Mexico Tara Iti Golf Club, New Zealand

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Pearl the

Revitalized by its creators, Kapalua’s celebrated Plantation Course shines once again. By TOM MACKIN  Photographs © DAVE SANSOM PHOTOGRAPHY

INFINITE VIEW: The par-3 11th at Kapalua Plantation Course




Time takes its toll on everything. Cars need tune-ups. Houses need repainting. Bodies need surgery. And golf courses eventually need refining. Not brand new holes or routing changes, necessarily. More like a few tweaks to get a layout to where it wants to be—or used to be, in the case of The Plantation Course at Kapalua in Hawai‘i. Host of the PGA TOUR’s Sentry Tournament of Champions each January ( Justin Thomas won the 2020 edition) for the past two decades, the course is known equally for its jaw-dropping Pacific Ocean views as it is for strategic challenge. But over time, greens had shrunk, bunkers became a bit tired-looking and the course was simply not playing as originally intended. Reenter architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, who crafted the layout in 1991 on a former pineapple plantation. Along with multiple members of the original construction crew, the pair returned to Maui last year to address a number of issues during a ninemonth project. “Certainly one of our goals was to try to recapture the original playing characteristics




FLOATING ISLAND: WIth Molokai hovering in the distance, Kapalua’s par-4 6th stretched to 424 yards during January’s Sentry Tournament of Champions.

of the course so that, as Ben says, you can use the ground to your advantage,” said Coore. “It can be for the resort players using the slope and the ground to feed balls to the green, and yet for the best players in the world it creates perhaps an element of doubt, or certainly decision-making, that perhaps makes it a little more difficult for them.” Changing that ground, or at least what covered it, was the first priority for Coore and Crenshaw. All turf was ripped out and replaced with a new grass (Celebration Bermuda, to be specific) that will help create firmer conditions over time. “In the beginning the ball rolled so far that the resort player could hit short shots that went a long ways,” said Coore. “You would just watch the absolute joy and amazement when not particularly strong players would land balls 50 yards short of the green and watch it roll on. The most skillful players in the world would fly the ball to the green, but that wasn’t always the best decision. Through the years the course was getting longer and harder for resort players and easier for the best players who had the strength and skill to play more of an aerial type game. We’re just hoping to see it reverse itself back to the original.”

of which were expanded to create more hole locations. “There was a little bit of calming in the greens,” Crenshaw said. “I’ll admit that some of them were just a little too slopey, so it was a chance to just calm them down a little but still have a lot of life in them. In the case of No. 10 and No. 13, maybe those will be the most demonstrative changes, but they were two of the slopeiest greens. We tried to break them up with some contours. Now they’ll be more playable in the wind but still have a lot of interest, too.” The Plantation Course is a tough haul for mid- and high-handicappers, even without any wind. There are blind tee shots on the fourth, sixth and 12th holes, and carries over deep gulches are required on the

first, eighth, ninth and 15th holes. That’s all for $359 ($329 for resort guests) during the peak season of December through March. But then there are the unforgettable views, especially from the tee on the par 3 11th, and the sheer fun of playing the downhill 17th and 18th holes. And playing where the pros play is always a cool experience, even one as massive in scope as this one. “It was a daunting task to try to figure out how to put a golf course on that property with the elevation changes and the long sweeps of ground intersected by the canyons and the elements of the wind and slope,” said Coore. “But as Ben has said, it turned out to be a golf course on a grand scale, which is an understatement. We felt like the holes needed to be that big to accommodate the

“A Daunting Task” You would have to be a dedicated course architecture buff, or frequent visitor to the course (lucky you), to notice the bulk of the remaining work, which included replacing all bunkers and rebuilding every green, some COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020

OCEAN CARRY: Measuring between 135 and 205 yards, with winds regularly whipping off the Pacific, the treacherous par-3 17th makes Kapalua’s Bay Course every bit as memorable as the Plantation.



Cherry Creek Country Club voted

Best Golf Course Community two years in a row!

Cherry Creek Country Club has earned a reputation as one of the top private clubs. Consistently receiving recognition for its five star service, amenities and social activities, it’s no wonder this is the club that has it all. Cherry Creek is proud to be honored again this year winning first place for Best Golf Course Community and Best Denver Region Club, and strives to continue its history of excellence, not only in maintaining its Jack and Jackie Signature Design Championship Style Golf Course, but also in its special events celebrated throughout the year as well as its world-class Spa and Fitness Club. Below are just some of the Caggy Awards that Cherry Creek has received over the years:

• Golf Course Community (multiple year winner) • Clubhouse (multiple year winner) • Caddies • For Families (multiple year winner) • Value (multiple year winner) • Men’s Instructor • Women’s Instructor • Junior’s Instructor

• Denver Region Club (multiple year winner) • Course Conditions • Par 3 (multiple year winner) • Par 4 • Par 5 (multiple year winner) • Ladies’ Locker Room • Locker Rooms (multiple year winner) • Overall Experience (multiple year winner)

303.597.0300 www.cherrycreekcountryclub.com Cherry Creek Country Club | 2405 South Yosemite Street | Denver, C0 80231

Around the Island The Plantation is not the only layout worth playing on Maui, or even in its own neighborhood. The Arnold Palmerdesigned Bay Course, located next to and across the street from the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, underwent a hole sequencing change last year that smartly placed the two best holes—a downhill dogleg left par 4 with a green jutting out onto the rocky shoreline, and a par 3 where your tee shot (hopefully) carries over the ocean waves far below–in the 16th and 17th hole slots. Conditioning is definitely a step below The Plantation Course, but the vibe is even more laid-back

and the layout is far less testing. With the updated hole configuration, the Bay Course clubhouse was shifted to a new location in an existing structure adjacent to the Kapalua Golf Academy. On the southwest end of the island, Wailea Golf Club’s three courses serve up classic resort golf manageable for most levels of golfer. Sweeping ocean views from many holes add to the allure of the Emerald, Gold and Blue layouts. Check out the 3-Day Unlimited Golf pass available from December through April for the Emerald and Gold (which share a clubhouse that is home to the must-eat-at Gannon’s Restaurant) for an appealing deal. Royal Ka’anapali, just south of Kapalua, is another worthy option. Still, The Plantation course reigns supreme on Maui. Mark Rolfing, the NBC Sports golf commentator who moved to the island more than 40 years ago and has been involved with Kapalua since it opened, puts it all in perspective: “The Hawaiian Open (started in 1965 and now known as the Sony Open) was really the symbol of golf in the state and the most famous course by far was Waialae Country Club (on Oahu), yet nobody could

Ritz-Carlton Kapalua

play it because it was private,” he said. “The Plantation Course was kind of a signal that there is a lot of great golf around the neighbor islands, and golf worthy of having the best players in the world. It’s also really a story of the way these islands have changed. This was a pineapple plantation, and as the world has changed, so has this place. The metamorphosis has been great.” Tom Mackin is an Arizona-based golf and travel writer.

Info to Go: GolfAtKapalua.com; 1-877-KAPALUA RitzCarlton.com MontageHotels.com WaileaGolf.com

The Perfect Celebration Plan your Private Dining event at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and let our Private Dining Directors coordinate every detail. Visit us online at FlemingsSteakhouse.com/private-dining.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar 191 Inverness Drive West | Englewood, CO 303-768-0827 COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020




slope, the wind and how we knew the ball would react once it hit the ground.” Changes off the course include a revitalized golf shop and new restaurant in the clubhouse. A short shuttle ride away from the course delivers resort accommodations such as the elegant Ritz-Carlton Kapalua (Banyan Tree is the signature restaurant, but don’t miss the superb milkshakes at the oceanfront Burger Shack) and the more secluded Montage Resort at Kapalua, where luxurious multi-bedroom dwellings provide a home-away-from-home vibe.

experienceThe Ridge

Enjoy The Ridge’s Newest Dining Experience

The Ridge, located in Castle Pines, Colorado is excited to announce that we will be re-launching our restaurant this Spring! Newly named Park Place, the restaurant is named after Grace Park, a 12-year LPGA Tour Player who collected a total of six victories and one major. New items will include enhanced ambiance, western theme, new menu and fresh BBQ selections! Visit www.playTheRidge.com or call 303.688.4575 for reservations today.

14 1 4 C A S T L e P i N e S P K W Y, C A S T L e P i N e S , C O 8 0 1 0 8 | 3 0 3 . 6 8 8 . 4 5 7 5 | P L AY T h e R i d G e . C O m

T H E R I D G E I S m a n aG E D by T R o o n G o l f, ÂŽ T H E l E a D E R I n u p S c a l E G o l f co u R S E m a n aG E m E n T



Colorado of the


Glorious golf, trophy trout and mountain highs make South Fork’s sequestered RIO GRANDE CLUB one of the state’s great escapes. By TODD HARTLEY

UP A CREEK: Alder Creek snakes stealthily through the 207-yard par-3 14th at Rio Grande Club.




PLAYING BRIDGE: One of the two spans crosses the Rio Grande Club’s namesake river on the front nine.

THERE IS A COLORADO that exists, at this point, mostly just in people’s minds. It’s the Colorado of quaint little towns, wide open spaces, expansive vistas and endless opportunity. The Colorado John Denver sang about. It may never have existed along the busy Front Range and the I-70 corridor—and it certainly isn’t present there in any measurable amount now. It used to flourish in places like Aspen and Telluride, but that was long ago, before the billionaires invaded and rampant development robbed those places of much of their charm. But that doesn’t mean small-town Colorado has disappeared for good. You can still find it here and there in isolated pockets, and one of the most authentic is in the upper Rio Grande Valley in the southwest part of the state. There, in the town of South Fork, you can still experience Colorado the way you always envisioned it, complete with a welcoming community, endless outdoor opportunities and a top-notch golf course at the heart of it all. A FULL FORK Home to the Rio Grande Golf Club and Resort, South Fork lies in the spectacular San Juan Mountains, at the confluence of the Rio Grande’s main stem and its southern fork, which spills down into town from the heights of Wolf Creek Pass. It takes about four hours by car to get there from Denver (on highly scenic, uncoloradoavidgolfer.com


trafficked highways), and this off-the-beatenpath destination is more than worth the effort. “We like to have people think of South Fork as a base camp for adventure,” says Town Administrator Dan Hicks. “It’s a reasonable drive for people in north Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to be able to get into the mountains within a day and get out of the heat, or for Front Range people to escape the crowds.” What those people discover is everything they could want in a mountain town. The stretches of the Rio Grande and its southern branch flowing through South Fork offer rafting and gold-medal trout fishing; there are hundreds of miles of hiking, mountain biking and ATV trails; technical rock-climbing routes scale the hills to the west; and, in the winter, the slopes of Wolf Creek Ski Area—which receives more snow on average than any other resort in the state—are less than a half-hour up the road. A TALE OF TWO NINES Semi-private but open for public play since debuting in 2002, the Rio Grande Club pivots around its 25,000-square-foot clubhouse. Highlighted by tall ceilings, cultured stone and log Spring 2020 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER

truss construction, the structure delivers big views of the San Juan Mountains and Rio Grande National Forest. It houses two restaurants—Big River Grille and Timbers Restaurant— as well as a conference area, banquet rooms and a fitness center and spa with men’s and women’s locker rooms. Rio Grande’s 7,155-yard golf course, designed and built by Weiskopf protégés Ric Buckton and Jay Benson of Redstone Golf, features 18 holes framed by ponderosa pines, scrub oak and aspen. The two nines that comprise them are as dissimilar as they are dramatic. The front nine commences with a downhill par 4 that leads to an open-meadow hole before winding along and over the Rio Grande on holes 3 through 8. The club’s 1,700-square-foot fishing lodge tucks between the par-5 third and the river, and the money shot comes at number 6, a par-3 that requires a long-iron to carry the rushing, trout-filled waters to a green snuggled in the pines. The more alpine back nine, meanwhile, runs up the narrow valley of Alder Creek, which bestrides the green on the par-3 14th. Sloping terrain affords golfers challenging stances and abundant elevated tee shots, such as the one on the par-5 18th, which plunges about 200 feet to a fairway leading to a massive lake guarding the green, bringing water back into play for the final time. EAT, PLAY, STAY After holing out, head to the club’s Big River Grille for an IPA from Del Norte’s Three Barrel Brewing Company and the scrumptious specials at Timbers Restaurant. In addition


CASTING CALL: Trout-filled gold-medal waters run behind the green on Rio Grande Club’s glorious par-3 eighth, baiting many a golfer to carry a favorite fly rod as a 15th club.



to golf and fly-fishing, the club has facilities for pickleball, tennis and swimming. The club changed hands in 2016, with Kansas City-based Freeman Group Holdings taking over ownership. In the last three years, they’ve upgraded the clubhouse, rebuilt the course’s 50 bunkers, rehired the club’s former course superintendent and purchased more than $500,000 worth of John Deere maintenance equipment to keep the conditions as good as can be found at any mountain course. “They’ve made a lot of upgrades over the last couple of years,” says Todd Small, the club’s general manager from 2000-2007 and again since 2012, “and it definitely makes a difference. The turf quality has improved dramatically.” High-season green fees for the public range from $79 to $129, and stay-andplay packages are available through Rio Grande Vacation Rentals, which owns four units in the River Club condos that give guests full golf and membership privileges. The company also has another seven non-member River Club condos with 2-5 bedrooms each, as well as eight cabins and homes available for short or long-term rental in South Fork and just up the road in the historic mining town of Creede.

Membership at the club is capped at 700 individuals or families at three levels—social, fishing and golf. The winning combination of value and ideal mountain setting has thus far drawn members from 24 different states, with Texas and Colorado particularly well represented. OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS Outdoor activities may be the main draw, but the area also boasts a surprisingly impressive cultural outpost in Creede, home to the renowned Creede Repertory Theater. Headed for its 55th season of professional stage productions in 2020, the theater was rated one of “10 great places to see the lights way off Broadway” by USA Today in 2005 and was awarded the National Theatre Conference’s Award of Outstanding Achievement in 2007. The hamlet of South Fork itself presents the rarest of opportunities for a savvy developer looking to get ahead of the curve. It was only incorporated as a town in 1992, and much of the downtown area presents, essentially, a blank slate on which to create a small business district from the ground up. “The opportunity is there and available for anyone who’d like to come and start a business,” says Connie Goodnight, a realtor

with Land Properties LLC in South Fork. “There are a lot of properties along the river that would be beautiful for a restaurant or a downtown area—shops on the bottom, maybe living quarters on top.” A long-proposed, large-scale development near Wolf Creek has generated plenty of opposition but may one day add thousands of new residences to the area and give the town an economic and energetic jolt. These days, however, with less than 400 year-round residents, South Fork can be a bit of a sleepy place in the shoulder seasons. Of course, that’s proven to be part of the allure for the growing number of Front Range expats who’ve given up on the hubbub of Denver and Colorado Springs and moved lock, stock and barrel to their homes at the Rio Grande Club. They’ve figured out what a difference it can make to take the road less traveled, leave the crowds and static of the cities behind, and get back to where you can hear the real Colorado sing again.

Todd Hartley is an Aspen-area writer. For more information on the Rio Grande Club, visit riograndeclubandresort.com or call 719-873-1997.


Experience one of the best courses in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains A spectacular 18-hole course, designed by Robert Trent Jones II, features incredible views of the Yampa Valley, while Fish Creek winds its way through seven of the holes. The 70 bunkers and large, undulating bent grass greens make this a truly championshipcaliber course to be enjoyed by players of all skill levels. For these reasons, Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club received the “2019 CAGGY Winner, Best Mountain Courses in Colorado” by Colorado AvidGolfer. 12 3 0 S T E A M B O AT B LV D, S T E A M B O AT S P R I N G S , C O 8 0 4 87 R O L L I N G S T O N E R A N C H G O L F. C O M | 9 7 0 . 8 7 9.13 9 1

CALL 970.879.1391 OR VISIT rollings toner anchgolf.COM FOR THE BEST AVAIL ABLE RAT ES





Colorado AvidGolfer

Southwest Winter Getaway

For reservations call 800.848.7893 Ask for the COLORADO AVID GOLFER PACKAGE (Code AVID) (Valid until April 1, 2020

Luxurious Hacienda Accommodations One-Day of Unlimited Golf for 2 10% off Spa Treatments • Club Storage $349 per night (Plus tax and resort fee, based on availability) * Book a second night and receive breakfast for two at our Stables Ranch Grille

Make your reservations now! 1.800.848.7893 www.TubacGolfResort.com

I-19, Exit 40 (30 minutes from Tucson)

www.TubacGolfResort.com 1.800.848.7893

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The Golfer’s Guide to

Spring Training in Arizona

Golf and Baseball

Turn the Double Play in the Valley of the Sun Touching Base in Tucson coloradoavidgolfer.com



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Spring Training


Let the Swings of Spring Begin

BEARDED BOMBER: Colorado outfielder Charlie Blackmon

Spring, the traditional season of hope and rebirth, injects both golfers and baseball fans with a faith in fresh starts. That new putter is going to help you contend for the club championship just like Kyle Freeland’s comeback will deliver the Rockies (with a National League-worst 5.56 ERA in 2019) into the postseason. While both sports begin in April—the Masters is golf’s version of Opening Day—February and March let us revel in optimism. From the snows of Colorado, we head to sunny Arizona to play 18 holes in the morning and watch nine innings in the afternoon. We know neither of these games count for anything more than our own enjoyment and, perhaps, a reason always to let hope triumph over experience.

# IS IN THE NAME: Ak-Chin’s six-hole par-3 #miniDunes course offers unlimited play and costs adults $12 and juniors (17 and under) $0. Holes span 61 to 114 yards.

Southern Hospitality Catch Weezer, Dave Matthews Band and other acts, along with appearances by star MLB ballplayers at the third annual Innings Festival Feb. 29-Mar. 1 at Tempe Beach Park. inningsfestival.com COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020

Other courses may be more convenient to Salt River Fields, but none offers Rockies fans more than Ak-Chin Southern Dunes. Located 30 minutes south of Sky Harbor in Maricopa, this nationally ranked design by Lee Schmidt, Brian Curley and Fred Couples—which can stretch to 7,546 yards


and annually hosts U.S. Open qualifiers—offers a number of sweet stayand-play packages with Harrah’s AkChin Casino & Resort, including one that features Rockies Spring Training tickets. Players on the team also frequent the Troon-managed course. akchinsoutherndunes.com coloradoavidgolfer.com

520.426.6827 akchinsoutherndunes.com

Golf – Tennis & Pickleball – Bocce – Pool

Proudly Managed by Troon Privé

Rio Verde is my perfect fit. “We love it here for so many reasons, like our two beautiful golf courses, gorgeous mountain views at every turn, and warm and friendly neighbors – many of whom have become wonderful friends. We’re always meeting up for a round of golf, game of pickleball, drinks and dinner, or a fabulous event at the club. We stay busy and happy. This is our paradise!” R o n & N a n c y M i l l e r

TAILORED TO YOU To learn more about making this your perfect place to live and play, contact David Benham: (480) 471.3410 │ dbenham@rioverdecc.com RioVerdeArizona.com






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We-Ko-Pa Golf Club doubles down on stellar golf with its Scott Miller-designed Cholla Course and the Coore-Crenshaw Saguaro Course. Both offer breathtaking views of the McDowell Mountains, Red Mountain, Four Peaks and the Superstitions. The courses lie on Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation land that will never be commercially developed. wekopa.com

Rio Verde Country Club

Its Name is Rio TRAIL OF BEERS: Drink in the region’s craft brew scene along the Scottsdale Ale Trail. Stops include Bottled Blonde, Craft 64, Goldwater Brewing, Two Brothers Tap House, Scapegoat Bar and Vines & Hops.


Like the delectable cabernets and malbecs served at the Box Car Grille in its recently renovated clubhouse, the 44-year-old Rio Verde Country Club improves with each passing year. Located about 45 minutes northeast of Salt River Fields, Sloan Park and HoHoKam Stadium, this private enclave offers 36 holes of Tom Lehman-designed golf, six tennis courts (two lighted), two bocce pitches, a heated resort-style swimming pool, fitness classes and a firstrate art studio. A latticework of mountain trails invites hiking, biking and horseback riding in the adjacent Tonto National Forest and McDowell foothills. Visitors and prospective members can rent homes in the community and enjoy full golf and other club privileges. rioverdearizona.com


The We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center, recipient of 14 straight AAA Four Diamond Awards, luxuriously handles its course’s stay-and-play deals. A glorious upscale casino will open this summer. wekoparesortandconferencecenter.com

A setting for The Amazing Race, the tribally owned, 20,000-acre Fort McDowell Adventures specializes in trail rides, cattle drives, UTV Tomcar tours, intimate cookouts and more. fortmcdowelladventures.com




36 HOLES | PL AY SAGUARO & CHOLL A The Coore/Crenshaw-designed Saguaro course (No. 1) and the Scott Miller-designed Cholla course (No. 8) have made Golfweek’s Top-10 Best You Can Play for a decade. And you can experience both within a 3-day period with the 36-hole package. Located minutes from Scottsdale, Arizona in the pristine Sonoran Desert of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.



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Spring Training

Rising in the West Valley If good things do indeed come in threes, then The Wigwam in Litchfield Park is really good. Since welcoming its first guests in 1929, the venerable resort has grown to comprise 331 elegant rooms, three signature dining venues, three pools and three lush 18-hole parkland-style courses. Called “Arizona’s Monster,” Wigwam’s 7,345-yard, Robert Trent Jones-designed Gold course has hosted numerous regional qualifiers for USGA and NCAA championships, while his 6,000-yard Blue course appeals to shorter hitters and beginners. Splitting the difference, the popular 6,852-yard Red course—designed, appropriately, by Red Lawrence—features 10 holes with water and one of Arizona’s toughest closing stretches. Afterwards, recover with a golfer’s spa package at the resort’s 26,000-squarefoot LeMonds Aveda Salon. The Wigwam’s 440-acre property lies within a 10-minute drive of the Spring Training sites of the Indians, Reds, Dodgers and White Sox. wigwamarizona.com

MIX IT UP: The Wigwam offers Hybrid Golf Outings (HgO) as alternatives to standard rounds, and after 11 a.m. on weekends, it shortens one course for Footgolf.

INSIDER INSIGHTS The West Valley rocks. See a concert at AkChin Pavilion or State Farm Stadium. Catch a Phoenix Coyotes game at Gila River Arena, or the FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Want culture? Go to the West Valley Art Museum or Arizona Broadway Theatre.

Arrowhead Grill

Glendale’s glamorous outdoor Westgate Entertainment District sports 30 restaurants to fuel its shoppers. Those hungering for more intimate West Valley dining head to Arrowhead Grill, Bella Luna Ristorante or the Wigwam’s delightful Litchfield’s. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020



PLAN YOUR GOLF ESCAPE Enjoy award-winning golf courses & warm, sunny days at The Wigwam in Arizona.

TEE IT UP GOLF PACKAGE The ultimate golfing experience includes: • Accommodations • Unlimited same-day consecutive play • Daily breakfast

STICKS & STONES PACKAGE Experience our signature pampering and dining experience with this package that includes: • One-night stay • One 18-hole round of golf (per registered adult) • One $150 spa credit (per registered adult) • $50 food and beverage credit (per room, per night) Tee Times must be booked in advance. A member of our team will reach out to you within 72 hours of booking your reservation to assist with making a tee time. Dates, times & specific course are based on availability. Some restrictions & black-out dates apply. Based on availability.


Improve your swing at our state-of-the-art tennis complex, featuring 9 lighted tennis courts among towering palm trees.


Dine at one of our three acclaimed restaurants, including our signature restaurant, Litchfield’s, showcasing seasonal farm-totable cuisine, and everyone’s favorite place to relax, Red’s Bar & Grill, to enjoy famous burgers and never ending golf course views.

SPA Treat yourself to a rejuvenating massage or facial, featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients from the on-site spa garden, at LeMonds Aveda Salon - Spa.

WIGWAMARIZONA.COM | 866.990.9316

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A superb layout, exquisite views and fab fare make Fountain Hills’ Eagle Mountain Golf Club a true delight. eaglemtn.com

Longbow Hits the Target Located in Mesa, just minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and Old Town Scottsdale, the Ken Kavanaughdesigned Longbow Golf Club ranks as one of Arizona’s top courses—especially among the Cubs and Athletics fans who fill the tee sheets each spring. The

superb 7,050-yard, par-71 layout opens with a monster par 5 that tips out at 626 yards, and closes with a 556-yard three-shotter. You can surf all 18 holes on a Golfboard for $25, and cool off with the misters that keep things chill on The Grille’s patio. longbowgolf.com

SCORE AN EAGLE: Stay at the 37-suite Inn at Eagle Mountain until March 31 and get 25% off the rate and $20 per day for breakfast at the golf clubhouse. innateaglemountain.com

Your Perfect Arizona Golf Experience Awaits!


Book a Tee Time When You Visit Scottsdale! (480) 816-1234 • eaglemtn.com COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020




LEAVE YOUR CLUBS AT HOME Longbow Golf Club features premium rentals SPRING TRAINING FANS

Reserve a full set for your next round of golf! All rentals include 6 Callaway premium golf balls

• Gen 1 & Gen 2 irons - available in (P) performance and (XP) Xtreme Forgiveness models • Choose 1 of 8 putter models to fit your preference • Epic Flash woods and Rogue irons available men's & ladies’ right or left handed regular or stiff flex sets

• G410 woods and irons available men's right or left handed regular or stiff flex sets; G Le2 woods and irons available ladies’ right or left handed regular ALLIGA or stiff flex sets T






Home of ®

The Essence of Arizona Golf ™

5601 East Longbow Parkway • Mesa, AZ 85215 RESERVATIONS at 480.807.5400 • ONLINE www.longbowgolf.com

Another Daedalus Development. Professionally managed by

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Spring Training

Discover the best-kept secret in Southern Arizona 45 minutes from Tucson. Located on the site of a historic Spanish Colonial ranch, Tubac Golf Resort & Spa sports 98 distinctive luxurious suites and guest rooms, 27 holes of golf, a world-class spa and restaurant, and the distinction of having some of the best scenes from Tin Cup filmed on property. tubacgolfresort.com Arrive early for Spring Training and head to Tucson Feb. 28-Mar. 1 for the PGA TOUR Champions Cologuard Classic (won last year by Mark O’Meara) at the Omni Tucson National Resort. cologuardclassic.com

Westin La Paloma

Where They Played 18 For the first 18 years of their existence, the Colorado Rockies and their fans would head each spring to Tucson, where the team played at Hi Corbett Field and the faithful could go tee off practically next door at the municipal Randolph Park or 17 miles up the road at Omni Tucson National—both of which had hosted the PGA TOUR’s Tucson Open. They also frequented the 27-hole resort facilities at JW Marriott Starr Pass and Westin La Paloma.


Although the Rockies may now train 125 miles north, those stellar Tucson courses, as well as the ones at Sewailo and Ventana Canyon remain less than a two-hour drive—and a world away— on I-10. visittucson.org/golf

COME HUNGRY: The first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States, Tucson also touts itself as having the best 23 Miles of Mexican food in the U.S. Dig into why. visittucson.org/ food-drink


The oft-photographed par-3 third on the Tom Fazio-designed Mountain Course is just one of many pieces of eye-candy at the plush Lodge at Ventana Canyon. The 35 other holes, 50 suites and spa are very sweet, too. thelodgeatventanacanyon.com coloradoavidgolfer.com



Golf in Tucson means a break from the average links. Challenge your game on daring desert layouts or hit it long on fairways that host the champions.

Whatever your style, Tucson has it in the bag.

Find Your Course At VisitTucson.org/Golf

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Spring Training

B. C.

H. D. E. G.





Extra Holes Come spring, baseballs and golf balls fly all over the Valley of the Sun. This map and key reference the courses* near each Cactus League stadium. No ballpark lies more than an hour’s drive from another; nor do most courses from most stadiums. A. CINCINNATI REDS & CLEVELAND INDIANS Goodyear Ballpark


1933 South Ballpark Way, Goodyear goodyearbp.com; 623-882-3130 Courses: Wigwam, Estrella, Tres Rios at Estrella Park, Palm Valley, Verrado

10710 West Camelback Rd, Glendale camelbackranchbaseball.com; 623-302-5000 Courses: Wigwam, Palm Valley, Sun City, Sun City North, Verrado



15850 North Bullard, Surprise surprisespringtraining.com; 623-222-2222 Courses: Wigwam, Coyote Lakes, Hillcrest, Rancho de los Caballeros, Cimarron, Trilogy at Vistancia, Wickenburg Ranch


16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria peoriasportscomplex.com; 800-677-1227 Courses: Quintero, Trilogy at Vistancia, Sun City West (7 courses), Westbrook Village

3600 N. 51st Ave., Phoenix phoenix.gov/sports; 800 933-7890 Courses: Papago, Raven Phoenix, Verrado

F. LOS ANGELES ANGELS Tempe Diablo Stadium

2200 W. Alameda Dr. Tempe tempe.gov/diablo; 888-796-HALO Courses: Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, Papago, Raven Phoenix, The Legacy, Wild Horse Pass

G. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS Scottsdale Stadium

7408 E. Osborn Road, Scottsdale scottsdaleaz.gov/stadium; 877-473-4849 Courses: We-Ko-Pa, Camelback, McCormick Ranch, McDowell Mountain, The Phoenician, Westin Kierland


7555 N. Pima Rd, Scottsdale saltriverfields.com; 480-270-5000 Courses: Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, Eagle Mountain, Rio Verde, We-Ko-Pa, Talking Stick, Troon North, Grayhawk, McCormick Ranch, The Boulders, TPC Scottsdale, Wildfire


1235 North Center Street, Mesa hohokamstadium.com; 480-644-4451 Courses: Longbow, We-Ko-Pa, Arizona Grand, Papago, Raven-Phoenix, Superstition Springs, The Legacy, Whirlwind


2330 W. Rio Salado Pkwy, Mesa sloanpark.com; 800-THE-CUBS Courses: Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, Longbow, We-Ko-Pa, Arizona Grand, Papago Park, Raven Phoenix, Superstition Springs, The Legacy, Whirlwind, Las Sendas

*Courses advertising in this section appear in italics.




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and IDEAS for your next event


How to Keep a Tournament Fresh

Let GREEN VALLEY RANCH GOLF CLUB elevate the experience coloradoavidgolfer.com



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TEEING UP A GREAT TOURNEY With its big-event pedigree, GREEN VALLEY RANCH GOLF CLUB champions the tournament experience.  By Kim D. McHugh

PUTT FOR DOUGH: Contests on the green can add value to Green Valley Ranch tournaments.

AS HOST TO the CoBank Colorado Open, Colorado Women’s Open and Colorado Senior Open championships, there is no question that Green Valley Ranch Golf Club knows how to manage a golf tournament. Putting into play a “start-to-finish process,” your Green Valley Ranch tournament liaison will be your partner from the first phone call or email right up to the day of your event. “We give each client a hands-on experience, help with player and volunteer recruitment and even give you access to event-planning software,” says Matt Bryant, GVR’s PGA General Manager. “We provide tips on getting sponsors, recruiting more players and suggest contests and games that can really make your tournament unique for participants. We have ideas on how to make the most money for your organization, as well.” One of the most popular activities is the Speed Hole, which is played on a short par 4 where golfers can’t easily lose the ball. The minute the group ahead clears the green, Bryant explains, the stopwatch starts. “Teams have to hole the ball in the shortest amount of time. It’s amazing to watch the strategy as different teams poCOLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020

“We have carts with GPS that can display a company or organization logo, as well as logos of participating sponsors,” added Bryant. “For scrambles, shambles and best-ball tournaments you can use the GPS system to keep score, see how your team is doing, and where you stand in relation to other teams.” Besides having a single point of contact for tournament consultation, and food and beverage, GVR’s all-inclusive tourney packages include the 18-hole green fee, cart with GPS system, driving range balls, golf shop credit, use of the Outdoor Tournament Pavilion, registration and contest hole set up and professional scoring with Golf Genius. Awarded a 4-star rating as a “Best Places to Play” by Golf Digest and one of the Top Ten Public Golf Courses in Colorado by The Denver Post, the impeccably maintained championship course, which plays 4,974 yards from the forward tees and 7,084 yards from the tips, certainly introduces challenge to your participants. Another selling point for GVR is its close proximity to Denver International Airport and the year-old Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center. The location makes for a convenient venue if you have out-of-town players in the field, and, Bryant says, “having the Gaylord has helped us attract a number of ‘destination’ tournaments from out of state.”

sition the players—who hits the first shot, then the second shot, where do they stand—and ultimately which group plays the fastest.” To make things interesting, GVR puts a 10-foot-diameter circle on the green of one or more of its par-3s. Those players landing their tee shot inside the circle are entered in a closest-to-the-hole chipping contest from 100 yards out on the 18th green, with win- 303-371-3131; gvrgolf.com/tournaments ners receiving a reward of some kind. “The gallery that forms by the green creates a great energy, a great atmosphere,” Bryant says. Acknowledging that delicious food and cold beverages are important to the success of any tournament, Ebert’s Terrace caters all events. Depending on whether your event starts in the morning or early afternoon there will be breakfast or lunch items followed by either a buffet lunch or dinner, all served in the covered Outdoor Tournament Pavilion where the CoBank Colorado Opens stage their awards ceremonies. INTERLOCKING: The field fills GVR’s Outdoor Tournament Pavilion.



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AN EVENT-ORIENTED VENUE A striking new clubhouse, personal service and a raft of customizable tournament packages combine to make RACCOON CREEK a slam-dunk choice.  By Kim D. McHugh WITH A BEAUTIFULLY maintained Dick Phelps-designed layout that brings water into play on 15 holes and boasts more than 3,000 mature trees and phenomenal Front Range views, it’s no wonder why Littleton’s Raccoon Creek Golf Course is such a popular place to host golf tournaments and outings. Skilled at planning an event as small as a pair of foursomes to groups of 144 players or more, Raccoon Creek’s coordinator helps you customize your event to fit the specific needs of your fundraising tournament, corporate team building or association golf outing. “We have a dedicated tournament coordinator named Amy Bergh, and she does a tremendous job taking care of everyone’s needs,” PGA Head Golf Professional and Assistant General Manager Don Graham says. “I think the whole experience is terrific from start to finish for shotgun events, including a bag drop service, confirming the pairings and putting sponsorship signs on the course and in the clubhouse.” Graham takes pride in his team’s extraordinary ability to communicate. Initial inquiries receive a quick response and the team stays in contact with the client for all facets of the event—from the first meeting to subsequent meetings and on the day of

play. Graham shares his cell phone number so the client can always reach him or a staff member in case something unexpected happens—even the night before the event. That full-service approach is also reflected in the fact that the course makes itself available for tournaments seven days a week. For the last five years, Raccoon Creek has enjoyed nonstop wedding and party bookings at The Barn, an upscale special event facility that used to house golf carts at the south end of its property. The Barn doesn’t often host golf events, either. Not only is it a popular wedding spot, it’s also on the opposite end of the property from the golf clubhouse. Besides, Raccoon Creek recently invested $4.1 million on building a farmhouse-style clubhouse that opened in 2018. Spanning approximately 11,500 square feet—7,500 of it indoors—Raccoon Creek’s new clubhouse makes for a very welcoming space before and after your tourney. On the north side of building, the Tournament Patio accommodates more than 160 players and, if the weather is a bit dicey, available soft walls create a space that can be completely enclosed and heated. An adjacent event lawn can be set up for lawn games like cornhole, giant Jenga and bocce.

TOURNAMENT-READY: Raccoon Creek’s welcoming farmhouse-style clubhouse, restaurant and patio.



UP A CREEK: Water guards the green on the par-5 11th.

Built-in AV capabilities and multiple flat screen TVs broadcast tournament results, and guests have been known to spill over to the smaller West Patio, which seats 40, to catch the brilliant views and sunsets. Working from a new state-of-the-art kitchen in the clubhouse’s Farmhouse Restaurant, the staff easily produces Raccoon Creek’s acclaimed breakfast burritos, while organizers can choose from an array of lunch items, including staples like hot dogs, brats and cheeseburgers, as well as a barbecued, pulled pork sandwich buffet and fancier dinner fare such as steak and salmon. A three-sided bar with seating for 25 holds particular appeal for draft-beer aficionados, who can sample from 12 on-tap selections cooled to a frosty 32 degrees by a glycol system. Tournament groups enjoy Yamaha’s YamaTrack touchscreen GPS on the carts, plus there is a Raccoon Creek app that golfers can use on their smartphones, which allows them to receive notifications from the course. Those with the low-battery-drawing app get a free small bucket of range balls just for downloading it. Raccoon Creek can promote sponsors or acknowledge charitable benefactors by featuring their name or logo on scorecards, signage, rule sheets and, if you have a title sponsor or major sponsor, those logos can be put on the cart screens, the scoreboard and other places around the course. 303-932-0199; raccooncreek.com/tournaments coloradoavidgolfer.com

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ADVICE TO PLAN BY Whether for charity, team building, customer appreciation or some other noble cause, golf tournaments require plenty of work.

ASK ANYONE who has run a charity golf tournament—and hasn’t run from it the following year. These events are hard work. Heed the following nuggets of wisdom. PLAN AHEAD Give yourself at least six to nine months to determine and document the tournament’s objectives and purposes, prepare preliminary specifications (date, time, estimated number of participants, number of meal functions, tournament format, potential sponsors, etc.) and establish a timeline. VENUE Choose the right course. Visit at least two or three courses to get an idea of what the event will be like. Ask the club to walk you through the event or swing by to “secret shop” the course during an event. How’s the food? Is the event run smoothly? How’s the service? Are players having fun? Some key things to consider: • Price: Don’t jump at the lowest offer until confirming what the contract includes. Those “extras” add up! COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020

• Reputation: What have you heard about the course? What’s the reaction when you mention it to golfers? • Location: If most of your potential attendees live in, say, Boulder, don’t select a course in Colorado Springs. • Amenities: It’s about much more than golf. Are there multiple beverage carts? Carts with scoring and GPS capability? Will the dining room hold all your guests, rain or shine? Can menus be customized? • Get the best course you can afford. Considering all of the above, remember that the better the venue, the higher people will think of your charity and the more they’ll be willing to pay. BUDGET Calculate your entry fee by tallying your golf, food costs and non-donated prize costs, plus the margin of profit you wish to make per player. Err on the side of profitability to limit your risk. • Don’t rely on entry fees alone. To reach your fund-raising goal, you first need to cover your costs. Higher prices discour-


age participants. Sell mulligans, string and drink coupons. Drawings, betting holes and silent auctions also add to the bottom line. Just collect all the money at registration. You don’t want to nickel-and-dime players on the course. • No surprises. Get all fees (green fee, cart fee, food, liquor, range fee), up front in a contract—and don’t forget taxes and gratuities. • Don’t dig a signature hole. Never sign a contract for a minimum of 100 players. You want to have the ability to adjust the number 30 days out. Most courses won’t have you do a final head count until two weeks before the event. • Offset all costs. Get as much donated as possible—food, liquor, signs—and make everything (shirts, hats, golf-ball packaging, driving range, short-game area, hole contests), a sponsorship opportunity. • Leverage food and beverage. If you have a sponsor who will donate breakfast burritos, see if the course will let the sponsor handle breakfast and the course can provide lunch. Or, if it’s an afternoon event, coloradoavidgolfer.com

Announces new "Professional Membership"

$210 Monthly Membership. Small 50 member cap! CO AvidGolfer's Best Value just got even better. Call 303-681-3305 ext. 4 abustamante@perryparkcc.com Andrew Bustamante Director of Membership, Perry Park Country Club 7047 Perry Park Boulevard - Larkspur, CO 80118

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You should be here. And you know it.

Superior course conditions and service Book your tee time at RedHawkRidge.com Off the I-25 Corridor in Castle Rock

2020 TOURNAMENT GUIDE get a lunch sponsor and have the course provide the pricier dinner. • Get liquor donated. Check first if the course will allow outside alcohol. Under Colorado law, a club may serve donated alcohol as long as a certified 501(c)(3) is the beneficiary. (Do not allow volunteers or a charity representative to serve alcohol.) • Account for prizes. Don’t skimp on trophies, plaques and gift certificates. • Take it to the next level. Determine the dollar amount ($10,000, $5,000, etc.) and value (how many foursomes, how much recognition, etc.) of sponsorship levels (i.e. Title Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Team and Hole). • Adopt a “no pay, no play” policy. Collect all entry fees and sponsorship fees prior to the event, no walk-ups. KNOW YOUR PLAYERS Your guests are not likely all going to be “sticks.” Communicate to the course representatives the level of play you expect from the field. They can set up the course and format accordingly. For charity tournaments, avoid using handicaps and net scoring. It limits your field/market and creates challenges. •  Communicate your purpose. Your tournament must have a charity with a clear-cut vision you can passionately communicate. What are they playing for? Individuals and corporate sponsors want to align themselves with causes that have a strong, well-defined mission. • At the event, connect people visually to your cause at the registration table with a video, photographs or even an appearance by a beneficiary of the program. •  Be generous with prizes. The more people who leave with prizes, the better the impression of your tournament. Aim for at least 25% of the field to leave with a team or individual prize, even if they’re raffle or door prizes. •  Pamper your players. Feed them before the event. Provide food or water on every hole. Unique gifts, prizes and other expressions of thanks—including hand-written follow-up thank-you notes— will keep your charity top of mind and bring them back the following year. • Collect as much data as you can (cell, email, auction items purchased, clothing measurements) for future marketing. COMMITTEES AND VOLUNTEERS Form committees. Determine one lead chairperson and assign responsibilities to specific individuals. Make sure to diversify



the committee chairs with people from different industries with different networks— and emphasize to all committee members that commit is the basis for the word committee. Have them meet regularly with their volunteers for status updates. Establish firm deadlines and meet regularly to review progress with committee chairs. •  Give or get. Charge all committee members with either purchasing or recruiting at least one paying foursome. •  Involve people. You can’t go it alone. You need volunteers to solicit players, sponsors and gift items. You need people to register people at the event, collect money and perform other functions. SALES AND MARKETING Spread the word using social networking, emails, texts and your website. Hold preevent functions such as pairings parties (get a restaurant to donate a meal in exchange for a sponsorship). Ask sponsors for reciprocal links on their websites. Create “early bird” pricing and a sense of urgency as the event date approaches. Make a radio or TV station your title or presenting sponsor in trade for event promotion. Keep the message positive and steadily beat the drum. • Create a target list for sponsors, casting as wide a net as possible. • Garner support from your company or the charity’s board of directors, but also make sure they are soliciting each of their vendors, boards and everyone else affiliated with them for players, sponsors and silent-auction items. • Invest in strong marketing material that you can distribute and a website that can be presented personally to decision makers. • Sell the right thing. Tournament sponsorships are like marketing buys. Companies sponsor golf tournaments— cars, real estate, banks—because they like that strong demographic. • Leave an impression. Enlist someone to create a compelling leave-behind brochure or online video for team members to present to potential sponsors and players. • Follow the money. Even when selling foursomes, in many cases it’s not the players’ money, it’s their company’s. • Get social. Creatively push out the message on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Use photos and videos if possible. • Engage the course. Ask your contacts at the golf course to help fill the field, provide sponsor leads and promote your event to its database. coloradoavidgolfer.com

APPLEWOOD GOLF COURSE Tournaments  • Family Fun


Beginner Golf

Memorable Occasions • Junior Golf


Bio Blitz

Corn Hole

And So Much More!


14001 W 32nd Ave, Golden, CO 80401 303.279.3003 • www.applewoodgc.com

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TEACH YOUR GOLFERS WELL ARE YOU LOOKING for a new way to attract participants to your organization’s annual golf tournament? Would you rather give your players a tee gift that’s more useful than another logoed golf hat, towel or sleeve of golf balls— in other words, something that truly adds value? Let the number-one-rated golf school in the country help! This year, the Jim McLean Golf School is introducing its “TOURNAMENT PACKAGE.” Available at any course along the Front Range and in the mountains, the package is geared for golf tournaments that are looking to enhance their participants’ experience with something different. THE PACKAGE INCLUDES: • Pre-tournament or post-tournament clinics on the course’s driving range (generally one or two hours). This allows participants to arrive early and share in a full day of golf, with a learning session prior to teeing off. These sessions are formulated around the McLean 25 Percent Theory—golf is equal parts Short Game, Long Game, Course Management and Mental Game. • Trackman-verified Longest Drive Contest. Conducted during warmups on the range, ensuring it is “legit.” • Trackman numbers station on driving range during warmups and clinic, allowing interested golfers to view statistics such as their swing speed, launch angle, spin rate and carry and total distance—all of which can be emailed to participants for a full profile on their current swing metrics. • Short-game area tips and tricks session prior to tee off.

This can be run as part of a clinic, or separate from the clinic, affording a number of Jim McLean and Keith Rogers interested participants the opportunity to attend a small group session focused on chipping, pitching and bunker play. • On-course feedback. Allow participants to bid on “playing with a pro”–have Director of Instruction Keith Rogers join one of your groups for a nine-hole playing lesson during the tournament. Keith will focus on Course Management and the Mental Game, while implementing any quick fixes to flaws he detects in the foursome’s long and short games. • Discounted lesson packages at the Jim McLean Golf School (Denver location) and free video swing analysis offer at the Jim McLean Golf School with Director of Instruction Keith Rogers.

Please contact Director of Instruction Keith Rogers at (303) 880-2222 to discuss various package options and for personalized quotes. One-Hour Clinics start at $500. Add something new, fun and informative to your next golf tournament. Hire the pros at the Jim McLean Golf School at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, Denver’s newest location of the number-one-rated golf academy in the country.





COURSES The City of Lakewood has two outstanding municipal golf courses that offer golfers of every level an exciting golfing experience, coupled with spectacular views of Denver’s iconic skyline and the snowcapped peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Fox Hollow and Homestead offer a unique mix of terrain types and course challenges. Nestled next to Bear Creek Lake Park on native rolling prairie lands, both courses offer an opportunity for escape and relaxation with tranquil lakes, quiet streams and spectacular vistas.


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KEEPING IT FRESH New concepts, formats, venues and more will prevent your tournament from getting tired.  By Joe Grant CHARITY TOURNAMENT organizers know philanthropy can be as fickle as the game of golf itself. You’ll always have loyal players, but even the most charitable golfers will think twice before opening their wallets for the golf equivalent of Groundhog Day. At some point, it’s not enough to distinguish your tournament from everyone else’s; you have to keep distinguishing it from the ones you’ve done before. SWITCH COURSES The relationship between a charity and the golf course can be like a “Same Time, Next Year” love affair. But instead of a titillating rendezvous, the annual encounter becomes predictable and uninspired. Consider switching to a course in the same geographical area that might give a better deal or has more appeal. A change in venue gives you a story to pitch to participants, and, should you decide to change again, your jilted course might try harder to win you back, giving you leverage. CHANGE THE ITINERARY If you’ve always done a morning shotgun, don’t just move it to the afternoon. Start with a nine-hole afternoon shotgun, have dinner and drinks, and then play the holes closest to the clubhouse with glow-in-thedark balls and phosphorescent-taped flagsticks. Under a full moon, you can play even more holes. GET OUTTA TOWN! Destination weddings are all the rage. What about a destination golf tournament to celebrate a milestone anniversary—the “10th annual…”—of your charity or event? Booked far enough ahead, most top golf resorts love accommodating large groups. With enough pre-planning, you can attract sponsors and in-kind donations to offset any lodging or transportation costs. SCRAMBLE THE SCRAMBLE The standard scramble format is democratic but timeworn. How about these? • Texas Scramble: At least four drives must be used from every player. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Spring 2020

• Florida Scramble: You can’t play the same player’s ball on consecutive shots. • Modified Stableford System: Put your twist on the go-for-it scoring format from The International at Castle Pines. A double-eagle is worth 8 points, an eagle 5, birdie 2 and par 1. Bogey or worse counts as 0. Use full handicaps and those points will add up fast! • Shamble: Allow players to choose the group’s best drive and play their own ball to the hole. Record the low net score. ISLAND HOPING: BirdieBall’s floating green can raise the • Alternate Shot: Also called level of both fun and funds. Foursomes, this golf tournament format is for two-person teams. Playing the same to a scaled-down version of Coeur d’Alene’s ball, the two players alternate hitting shots famous island green on any body of water on a golf course. The easy-to-assemble until the ball is holed. green can float, anchored and tethered, 100-120 feet from the shore, where players SWEETEN THE SWAG How many logoed golf towels, golf hats and try to hit it into targets on the green. Birdiegolf shirts does any one person need? The Ball shots stick to the green—or float in the more creative and purposeful the logoed water and eventually return to shore. • Chip to Win. Anyone who’s attended gift, the more often the recipient will think of your charity when he or she uses it. Gifts the Denver Golf Expo has seen BirdieBall’s inflatable AirTargets—Golfrilla, BirdieRex that fall into this category are: and Golf-aroo—that have apertures to aim •  Cigar torch for. Mini-versions of each—with or without •  Deck of cards and poker chips your charity’s or sponsor’s logo—are now •  Private-labeled wine or liquor available for pre- or post-round chipping •  Embossed leather head cover contests for cash. Self-insure it or contact •  Etched wine or beer glasses BirdieBall (birdieball.com) for information. • Flask • The 21 Club. Another AirTarget is •  Fleece vest a Blackjack game with pie-slice-shaped •  Folding chair openings assigned different card values. •  Golf glove with logoed ball marker Players can “throw in their chips” in the •  Golf travel bag name of charity by wagering on themselves. •  Hand-rolled cigars with logo rings • BirdieBall’s synthetic putting •  Leather gym bag greens come in a variety of stimps, lengths • Rangefinder and configurations for putting contests that • Sunglasses can take place—with actual golf balls— •  Thumb drive with event photos indoors or outdoors. Contour Shims and hole-size reducers add to the challenge. BREAK OUT THE BIRDIEBALLS BirdieBall—the Evergreen company that in- Customized versions with sponsor logos, vented those limited-flight practice “balls” photographs, etc. make for great tee prizes. shaped like napkin rings that feel, fly, fade and draw just like real golf balls—produces KEEP ’EM ENTERTAINED logoed sleeves for swag bags, but its tour- Theatrics at golf events can range from skydivers to celebrity appearances. Other nament rental offerings go beyond that: • Floating Putting Green. Treat players entertainment options include:



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2020 TOURNAMENT GUIDE •  Trick It Out. Nobody will ever forget watching a man kneeling on a Swiss Ball crush 300-yard drives off a tee held between the teeth of a supine tournament player. The creativity and entertainment value of a trick-shot artist like Dan Boever (danboever.com) is well worth the price. • Razz to Raise Funds. Hire Hole Hecklers (holehecklers.com), a company started by comedian Jon “J Marc” Chambers, who’ll stand at a teeing area with a tamperproof donation box (its contents all for the charity) and start making goodnatured, non-profane banter with each foursome. Players can make a suggested donation, as well as add money to have the comics “$hut the Buck Up” or amp up the abuse (“Dough for Di$traction”). DIGITIZE AND MONETIZE On the range or a designated tee, have a golf pro or clubfitter provide players with data captured by a Trackman. Turn those data points into an optional competition (i.e. “highest swing speed”) and award prizes. FLUFF THINGS UP Stage a long-drive contest using marshmal-

that a 137-yard hole is the same distance from home plate to the centerfield fence at Coors Field. ALTER THE HOLE Boost team morale and speed pace of play by asking the course to alter some of the more difficult holes. An example might be adding two more holes on the green or even enlarging the physical hole. KICK IT Designate one par 3 for Footgolf. Have four soccer balls at the tee. Play scramble-style until a ball finds the 21-inch hole. TEED UP: Hole Heckler “J Marc” Chambers

lows on the practice range, at the turn, or from a tee on a hole without a carry. Just be sure to have someone collect them once the distance is calculated, as they can gum up maintenance equipment. TEE BALL On a par 3 have players “tee off” Rockiesstyle—either by throwing a golf ball or fungoing it with a baseball bat. They play golf from wherever the best ball lands. Note

HURL IT On a specific hole, give each team a FlingStick—a lacrosse-style stick sporting a golfball-sized plastic basket—with which to play the entire hole in scramble format. SPEED GOLF Make one par 4 the speed hole. Instead of low score, the goal is low time. Teams need to place themselves strategically on the fairway and near the green. Volunteers on the tee and green run the stopwatch.

ELEVATE YOUR GAME at Eagle Vail Golf Club T

ake in spectacular Rocky Mountain views as you play the challenging 18-hole championship course or Par 3 course. Enjoy a well-deserved meal at the Whiskey Hill Golf Grill afterwards. Call us to schedule a group or private lesson.

EagleVailGolfClub.com 970-790-1200 459 Eagle Drive | Avon, CO





The Final Lie The most influential golf-course architect of the last 50 years holes out.

GO ASK ALICE: Pete and Alice Dye’s collaboration resulted in more playable courses, such as Riverdale Dunes in Brighton (right).





PROLIFIC PETE: Dye attends the 1985 opening of Glenmoor Country Club, the second of four courses he built in Colorado over the span of four years. Six overall would bear his imprimatur.

PETE DYE, who died January 9 at the age of 94, didn’t start designing golf courses until 1959, when he was 33. Prior to that, he had great security and success selling insurance policies, but found the risks and rewards on the golf course far more appealing than those from an actuarial table. For a married father of two, such a career change was heretical, and that spirit of nonconformity would manifest itself in his layouts and revolutionize golfcourse design. “Pete took the normal, boring, out-and-back routing and gave it an emotional heart,” award-winning designer Jim Engh says. “He didn’t just push the envelope; he made the envelope bigger for the rest of us.” A skilled player who qualified for five U.S. Amateurs, one British Amateur and a U.S. Open, Dye found his design muse while he and his wife Alice—also an accomplished golfer and Pete’s cherished collaborator—took a tour of Scottish golf courses after the 1963 British Amateur. “Both Pete and I were champion golfers and played famous courses, which influenced our design features,” Alice said in a 2018 interview. Those features—nasty pot bunkers, unkempt waste areas, dramatic ground contours, bulkheads—earned him the nickname “Penal Pete.” Many of the more than 100 courses he designed would become famous in their own right: Harbour Town Golf Links, which he designed with Jack Nicklaus; the Stadium Courses at TPC Sawgrass and PGA West; The Ocean Course at Kiawah; Whistling Straits in Wisconsin; Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic. Dye layouts have hosted more than 20 USGA championships, five PGA Championships, two Solheim Cups and one Ryder Cup, with a second heading to Whistling Straits in September. His Colorado portfolio began in 1973 with The Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs, his first course west of the Mississippi River. It continued with Copper Creek Golf Club at Copper Mountain (’80), Plum Creek Golf Club in Castle Rock (’84), Glenmoor Country Club in Cherry Hills Village (’85), Riverdale Dunes Golf Course in Brighton (’86) and Gypsum Creek Golf Course (née Cotton Ranch Golf Club) in Gypsum (’87). Denver-based course architect Jim Urbina, who worked with Dye at Plum Creek and Riverdale Dunes, says Dye “was the consummate field golf course builder. He’d say, ‘Jim, we’re not golf course architects, we’re builders. You can’t take a design and hand it to somebody.’ Every time I worked with him, we never looked at plans. It was design-build. When he was in the field, in the moment, he built some of his best stuff.” Is it surprising, then, that Pete Dye’s “Member Locker” display in the World Golf Hall of Fame features a pair of mud-caked work boots? Among Dye’s best stuff, according to Urbina, is The Country Club of Colorado. “One of my favorite holes is the short par 4, No. 14, with water on the right and a big mound next to green. It was a template hole. He went on to build many renditions of it.” Two renditions of Pete and Alice Dye live on in Denver, where their sons, Perry and P.B., carry on the family business alongside their cousin, Cynthia Dye McGarey, from the Denver offices of Dye Designs. In addition to working on the aforementioned Colorado courses, the Dyes designed Denver’s Green Valley Ranch Golf Club and Broken Tee Golf Course & Par 3 Course in Englewood. —Jon Rizzi

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Profile for Colorado AvidGolfer

2020 Spring Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine  

ON THE COVER: Pole Position. Our 18th Annual CAGGY Awards. Celebrate the Best of Colorado Golf. FEATURED: The Golfer's Guide to Spring Trai...

2020 Spring Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine  

ON THE COVER: Pole Position. Our 18th Annual CAGGY Awards. Celebrate the Best of Colorado Golf. FEATURED: The Golfer's Guide to Spring Trai...