Featured Course: History Surrounds You at Broadmoor East

By David R. Holland, Contributor

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- You watched the 1999 U.S. Open this year at Pinehurst No. 2 and heard the name Donald Ross about a zillion times. Ross, the Scottish-born master golf architect, designed 413 golf courses and died more than 50 years ago, but his name is still mentioned daily on golf courses around the country.

No need to venture down North Carolina way to play a Ross design. In Colorado his name has been etched for 81 years at The Broadmoor East Course he designed in 1918.

Ross also designed Denver's Wellshire Golf Course in 1926 (formerly a private course) and he redesigned Lakewood Country Club in Denver.

When Ross passed away in 1948 his portfolio included not only Pinehurst No. 2 and The Broadmoor East, but Seminole in Florida, and the site of the 1996 U.S. Open, Oakland Hills outside Detroit. More than 100 U.S. national championships have been played on his designs.

"I don't think it's the length of Broadmoor East," said Director of Golf Russ Miller of the 7,091-yard, par 72. "But it is the priority of hitting the greens in the right spots. Normally long is bad and short is good. The general rule is to keep the ball on the front part of the green with the flagstick between you and Cheyenne Mountain and you will have an easier putt."

Unlike Pinehurst No. 2 where the greens are shaped like a turtle's back, causing some good shots to roll off the green, Broadmoor East's greens are more fair to receiving a shot, but they are a fast nine to nine and a half on the Stimp Meter (played to an 11 during the 1995 U.S. Women's Open).

Course members agree putts break away from the Will Rogers Shrine on Cheyenne Mountain. But no doubt when you play the course there will be a few putts that will amaze you. It may look like a straight putt and end up breaking a foot. Countless one-time players of the course will end the day frustrated and shaking their heads at how much trouble they had reading the greens.

And these greens also have a definite Ross signature with nine holes having dramatic elevated greens. You will be striking the ball in the fairway to a green that is well above, making it a premium for solid contact. Missing the putting surface short or on the sides will see rare lucky bounces.

Many average golfers just don't have the feel for hitting a target they can't see. Missing the green long means you are in a heap of trouble and your next shot most likely will roll all the way to the front of the green or even off the green.

"This is a shotmaker's course and one that will make you play every club in the bag," Miller said.

Is it scenic? You bet. It has the aesthetics of a mature course with huge Ponderosa pines and spruces in the elevation change that goes from 6,400 feet at the clubhouse to 6,700 as you make your way through the layout. One of the reason folks come from all over the world to stay at The Broadmoor is the scenery.

Holes No. 9 and 18 are both beauties with water guarding the green. No. 9 is a 540-yard, par-five with The Broadmoor Hotel framed through a chute of trees.

A draw tee shot will produce the best result with the fairway slanting to the right. With a prevailing southerly breeze, hitting the green in two is possible. No. 18 a 415-yard, par four, doglegs right.

The toughest hole on the course is listed as the 408-yard, par-four No. 5, which will generally play into the prevailing south wind. Handicap No. 2 is the 13th, a brutal 481-yard par-four, but just hope it will be downwind.

History has played a big part of The Broadmoor East with Jack Nicklaus winning the 1959 U.S. Amateur on the course, Annika Sorenstam on the '95 Women's U.S. Open, and in 1962 the layout hosted the Curtis Cup Match won by U.S. women amateurs over British women amateurs.

"Our goal is to host a major in the near future," Miller said. "We would love to see the PGA or the Ryder Cup here."

Golf Club Manager Sherry Clark has seen a lot in her 28 years with The Broadmoor. "I think about all the times President Eisenhower played here and all the great women's competitions we've hosted...legends like Nancy Lopez. We also had PGA tour player Dow Finsterwald as the head pro for 30 years from 1963 to 1993."

"And many people don't know that we had a head pro once, Ed Dudley, who spent his summers here and winters as head pro at Augusta," Miller added.

The Broadmoor has two other 18-hole layouts. The West Course was designed in 1950 and redesigned in 1965 by Robert Trent Jones. The Mountain Course was designed in 1976 by Ed Seay and Arnold Palmer.

Other championships held at The Broadmoor include the Trans-Mississippi Championships, NCAA championships, U.S. Women's Amateur and World Seniors Golf Tournament. Last year it hosted the PGA Cup Matches in which 10 European club pros battled 10 U.S. club pros.

The Broadmoor East is rated yearly among the top upscale courses in America by Golf Digest and other publications.

Like many world-class resorts if you have to ask how much it costs to play at The Broadmoor, it's too expensive for you. But it's $205 cheaper than Pebble Beach, so that must be a bargain, huh? To play The Broadmoor, one must be a hotel guest or play as a member's guest.

If you are of modest means and some day want to "splurge" on a once-in-a-lifetime five-star vacation, The Broadmoor and its golf courses should be high on your list.

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Contributor

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter @David_R_Holland.

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