July Reporter's Notebook: Castle Pines' Making Things Narrow For 2002 Tournament

By David R. Holland, Contributor

CASTLE ROCK, CO -- Longer or narrower? The debate has even reached Castle Pines Golf Club, where this year's The International is scheduled for Aug. 1-4.

This beautiful Jack Nicklaus design in the Ponderosa pines and gambel oaks of the Rocky Mountain foothills already plays to 7,559 yards. But when defending champ Tom Pernice Jr. arrives this year he'll find tighter fairways.

Larry Thiel, executive director of The International, said fairways could be narrowed this year on as many as eight holes, but don't look for anything drastic.

"This course is still very long," Thiel said. "But the day may come, if the equipment technology and golf ball aren't addressed, that we'll say let's lengthen the course."

One way to make Castle Pines tougher would be to place a tee box behind the lake on the par-5 17th, which now measures 492 yards and is usually a pivotal point on Sunday for the leaders. This is where contenders can win or lose the tournament -- eagle is possible. Or they could simply make No. 17 a long par 4 for the competition.

This year's purse is $4.5 million with the winner taking home $810,000. Log on to www.golfintl.com for information about tickets and parking.

The Broadmoor: It's Where You Want To Be

Playing golf at The Broadmoor may be one of the biggest treats any golfer can give himself.

And at the end of June, with Colorado in the midst of a 100-year drought and occasional smoky skies dimming some of the spectacular mountain scenery, The Broadmoor never looked better.

Its historic buildings have received a $75-million facelift. And the golf courses are on a reduced watering schedule, but you could never tell. The fairways and greens are lush and the greens are in three-putt form.

"Putting at The Broadmoor is perplexing," said Jack Hollins of St. Louis. "This is the easiest place I've ever played for three-putts. Heck, you are going to see some four-putts."

It's as if the ghosts of Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones are pushing your ball away from the holes. Here's a daily scenario: A newcomer to The Broadmoor has hit to the back of a green. The hole is up front. His ball races past the pin and tumbles down a sloping front. He's 10 yards off the front of the green.

But that's part of the fun of playing these classic courses, where Jack Nicklaus won his first major -- the 1959 U.S. Amateur on the East Course. If you like a challenge try finishing a round here without a three-putt.

There may be no better time to visit The Broadmoor, home to the 1918 Donald Ross East Course, the Robert Trent Jones West Course and the nine-hole Mountain Course designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. Regular published rates start at $325 in the summer and $230 in the winter for a "classic" room, but the hotel has a summer special starting at $189 per night for Sunday through Thursday night stays. Golf will cost you $160 on the East and West Courses.

The Broadmoor also has a Grand Reopening Gift for Golfers -- a space available $252 per person/double occupancy ($353 for a single) Unlimited Golf and a Classic room. The package includes resort fee, but not taxes.

This offers is good now through September 19 and can only be reserved through 800-577-9683 in Denver or anywhere else at 800-634-7711.

This special breaks down to a $189 room and $150 for golf. The rack on rooms is $325 and golf is $165 so that's a great savings! There are restrictions; package is subject to availability and the amount of golf is restricted to available tee times. Recommendations: Book early in the week or mid-week for the most availability. The Broadmoor is usually booked up Thursday to Saturday.

Log on to www.broadmoor.com to make reservations and check out their new webcam for a live picture of the resort.

Want To Buy A Golf Course?

St. Andrews at Westcliffe, a nine-hole beauty at the base of the towering Sangre de Cristos Mountains in Westcliffe, can be yours. It's for sale for $1.1M or the seller will finance for $1.2 million.

Built in 1988 at just under 8,000 feet in elevation, this course has an outstanding view on the first hole. Your drive is aimed right towards the Sangre De Cristos. As owner, you will also enjoy the numerous streams on the layout and hilly fairways.

Westcliffe is in Custer County west of Pueblo in south-central Colorado. The course is located at 800 Copper Gulch Road. United Country Wapiti Realty is the agent. Log on to www.westcliffe-co-realestate.com/golf.htm for more information. Telephone is 719-783-9052.

Sonnenalp Offers Colorado Open Package

The Sonnenalp Resort of Vail is offering an exclusive package for this summer's Colorado Open set for Thursday, Aug. 29 through Sunday, Sept. 1, 2002 at the Sonnenalp Golf Club in Vail.

You can be a part of the VIP gallery at one of the most prestigious state open tournaments in the country. Lodging includes a luxurious suite, breakfast each day, daily VIP pass to the tournament, admission ticket to the VIP hospitality tent and a Colorado Open souvenir.

During more than 39 years of competition, the Colorado Open has become one of the premier state opens in the country for up-and-coming amateurs and professionals. It has a playing field of 156 players, attracts crowds of a minimum of 5,000 people, and has the largest purse.

Through the years, the Colorado Open has played host to names like Phil Mickelson, Willie Wood, Corey Pavin, Hale Irwin, Mark Wiebe, Jonathan Kaye and Fred Couples.

All proceeds raised from this event go to the University of Colorado Cancer Center and The Harry & Mary Louis Shaw Regional Cancer Center for general research and treatment and treatment programs.

If you would rather visit Sonnenalp to play golf take the Unlimited Play Package. You get preferred tee times, daily club cleaning and storage, unlimited use of the practice range, golf cart, yardage book, accommodation in a Sonnenalp junior suite and daily breakfast.

Visit the web site at www.sonnenalp.com for more information or email them at info@sonnenalp.com. Telephone 800-654-8312 or 970-476-5656

Sonnenalp Resort of Vail is a member of The Leading Small Hotels of the World. It is a AAA Four-Diamond European-style resort with 88 suites and two restaurants.

Red Sky Golf Club Debuts

Red Sky Golf Club near Vail opened the first of its two golf courses, a 7,113-yard, par 72 Tom Fazio course, on June 29. The golf course, started in 1998, was built to blend with its natural surroundings by combining rolling juniper trees and sage brush on the front nine followed by a mountain setting play through aspens on the back nine.

The club and course are located 15 minutes from the slopes of Beaver Creek, 25 minutes from Vail, and 20 minutes from the Vail/Eagle County airport.

Course designer Tom Fazio and PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem assisted in the grand opening event and Finchem endorsed the course by electing to become a member of the Red Sky Golf Club.

Vail Resorts Development Company created the club, which is the heart of Red Sky Ranch, a new golf community in the Rocky Mountains ultimately featuring two championship courses and only 87 residents on more than 700 acres. Members who play at Red Sky Golf Club will alternate with guest play between the two courses, the Fazio-designed course opening this weekend, and a second course, designed by Greg Norman scheduled to open next summer.

The Fazio course vistas include Vail's Back Bowls with an 800-foot elevation change. Three early holes wrap around a scenic highland lake; six holes play up and down the sage-covered hills; and the back nine runs through a dense forest of aspen. The wide range of terrain and course yardages requires golfers to make a variety of shots.

More than 97,000 sage and junipers were purchased or transplanted and used to blend the golf course perimeter into the natural landscape. Samples of native grasses also were collected from the site and analyzed in order to re-vegetate with an exact match of grass seed mix.

Red Sky Golf Club initiation fees are currently $175,000 plus annual dues, and the 425 memberships are only available on a limited basis. Resident guests of various Vail Resorts' lodging entities will enjoy golf play at Red Sky Golf Club as well, and limited play will be extended to Eagle County residents at a discounted rate. Each day one of the two courses will be reserved for members only with the other course offering guest play.

To receive additional information on Red Sky Ranch, call 970-477-8411 or visit www.redskyranch.com.

Antelope Hills Opens

Antelope Hills Golf Course in Bennett is now open. The newest Colorado course on the plains is a Rick Phelps design that measures 7,315 yards from the back tees.

The course is a life-long dream-come-true for golf pro Ralph Haddad, a 65-year-old who has thrown out a welcome mat for an affordable round of golf.

Antelope Hills Golf Course has wide landing areas and short walks from each green to the next tee. The views include the unobstructed Eastern Plains and the Rocky Mountains west.

Weekday green fees are $18 and one can play for $24 on the weekends. Bennett is 15 miles east of the Interstate 70 cutoff for Denver International Airport.

Antelope Hills is open from 6 a.m. until sunset. Log on to www.antelopehills.com for more information or call 303-644-5992 or toll free 877-488-5900.

The Homestead at Fox Hollow

In Lakewood, the 27-hole Fox Hollow Golf Club's Canyon, Meadows, and Links layouts have been favorites for years. It's female-friendly and a tough tee time to get.

So it was only natural that Lakewood officials wanted to expand and the decision was for an upscale, 18-hole executive course that includes a separate clubhouse and practice facility.

This short course plays 5,098 yards from the back tees, par 65, and opened in late June. Green fees will be $33 for non-residents and $28 for residents of Jefferson County. It has one par 5 and eight par 3s.

Executive courses are popular with seniors, juniors and ladies, but this Denis Griffiths' design is a challenge with bunkers, rough, mounds and twisting fairways.

Call 303-986-7888 for more information. The new course is located at 11500 West Hampden Avenue in Lakewood -- west of Kipling on the West Hampden frontage road.

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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