June Notebook: Colorado Waits for Rain, Plus News from Across the State

By David R. Holland, Contributor

DENVER, CO -- It's hardly summer in Colorado but in parts of the state it's so hot and dry that one rancher said he saw a robin pulling a worm out of the ground with a potholder and a vise grip.

"I wish it would rain," the rancher said, "not so much for me, but I've got a two-year-old who has never seen rain."

That's an exaggeration, of course, it's not really that hot in Colorado, there was even a late-May snow. Still, Colorado needs steady rain for an extended period to erase the water shortage and make a dent in the drought.

Already, Grandote Peaks Golf Club in La Veta, is so low on water that it is only sprinkling tees and greens. With the fairways already turning brown, another week or two without rain could makes things grim.

Golf-course designer Andy Johnson, based in Edwards in the Vail Valley, said he recently was informed by owners of Melby Ranch, a 35-acre ranchette development in the San Luis Valley, that there's just not a source for water sufficient for its planned golf course.

The Melby Ranch Golf Course, planned for the shadows of Mount Blanca and Mount Cuelbra, is dead in the water.

At the Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs one official said drenching rains were needed to erase the winter kill even though they have plenty of reclaimed water. At Castle Pines, home of The International, there's enough non-potable water, too, but in order to grow deep rough for the tournament, it needs rain and more rain.

The brand-new Golf Club at Bear Dance in Larkspur is lucky. It can draw from two deep wells.

Castle Rock course designer Jim Engh says some Colorado courses are affected by periodic drought periods more than others.

"It becomes a situation by situation basis." Engh said. "When residential rationing is instituted in the summer months it is usually to ration treated drinking water which is most often used for residential irrigation. Therefore, those rationing periods are usually caused by the inability of the water plant to keep up with the demand."

"Most golf courses today use untreated water and they don't have to go through the treatment plant. In short, the source of water is the determining factor regarding a drought period," he said.

What Drought?

Drought? The folks at the Denver City Park Golf Course's new clubhouse only wish it had been dry on March 27 when a broken water main flooded the basement and area around the clubhouse with 10 million gallons of water only a day before its grand opening.

Everything in the basement had to be replaced including a boiler. The opening has been reset for June 11.

The clubhouse is a Spanish-Mediterranean styled building with a restaurant which includes some historical photos. Denver city golf officials will also have their offices here. The new clubhouse includes a club repair shop with the proceeds going to the city's junior golf programs.

City Park Golf Course is located at 2500 York Street and dates back to 1912, when a cow pasture was transformed into one of the nation's longest golf courses at 6,767 yards. Encroaching development over the years shortened the golf course to 6,595 yards. The land had also been home to a brickyard and orchard. Golf was free for a time but in 1918 golfers had to pay $6 for an annual pass.

Located only five minutes from downtown, City Park has great views of Denver and the Rocky Mountains. Trees line the fairways and frame views of the skyline. Many golfers say that the small sloping greens, distinctive bunkering and tight fairways make City Park Golf Course a challenge. Call 303-295-4420 for tee times.

Andy Johnson's Projects

Johnson, whose Saddleback Golf Club in Firestone opened last summer, is working on numerous projects including Rio Vista in McAllen Texas; Cross Hollow Resort, Cedar City, Utah; Eagle Lake Golf Club, Ogden, Utah; and Green River Park Golf Club, Utah.

After graduation from college and playing an amateur golf career, Johnson entered the ranks of golf professionals. He says he attained a sound business perspective on the golf world, and as a golf pro, he developed a knowledge of the operations of a golf course.

Johnson taught golf and played tournament golf, which, he says, also gave him the insight into views and strategy to help him design golf courses. He also grew up as the son of a golf professional in Pennsylvania, where he was given the chance to play some of the classics in that region of the county.

"I lived the golfer's dream, playing classic golf courses such as Merion, Winged Foot, Pine Valley and Baltusrol. My youth left me with a love of great golf courses and a sense of what elevates great golf courses above good ones," Johnson said.

For more information on Johnson check out his website at

Flying Horse Ranch

Good news for Tom Weiskopf design fans. Flying Horse Ranch, a 1,600-acre mixed-use development by Classic Homes, is in the planning stages for just north of Colorado Springs.

Weiskopf, who authored The Ridge at Castle Pines North, ranked No. 1 daily-fee course in the state by, will design the golf course and Troon Golf has been engaged to assist with development of the layout.

Initial thoughts are that Flying Horse ranch will be a high-end private course with a possible 250-350 room resort spa next door.

Windsor Highlands

Groundbreaking is scheduled this summer for Windsor Highlands, a public course with a goal to have a private look and feel. The 7,050-yard championship par-71, 18-hole course is the work of Arthur Schaupeter of Schaupeter Golf and will offer five sets of tees.

The front nine will have generous fairways producing a variety of uphill and downhill lies. The back nine follows changing elevations through natural arroyos and canyons.

Terraced fairways and platform greens will be framed by bunkers, and there will be multiple water features and a four-acre pond on the first hole. Golf carts will be equipped with state-of-the-art GPS System.

The course is being built in conjunction with Highland Meadows, a residential housing project.

Colorado Golf Hall of Fame

Rick DeWitt, Maggie Giesenhagen and John Hamer are the latest to be voted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame.

DeWitt has been voted Colorado Golf Association player of the Year five times and has won 13 state titles. Giesenhagen won the 1965 Big Ten Conference medallist honors and has served as executive director of the Colorado Women's Golf Association. Hamer is a former All-Big Eight golfer for the Colorado Buffs and won the Colorado Golf Association's stroke play titles in 1969 and 1970.

Formal induction will be on June 10 during the banquet in association with the annual Colorado Golf Hall of Fame Tournament.

Castle Rock's Jim Engh, was also named Colorado Golf Hall of Fame Person of the Year. Engh designed Grand Junction's Golf Club at Redlands Mesa, the No. 2 ranked daily-fee course in Colorado by

The Distinguished Service Award was won by Sally Lou Schultz, a past president of the Colorado Women's Golf Association. Colorado Open former executive director Ronn Spargur, won the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame's Lifetime Achievement Award.

The International Youth Series

The International, together with the Colorado PGA Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Golf Tour and other sponsors, has developed a summer-long program, which includes hosting junior golf tournaments and clinics at golf clubs throughout the state. Juniors receive hands-on instruction from PGA Section professionals at the clinics and gain invaluable experience in the tournament competitions.

All of the juniors that participate in the Youth Golf Series are encouraged to submit an application for the final Youth Golf Series events -- The International's Invitational and the Pro-Junior Challenge. This is a unique golf program designed to impact youth throughout Colorado by focusing on the development of golf for children at all ability levels.

The Pro-Junior Challenge marks the culmination of The International Youth Golf Series and is held during the week of The International PGA Tour event. Thirty-two junior golf participants will be selected to play in a five-hole scramble competition, along side PGA Tour professionals. This year's event will be held on Monday, July 29, 2002. Check out for more details and information on applying.

Pueblo Golf Specials

Pueblo wants to be a Colorado golf destination and they are offering specials. Summer deals are offered for as low as $56.95 for one night's lodging and 18 holes of golf. Call toll free 866-515-2440 for the latest packages and prices.

The golf courses include Walking Stick, rated 4 Stars by Golf Digest, City Park Golf course with 27 holes and Desert Hawk, one of the state's longest courses.

Aurora Golf Course Tee Times

Golfers can now book Aurora golf course tee times on the internet four days in advance by logging on to and looking under Advance Tee Times.

Golfers can use VISA, MasterCard or their current Aurora Reservation Card to access the times. Every golfer will have to complete a first-time registration through the new online system.

The City of Aurora Golf Division currently runs seven public golf courses. These are: Aurora Hills 303-364-6111, Center Hills Par-3 Course 303-343-4935, Fitzsimons 303-364-8125, Meadow Hills 303- 690-2500, Murphy Creek 303-361-7300, Springhill 303-739-6854 and Saddle Rock 303-699-3939. For four-day advance reservations, directions and more information, you can also call the Aurora Automated Tee Time Line at 303-397-1818.

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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