The Country Club of Colorado at Cheyenne Mountain Resort: Pete Dye's first Colorado golf course is a beauty
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- As a golf destination, Cheyenne Mountain Resort rested quietly for almost 18 years. Pete Dye's first Colorado layout, The Country Club of Colorado, was built in 1973, but for many seasons it was private and a secret known to few travel golfers.
And even when a resort hotel was built in 1985 it was called Cheyenne Mountain Conference Resort and didn't even try to attract resort golfers. Pull in to the parking lot on a weekend and it was deserted -- a virtual ghost hotel. Members were the only ones enjoying Dye's design handiwork.
But when Benchmark Hospitality, Inc. purchased International Conference Resorts, things started to change. Why not advertise for resort golfers, the company asked itself?
Today, Cheyenne Mountain Resort has undergone the metamorphosis. Resort golfers are now welcome to enjoy Dye's gem, but the resort is much, much more.
Vacationers now find a complete getaway experience -- two restaurants, a lounge and a pub, 18 tennis courts, squash and racquetball courts; health and fitness center, and a 35-acre recreation lake (golf course's back nine plays around it) for water sports such as windsurfing, canoeing, sailing and trout fishing. The Springs' only sand beach is here, too, and it is bustling on the weekends.
The golf course is busier, too.
"What's special about Cheyenne Mountain Resort is the great variety of holes, combined with the ambiance of the majestic mountains," said Dye.
"I adapted the design to the natural terrain, giving the course its own special character, and that original design is still the same," Dye said. "I get good reports from people about Cheyenne Mountain. They tell me it's a great course to play, where you need every club in your bag, and where not only are the holes varied but they have to be played differently on a given day depending on the weather."
The Country Club of Colorado is set at the foot of historic Cheyenne Mountain and designed around a 35-acre spring-fed lake known as Curr Reservoir. It has long been considered one of the more challenging courses in Colorado. Native grasses and slick greens also await you.
"In the fall the greens can speed up to 12.5 on the Stimp Meter," said Majure. "We get lots of comments from the golfers when that happens. So we try to manage the speed -- we don't want to see any guests out there struggling."
A special salt-resistant grass was developed here in the 1970s that today is available to golf courses everywhere. Because there was a problem in one area with the salinity of the soil, "I didn't think they could grow grass there," recalled Dye.
But Golf Course Superintendent Stan Metzger, who was there from the beginning and remained the superintendent for 30 years until his recent retirement, was undeterred and went to work on the problem. In conjunction with the University of Colorado, a salt-resistant grass was created that Scotts Company would later put on the market.
"Stan was a true professional and I thought so much of him that, for the first and only time, I went back to a course to attend a superintendent's retirement party," said Dye.
"It's rewarding to look back and see that I was part of something that got the area going," reminisced Dye. "At the time I designed it, there was nothing out there but the golf course, while today it's a beautiful area with an upscale country club, a resort and homes."
The Country Club of Colorado's 14th hole is a classic Dye risk-reward par 4 of 357 yards. Wrapped around the lake, choose how much real estate you want to bite off. But it can bite you, too. If you are successful on the drive, the approach shot funnels into a narrow opening to the green, butting up against the water.
The other signature hole is the 17th, a scary 187-yard par 3. Water carries the entire right side and a tee shot at the pin must traverse the wet stuff. Nervous? Bail-out area is left. The green is long and narrow.
After your round, Cheyenne Mountain Resort is the perfect place to relax -- a great alternative to its next door neighbor, The Broadmoor.
Cheyenne Mountain Resort lodging
The resort's 316 guest rooms and suites are conveniently clustered in eight residential lodges, each with a private balcony and views of Cheyenne Mountain and the Country Club of Colorado. With 310 sunny days annually, the direct access to balconies and decks is just another way to experience the crisp mountain air.
July 1, 2002