Broadmoor West: Tricky Greens, Rich History And Golf-Loving Celebrities
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Since opening in 1918, it's not what celebrities or presidents have vacationed and played golf at The Broadmoor -- it's more like who hasn't?
A hall in The Broadmoor West building is lined with photos of celebrities. One that will really catch the eye of a golf purist was taken in the early 1950s of two future golf-course architects and an actress-model -- Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Rees Jones, and Candice Bergen. Guessing, it would appear Candice is about six, Junior around 13 and Rees 11.
It's evidence that Robert Trent Jones, who passed away June 14, 2000, was visiting and being a consultant at The Broadmoor even before he was officially employed in 1958 to design an additional nine holes to Donald Ross' original 18. This "new" nine meant the members could still play golf when The Broadmoor was holding a competition. Jones was also hired to re-tool Ross' design.
Jones was then invited back in 1964 to expand his nine into 18. Needless to say, The Broadmoor was the only golf club in Colorado to have 36 holes of championship golf.
Tradition, history and great golf -- that's The Broadmoor. The old-style white wooden clubhouse (first used as a casino and for boxing matches) is gone, deemed a fire hazard. It was replaced in 1994 by a huge, 90,000-square foot first-class building that includes a restaurant, spa, and tennis and golf pro shops.
The West Course even has a waterfall, which is "in" today in new golf-course design. You will find one on No. 1, the par-4, 372-yard hole, which also serves as a water hazard if you stray too far right on your opening tee shot. The East Course has a waterfall on No. 6.
As you head down the first fairway you can't help but enjoy the red hue on Cheyenne Mountain as you start an early-morning round. The blue spruce and Douglas-fir tower above you on the same grounds where Bing Crosby and Bob Hope clowned around -- where Jackie Gleason, took that famous pose -- left hand with cigarette on hip, right hand and weight supported by a 2-iron, looking down the fairway, impatiently ready for the green to clear. His foursome on that day included Flip Wilson, Buddy Hackett and The Broadmoor head pro Ed Dudley.
It's the same 3,000-acre resort that has hosted golf many times for Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gerald Ford. Industry leader L.B. Maytag was once president of the golf club and J.C. Penney visited here. It's where the names Nicklaus, Zaharias and Sorenstam have been etched into championship trophies.
In September 1998, the resort hosted the PGA Cup Matches on the West Course, which plays as a narrow venue, more than 7,190-yards long at par 72. And like The Broadmoor East Course, the greens will tantalize you. Most agree these greens, bent and poa annua, are even more sloped than the East, but you can bet they break away from the mountains.
"Some of the greens are 120 feet across," said Russ Miller, Director of Golf. "Because they are so large it's not unusual for players to end the round with a higher-than-normal tally of three-putt greens." And watch for those four-putt greens, too.
No. 11 is a signature beauty. The par-3, 229-yarder drops in elevation 100 feet, surrounded by trees and a lake front and left. The green is 30 yards deep and slants to the water. If you hit on the right side of the green you might get a good kick toward the pin, but you can also easily chip from the right and roll off the slick green.
Beware of the 12th green on this par-4, 486-yard dogleg right. It appears to be somewhat flat, but just watch as your chip from the front apron picks up speed as it rolls off the back of the green.
If your eye can visualize a good tee shot on No. 13 you will have a birdie opportunity. This 361-yard par-4 has traps left that shrink the fairway in the landing area. If you can hit it 250 yards you will pass the narrow part, past the traps and into a larger landing area. Here you will have 115 yards to a teardrop-shaped green guarded on the right by a pond.
If the greens have teased you all day don't fear. No. 18 is just what you needed for an ego boost. This par 5, at 556 yards, is reachable in two for big hitters and especially from the forward tees when the wind is coming out of the south. There's no water in sight and this should be a cinch birdie for low-handicappers.
And how about the Mountain Course, designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay in 1976? The Mountain Course is even narrower than the West Course, with winds blowing through ravines in the foothills for even more problems for golfers. But unfortunately, only nine holes are opened for the 2000 summer. The course, which is even closer to Cheyenne Mountain, was the victim of some fast water during a storm. The damaged nine will have to be rebuilt.
The Broadmoor, now with 700 guest rooms and suites, has continuously evolved and modernized over the years and 2000 will be another milestone. Beginning in November the original Main Building will begin a $67-million renovation project that will enlarge older rooms and redefine luxury. A zero-gravity pool will be added with pool-side cabanas. Part of the ambitious project is scheduled to be completed by spring 2001.
1 Lake Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Telephone: 719-634-7711 or 800-634-7711.
Internet Address: http://www.broadmoor.com.
Green Fees: Members and hotel guests only.
Hotel guests $135, half cart $15.
Golf and Tennis Packages: http://www.broadmoor.com/packages.html#golf. Former SMU tennis coach Dennis Ralston heads the tennis program.
Practice Fac.: A
Clubhouse/Pro Shop: A
Pace of Play: A
Resort Hotel: A+
Overall Rating: A
The Broadmoor's Last Round of the Season package goes from November 1 to 30. It's $179 per person, double occupancy and includes a classic guest room, incidental service fee, green fee and cart rental plus one 18-hole round per room night.
The Teaching Company
The Broadmoor has a partnership with The Teaching Company, giving resort guests and corporations access to more than 30 of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Instructors, as well as 75 of the leading golf professionals worldwide. The Teaching Company can help The Broadmoor's corporate meeting planners create a custom golf experience for any size of outing. Call for details.
The Broadmoor is the longest-running winner of the prestigious Mobil Five Star and AAA Five Diamond awards. Gary Galyean's Golf Letter has named The Broadmoor as one of his Global Top Ten Golf Resorts. It was on Golf Magazine's 1998 list of Gold Medal Resorts. Golf Digest rated the East Course 2nd and the West Course 6th among the "Best Public Courses" in Colorado for 1996.
Golf Magazine rated the East Course 67th best under the 1998 category of the Top 100 Courses You Can Play in the U.S. Golf for Women rated the East Course 5th best of "America's Best Women-Friendly Courses. In 1992, Golf Digest ranked the East 29th among the Top Resort Courses, and awarded it 58th in the category of the Top 75 Upscale Courses. Golf Digest rated the East Course as the 10th Best in State course for 1995-96, and 15th best for 1997-98. The West Course was awarded 58th place among the Top 75 Resort Courses for 1992, and it was rated as the 16th Best in State course for 1995-96. Audubon International has certified the East and West Courses for environmental excellence.
Where to Dine
The Tavern, opened in 1934 to celebrate the end of Prohibition, is only one of 11 restaurants located at The Broadmoor. It is a favorite for prime rib and live entertainment. Spencer Penrose lined the walls with bottles from his extensive collection which he had stockpiled before the enactment of the anti-liquor law in 1919. Dress casually when you come here. It's open for lunch and dinner and specializes in steak cooked over a wood-burning grill, vegetables and breads prepared in the wood-fired oven. Live piano music begins in the early evening, followed by a four-piece orchestra and dancing. It's located steps away from the front desk on the first floor of the main building.
A Little History
Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose built the Pikes Peak Road as a means for resort guests to get to the mountain's 14,110-foot summit and sponsored the first Pikes Peak Hill Climb, an auto race to the summit.
The Broadmoor also has a full-service spa, 20 tennis courts, 11 restaurants and lounges, a cigar bar and nightclub, 19 specialty shops, more than 114,000-square feet of meeting and conference space, three swimming pools, riding stables, on-site florist and greenhouse and a first-run movie theater. The new West Tower is on the site of an old stables building that was also used as The Broadmoor World Arena -- many big-name U.S. Olympic medal winning skaters trained here and the U.S. and Russia once played a hockey game.
Legend of the Small "A" in the Word Broadmoor: You will only see this small "A" in official Broadmoor literature and on official signs large and small at the resort. Legend has it founder Spencer Penrose wanted to buy Colorado Springs' first opulent hotel, The Antlers. One night after a few drinks he rode into the lobby of The Antlers on horseback and made his request to purchase the hotel. He was turned down. In a huff, Penrose told them he would build a hotel and that it would dwarf The Antlers. The small "A" is now symbolic for that other little hotel in the city.
The Broadmoor is located at 1 Lake Avenue in Colorado Springs on the southwestern edge of the city. If you are arriving by car, exits off I-25 are clearly marked. When leaving the airport by car, take Drennan Road to Hancock Expressway, turn right onto Hancock Expressway to South Circle Drive. Circle Drive becomes Lake Avenue and terminates at the entrance to The Broadmoor.
If driving from Denver on I-25, go past the downtown area and turn right or west on Circle Drive. Head toward Cheyenne Mountain and you will dead end at The Broadmoor.
February 2, 2012