History Surrounds You at Broadmoor East
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Donald Ross arrived at the site of The Broadmoor in the summer of 1916 and he looked out over an arid prairie with breath-taking scenery. He knew at once this was going to be one of the top golf resorts anywhere.
When The Broadmoor opened in July 1918, Ross' golf course opened too, and he claimed it was his best work -- even superior to a golf course he had done in Pinehurst, North Carolina, that would become known as "Pinehurst No. 2".
Eighty-two years later, The Broadmoor East Course has a history of its own and it will forever be tied to master golf architect Ross.
In Golf Magazine's September 2000 issue, The Broadmoor East Course is No. 44 on the "Top 100 You Can Play List", Pinehurst No. 2 is No. 2. But the East Course has moved up from No. 67 in the publication's 1998 list.
Remember the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2? Who could forget the emotional high of the triumph by Payne Stewart and the monumental low of his subsequent death a few months later in a Learjet crash in South Dakota?
If you watched that historic Stewart victory you heard the name Donald Ross about a zillion times. The Scottish-born legend designed 413 golf courses and died more than 50 years ago, but his name is still mentioned daily on golf courses around the country.
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.
Actually, Broadmoor East and West are joint efforts by Ross and Robert Trent Jones Sr., who later modified the East Course. Through the years there have been many design modifications and some re-routing of hole sequences.
In 1941, when Ed Dudley was named head pro, it marked a very prestigious period. Dudley spent his summers at The Broadmoor and winters as head pro at Augusta National. In all, Dudley was head pro for 22 years, and he was responsible for bringing many of the Hollywood celebrities to the resort. After his death in 1963 he was elected to the Golf Hall of Fame.
History was written at The Broadmoor East when 19-year-old Jack Nicklaus won the 1959 U.S. Amateur on the course. He birdied 17 and 18 to come from one behind to defeat Charlie Coe. Babe Zaharias won three Broadmoor Women's Invitationals in 1945, 1946 and 1947. Annika Sorenstam won the 1995 Women's U.S. Open here and in 1962 the layout hosted the Curtis Cup Match won by U.S. women amateurs over British women amateurs.
"I think about all the times President (Dwight D.) 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," said Golf Club Manager Sherry Clark, who has seen 29 years at The Broadmoor.
The future? "Our goal is to host a major," said Director of Golf Russ Miller. "We would love to see the PGA or the Ryder Cup here."
The golf course? "I don't think it's the length of Broadmoor East," said 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. Talk about optical illusions. 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.
"I've played these courses about 10 times over the years," said Ron Smith of Dallas, "and everyone here tells me the West is tougher. Not for me. I play better on the West every time. Maybe it's the elevated greens on the East that makes it harder for me and also I just can't get a feel for short chips. Putting is always a real challenge on both courses."
Is it scenic? You bet. Is it lush? Yep. Even in the dry summer of 2000, The Broadmoor courses were as green as you would find in Colorado. Both courses have the aesthetics of a mature course with huge Ponderosa pines, Douglas-firs and blue 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-5 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-4, doglegs right.
The toughest hole on the course is listed as the 408-yard, par-4 No. 5, which will generally play into the prevailing south wind. Handicap No. 2 is the 13th, a brutal 481-yard par-4, but just hope it will be downwind.
The Broadmoor has two other 18-hole layouts. The West Course was designed in 1960 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 Course
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:
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.
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" 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.
Where to Dine
The newly renovated Charles Court is the choice for fine dining and a extensive wine selection with the option of lakeside alfresco dining with superb views of Cheyenne Mountain. The restaurant's American-oriented menu changes monthly with a selection of Rocky Mountain fare including Colorado Rack of Lamb and innovative seafood dishes. Winner of The Wine Spectator's "Award of Excellence" and the "Sante Award," Charles Court offers more than 600 wines, ranging from $12 to $1,300 per bottle. The collection includes American, French, Italian, German and Australian wines and vintage depth in Bordeaux and Burgundies.
For an intimate and unique dining experience, Charles Court features a Chef's Table for a minimum of four guests. Seated in the kitchen with no barriers, guests may choose from the menu or allow the Chef to create a customized, multi-course meal. Dress is casual and its opened for breakfast and dinner nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
The Broadmoor is located 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.
Practice Fac.: A
Clubhouse/Pro Shop: A
Pace of Play: A
Resort Hotel: A+
Overall Rating: A
September 7, 2004