I imagine that someone or something has already coined the phrase "Jewel" of the this or that; however, I am evoking the phrase to praise the Broadmoor's Mountain Golf Course, that opened this past July after about a year's maturing. The Broadmoor Mountain Course is a Jack Nicklaus design and it lives up to those names, Nicklaus and mountain.
Other sculptured courses in our country and around the world will be hard pressed to rival the beauty of this golf course. Cheyenne Mountain is its venue and as you play it, the Will Rodgers Memorial chimes above. Look down the mountain and there is Colorado Springs and far beyond Kansas.
I was honored to play the last round of golf on the old Mountain Course, which at the time was only nine holes. I participated as a caddy in the Colorado Springs Tourist and Convention Bureau's annual ladies golf tournament three years ago. After the award presentations, anyone who wanted to play the last rounds on the course was invited to do so. That was a "no brainer" for me. By the way, the current name of the travel bureau is "Experience Colorado Springs."
As part of The Broadmoor's $160,000,000+ expansion and renovations the powers that be included completely redesigning and rebuilding this course. The only thing left standing was the clubhouse. It's still there but with a "talking" moose in the dining area. You have to go there to understand what a talking moose is. There is a new pro shop further up the road. This new structure is a pro shop and sports bar lounge, which includes three flat-screen digital televisions to enjoy golf and other sports and news channels.
THE OLD CLUBHOUSE STILL REMAINS FOR SPECIAL USE AFTER TOURNAMENTS
Before you get too excited about running out and playing the course, be advised that it will close down for the season in mid-October. In the past the nine hole Mountain Course could be played by the general public for $50. Not so anymore. There are only three ways I know of that we guys and gals can play. You can be a guest of a Broadmoor Golf Club member, a guest at the Broadmoor five star Hotel and Resort, or the best way is to sign up to play at one of the open tournaments being held there. You can find a list of tournaments on the SeniorFriendlyGolf.com web site or in the Colorado Springs Business Journal on Fridays. The cost to play in charity and non-profit golf tournaments will be scarcely more than the regular guest green fee, which in the past has been around $165. I was fortunate to play in the St. Stephens Classical Academy School tournament for $175.
Now about the course. When I mentioned that it is true to its name as a "mountain" course, what I mean is that virtually every hole slants away from the mountain. Expect your tee shots to slide that way. Ever heard of playing your slice? Here you play your roll. The fairways are in plush condition. This is attested to by the fact that the course was actually finished a year ago and the opening was delayed until this past July. A mistake I see most new courses making is to open too soon and then having to make excuses of one kind or another why their greens are not in good condition or what have you. You can even take a divot with your iron shots. This means the course has a good soil base.
You will not have to worry about water holes to cross over. There are none. You will be challenged by significant links style grass on most of the tees, so if you are able to get those shots up into the air, you will fare well. Also, for seniors, be sure to play the gold front tees. The course has five sets of tees to choose from according to your handicap or skill level. I was a little unfair earlier this year when I criticized the new Flying Horse Golf Course for being so hard after playing in the Fisher DuBerry Charity Golf Tournament. I returned there later and played from the forward tees and had to recant my opinion that it was such a hard course. The Broadmoor Mountain and Flying Horse courses are totally different and enjoyable golf experiences.
The hazards are plentiful with blind shots that greet you with a creek or ravine when you walk up to take your second shot. The rough is natural grass and they ask that you keep your carts out of it; however, you are allowed to walk into it to find your ball from errant shots. Lots of luck with that. I lost five balls. You are going to have to be accurate. This is not a target course, but remember about the down hill roll. If you hit your ball to the center of the fairway on many holes it will roll into the rough, so you will always have to plan ahead and place your shots on the high sides. A good tip for all golfers is to play each shot to position it for your next one. Good advice here.
The approach to greens is beautiful, especially since in many cases the Rocky Mountains loom ever present. The course has plenty of bunkers, especially around greens to challenge your approach. Don't count on many soft front fronts to pitch and run. You are going to have to perfect your wedge play to score well. The sand in bunkers is soft and light, so keep this in mind when blasting out and go deep with your swing or you might swoosh your shot. At least that's what it looked like to me. I was able to avoid them when I played.
Most golfers know that when you putt around mountains the ball will break away and if you are playing near the ocean it will break towards the water. You can count on the ball breaking away on the greens. Trust me. While the greens are average to large in size compared to other country club golf courses, many have a characteristic of challenging contours. If play is not too slow you will be best served to drive up to each green your first time to see exactly where to place your shot. Once on a green, you may find there is more than one level. You may find a green has a shelf so you can make sure your ball gets on top of the shelf so you will not have to negotiate the slope up to the hole. You can count on a good approach sticking when it hits the green but remember to repair your divots.
This course is not especially long. Pros and scratch golfers should easily par most holes, birdie a few and even bring in an eagle or two. That is on their third or fourth rounds. The first couple of rounds will teach them a lesson not to go for it on every swing.
BEAR FLAGS AT THE MOUNTAIN COURSE A TRIBUTE TO NICKLAUS
I mentioned that the Mountain Course lives up to the Nicklaus name. His courses are all of the highest quality. I believe in honoring this great golf icon; the Broadmoor has done so with flags on the greens. Each flag has a golden bear on it. That brought a smile to my face. What a great golfer and a great gentleman. I hope he will come play in the 2008 Senior Open at the Broadmoor. By the way, I have a hole for crowd control at the event and would love anyone reading this article to join my team. To find out more just go to the Senior Friendly Golf web site for complete information. You do not have to have experience to participate
For a golfer's view from tee to green on each click here click here.
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You may contact John Darling by email GolfGuy@SeniorFriendlyGolf.com.