Rewind to 1918 when the Boston Red Sox beat the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, World War I came to an end and The Broadmoor opened. Spencer Penrose, a Philadelphia businessman, bought the property in 1916, investing millions he made from his copper and gold mines in Cripple Creek into the hotel, and it wasn’t long before it began building its well-deserved reputation for luxurious accommodations, attentive service and extraordinary golf.
Now, 100 years later, the resort is hosting the 39th U.S. Senior Open, a tournament that is seeing professional golf return to Colorado four years after the BMW Championship took place at Cherry Hills Country Club. A United States Golf Association event, the U.S. Senior Open joins an impressive list of golf tournaments hosted at The Broadmoor, including two U.S. Amateur Championships (1959, 1967), a Curtis Cup Championship (1962) a U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship (1982), the U.S. Senior Open (2008) and two U.S. Women’s Opens (1995, 2011).
Rounds over the four-day tourney are being played on the East Course, a formidable opponent for amateur and pro golfers alike. Conceived in 1917 by notable Scottish designer Donald Ross, the course opened on July 4, 1918. At the time, its location at 6,400 feet above sea level made it America’s highest golf course. Though known for its wide, tree-lined fairways and large greens, the 7,355-yard layout won’t simply hand over a low score.
“In my opinion Ross was the greatest golf course architect of all time,” says Russ Miller, The Broadmoor’s director of golf. “Even today, 100 years later, this course still stands up against any modern golf course.”
Six years after Jack Nicklaus won the 1959 U.S. Amateur, the course underwent a makeover by Robert Trent Jones, whose considerable portfolio includes West Point Golf Course, Spyglass Hill at Pebble Beach and Ohio’s Firestone Country Club. In preparation of the 2008 U.S. Senior Open, the layout experienced another tweak, one that gave a nod to the courses’ original look and feel.
This June spectators can watch 156 of the best senior golfers—those aged 50 and up—tee up in hopes of winning a share of the $4 million purse and the Francis D. Ouimet Trophy. University of Colorado football and golf standout Hale Irwin is among the few players with a pair of U.S. Senior Open wins. He took top honors in 1998 and 2000; Jack Nicklaus won in 1991 and 1993, and Kenny Perry won in 2013 and 2017. Recent champions include Fred Funk (2009), Bernhard Langer (2010) and Colin Montgomerie (2014). Champion of the first U.S. Senior Open played in 2008 at The Broadmoor was Argentinian Eduardo Romero.
Whether you’re an ardent fan or you’ve developed interest in the game more recently, The Broadmoor has made watching the rounds user friendly.
“For spectators that want to enjoy watching the championship but don’t necessarily want to walk the entire course, there are three key viewing locations,” Miller explains. “The tee box at hole number one will be surrounded by a grandstand where the gallery can watch competitors. This hole is one of the most scenic on the course and is always a popular spot to spectate.”
Miller described two other areas as a large grandstand behind the green on number four, a par-3 with the most treacherous green on the course. This grandstand also serves as great viewing for the green on number three and the approach shots to 18.
“The granddaddy grandstand of them all is located behind the green on 18, seating approximately 2,000 people and allowing standing room for an additional several thousand. There is no better place in golf to watch players hit their approach shots to the final green in hopes of winning the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy.”
If you can only attend one round, Miller’s suggests spectators walk the entire course in hole-by-hole order.
“This allows viewing of the challenging holes the players face and to better appreciate the incredible layout from 1918,” adds Miller. “It also introduces varied and delicious dining opportunities amid the concession stands located throughout the course.”
Marquis players like Fred Couples, John Daly, Sir Nick Faldo, Fred Funk, Jay Haas, Hale Irwin, Peter Jacobsen, Tom Lehman, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bernhard Langer, Jeff Maggert, Rocco Mediate, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O’Meara, Jesper Parnevik, Corey Pavin, Kenny Perry, Steve Stricker, Scott Verplank, Tom Watson and Davis Love III are expected to compete.
“I’m really happy that my first U.S. Senior Open will be at The Broadmoor, one of America’s historic resorts,” says Love. “Colorado has been a special place for my family. I won two PGA Tour tournaments at Castle Pines and my father captured two junior match-play tournaments on the state level here in the 1950s. Having competed in more than 20 U.S. Opens, I know that I’ll have the same type of challenges at the Senior Open because of the course and the world-class field. I’ll have to use all my skills to pass this ultimate test, but I am ready for it.”
The U.S. Senior Open is bringing 156 of the best senior golfers to The Broadmoor June 28–July 1.
Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. When accompanied by a ticketed adult, kids 17 and under are admitted free. Active duty, active reserve, retirees and veterans of any service branch, including immediate dependents, receive free admission Monday, June 25 for Military Appreciation Day and 50 percent off gallery ticket options for the remainder of the week.
Hotel: The Broadmoor has earned the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Awards for a record 57 consecutive years, the AAA Five-Diamond for 41 years, is on the Gold List for Condé Nast Traveler and was named the #1 Golf Resort of North America by Golf Magazine 2014-2015. broadmoor.com; 855-634-7711
Gallery Tips: Cameras aren’t allowed on tournament days; it’s OK to take photos with your mobile phone (it must be on silent). Wear tennis shoes or comfortable footwear. Be prepared for late afternoon rain (lightweight jacket, small umbrellas only). Apply sunscreen even on cloudy days. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol intake.
Kim D. McHugh, a former associate editor at Rocky Mountain Golf magazine, is a Lowell Thomas award-winning freelance writer.
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