Golf: Broadmoor Horizons
A 1920s-era brochure for the Broadmoor shows an image of the then-new resort’s circular driveway, white facade, and vine-draped loggia, accompanied by a caption that states, “All four sides of the hotel are equally attractive.” The same cannot be said of the resort’s hometown of Colorado Springs. In the decades since its beloved Broadmoor opened in 1918, this former mining community has sprawled with strip malls and tract homes to the north toward Denver, south toward Pueblo, and east across the high plains. To the west, however, development has been checked by Cheyenne Mountain, a sheer, forested Front Range peak that beautifies the view from even the most mundane of the city’s surroundings.
Stretching for some 3,000 acres on the lower slope of Cheyenne Mountain, the Broadmoor, like Colorado Springs, has evolved and expanded appreciably over the years. But the resort has grown in tactful fashion, continually adding new facilities—a spa, golf clubhouse, infinity pool, wing of lakefront suites, and Adam Tihany–designed brasserie in the last five years alone—and replacing those that have become unseemly.
Such was the case with the Broadmoor’s South Course, a 1970s-era Arnold Palmer layout located a couple of miles from the hotel. With the Donald Ross–designed East Course (host of the 2008 U.S. Senior Open Championship) and the Robert Trent Jones–designed West Course close at hand, few guests made the extra effort to be punished on the hilly, narrow, and lengthy South. This lack of interest became a virtual void in 2000, when landslides forced the closure of nine of the course’s 18 holes.
In 2004, the resort closed the South’s remaining holes and hired Jack Nicklaus, who won the U.S. Men’s Amateur Championship at the Broadmoor in 1959, to create an all-new layout in its place. “We were looking for someone who would make clever use of the land, not just a redesign of our old course,” says Mark Kelbel, the Broadmoor’s head golf professional. “Nicklaus had new ideas. He wanted nothing to impede the views. He wanted you to always know you were in Colorado.”
The Mountain Course, which opened with its new look and name in July, accentuates the Front Range environs—and eases the burden on high handicappers—with elevated tee boxes that open to wide, slanted fairways and expansive views of the city and mountains. The course remains a challenge from the back tees, at times requiring 200-plus-yard carries over patches of native grass strewn with granite boulders. Pristine fairways and greens contribute to the scenery, which is perhaps the most picturesque of the Broadmoor’s three courses.
As on the other courses, but even more so on this isolated stretch, golfers play in peace and quiet on the Mountain. The setting’s silence is broken only by the occasional swoosh of a swing and the chimes from a mausoleum that the Broadmoor’s founder, Spencer Penrose, built for himself on a cliff overlooking the resort. From that or any other vantage, golf at the Broadmoor now appears to be equally attractive on all sides.