21 Ultimate Gifts: Swinging with the Shark
A round of golf for three with Greg Norman at
Round-trip private air transportation to Montrose, Colo.
Two nights’ lodging at Cornerstone plus a welcome reception
and meals, including a post-round dinner with Norman.
One case of each bottling of Greg Norman Estates wines annually
for the next five years (approximately 60 to 80 cases total).
A selection of Greg Norman Collection apparel for each
of the next five years.
One set of custom-made MacGregor irons.
The first time Greg Norman visited Cornerstone Colorado, in January 2004, several feet of snow blanketed the property. Undeterred, the golfer-cum-entrepreneur set out on a snowmobile to explore the 6,000-acre development in southwestern Colorado. "It turned out to be the best time to see the site," says Norman, who frequently rides snowmobiles at a ranch he owns in the southeastern part of the state. "The powder showed you all the undulation and all the flow, so it was easy to see how the course would shape up."
Easy for Norman, that is. As the course designer sped through aspen stands, along rocky crevices, and across the bald expanses of the Uncompahgre Plateau, several Cornerstone staff members attempted to keep pace. "We had a groomed snowmobile path down the center of what would be the fairways, but by the second hole Greg asked if he could go off trail," recalls Cornerstone project manager Brian Wallin (no relation to this story’s writer). "He didn’t spend another second on that trail, and everyone was getting stuck trying to keep up with him."
On a subsequent visit, in summer 2005, Norman walked the entirety of what was then an 18-hole construction site at his characteristically brisk pace. Again, several staff members started—but did not finish—by his side. "We were strewn out over two holes trying to stay with him," says Wallin.
Now, one Robb Report reader and two guests will have the chance to keep up with—and play with—the two-time British Open champion at his recently completed course at Cornerstone. The layout, which Norman called "the best mountain golf course in the world" after he played it for the first time last August, is the centerpiece of this private resort community located about an hour’s drive north of Telluride. In addition to the course, the development includes fishing ponds, 20 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, 412 planned homesites, and a 20-acre golf practice facility—a welcome feature for the three people who will tee off with Norman as part of this gift.
After flying by private aircraft to Montrose, Colo., the threesome will be transported to Cornerstone, where they will spend their first day warming up at the practice facility and playing 18 holes with the club’s director of golf, Mark Wood. Cornerstone will host a welcome reception and private dinner for the group that evening, and the golfers will stay in one of the development’s recently completed four-bedroom cabins, located a short stroll from the course’s first tee.
The gift—which also includes five years’ worth of Greg Norman–branded wines and apparel, as well as a set of custom-made MacGregor irons—culminates the following day, when Norman completes the foursome. During the round, he will guide his guests through the course’s aspen-lined front nine and plateau-top back nine, where the golfers will enjoy vistas of the Grand Mesa and the pinnacles of Cimarron Ridge from their perch at 9,000 feet.
Even with the assistance of the altitude (which, by Norman’s estimation, adds about 15 to 20 yards to a shot), most golfers will struggle from Cornerstone’s back tees. The course plays from the tips to a length of nearly 8,000 yards—a distance its designer prefers to travel sans cart. "I like to walk," notes Norman, suggesting that this gift’s recipients should prepare their legs and lungs as well as their swings.
Cornerstone Colorado, Ruth Ann Hattori, 970.650.2000, www.cornerstonecolorado.com
The gift is limited to one recipient plus two guests • The wine, apparel, and golf clubs included in the gift are for the primary recipient only • air transportation is available from separate locations in the continental United States for each participant • A portion of the proceeds from the gift will go to a charity of Greg Norman’s choosing • The gift must be redeemed in 2009; dates are subject to the availability of Greg Norman.