Golfers paid a final tribute to Denver’s City Park Golf Course on November 4, bidding a fond farewell to the historic municipal track. After hosting a final day of tee times for social media contest winners and local officials, City Park pulled the pins one last time to make way for the construction zone set to dominate the property for the next year-plus.
The course redesign, which will see a stormwater detention area integrated into the property, a new, relocated clubhouse, additional yardage and larger practice facilities, is part of the city of Denver’s larger $300 million stormwater system plan. And not without controversy.
The extensive project calls for dramatic changes to the 100+-year-old property including the removal of more than 250 trees which brought a group of protesters to the course on its final day. ( A number of those uprooted trees are supposed to be replanted, and the city says the property will have more than trees than it had before with completion of the redesign.) The plan also faced backlash and legal battles since it was announced in April 2016. In November, a judge ruled against plaintiffs arguing the plan violates the city charter while the city continued putting the pieces in place to ready for the scheduled closure, maintaining that the project is vital to address Denver’s stormwater issues now and into the future.
“City Park Golf Course is one of the city’s most beloved and enjoyable golf courses,” said Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation, in a January news release. At the time, the city was looking for a contractor to “… ensure that City Park Golf Course continues to be one of Denver’s crown jewels for years to come.” It made its choice in July, awarding Saunders Construction, iConGolf Studio with Hale Irwin Golf Design the course redesign project and tapping architect Johnson Nathan Strohe for the new clubhouse. The $40 million project was approved by the Denver city council in August.
CGB played the historic Thomas Bendelow design in the summer of 2017 at a media event. Though it’s not the state’s most notable course, City Park is a gem of a municipal track, and boasts some of the best views of downtown Denver in the area. Its proximity to residential areas, the Denver Zoo and the city center makes City Park even more fun — a little sliver of Colorado golf history completely surrounded but a bustling modern age. And while the location won’t change, we can only hope Saunders and company pay homage to City Park of old and give the community something to gather around once again.
Denver Golf posts regular updates on the City Park project and expects to debut the redesign summer 2019.