Nestled at the foot of the mountains in Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor Golf Club’s East Course (1 Lake Ave., Colorado Springs, broadmoor.com) is one of Colorado golf’s most coveted crown jewels. The championship course is no stranger to the highest levels of the game, hosting 6 USGA Championships in its history (a total of 8 championships have been played on Broadmoor courses), and a number of NCAA Championships — and one now-famous black bear.
The world-renown resort is itself a dominant presence in upscale tourist offerings in the area, golf aside, and is celebrating its centennial anniversary through 2018. Perhaps as an early birthday gift, the USGA named the Broadmoor East Course as home of the 2018 U.S. Senior Open, bringing the track back into the limelight 10 years after the hosting its last Open.
At a summer 2017 launch event, Hale Irwin teed off into the wide no.1 fairway, setting up a good look at the uphill green from his second shot. The Donald Ross/Robert Trent Jones Sr. track plays like a country club: overly-inviting fairways in close proximity to one another, speckled with large trees dictating your shots, and highlighted by the manicured hazards, flowerbeds and the lushest of turf. Pristine conditions are a given — this is the Broadmoor we’re talking about — but what really sets the East Course apart from your everyday luxury private club are the greens.
While large and welcoming these greens will cause you a lot of grief, and several strokes, if you’re not extremely careful. The greens slope according to the mountains to aid in finding a line, but otherwise hidden undulations will send your ball sweeping away from the cup if your pace isn’t exact. And the super fast surface doesn’t make it easy, rolling as smooth as you can imagine. It’s no wonder how the Broadmoor East Course earned its challenging reputation in the elite levels of the game.
Reprieve can be found in the sampling of the property’s high end amenities found throughout the layout, topped only by the gorgeous green complexes and sweeping views of the mountains to the west, and the sprawling cityscape to the east. The incredible sunsets, glimpses of the historic hotel, and wildlife spotting seem only an added bonus — no matter how many three-putts are on the card.
The front 9 provides the most scoring opportunities with par 5s at nos. 3, 7 and 9, a short par 4 at no.2 and manageable par 3s at nos. 4 and 8. Players will need to capitalize early before making the turn if they want to stay near the top of the leaderboard. The long par 35 back 9 isn’t as friendly, and can be punishing if you’re mishitting or getting too aggressive.
The 240-yard par 3 at no. 12 isn’t making too many friends at this course. Though reachable, the green complex sits above four frontside bunkers divided by a tiny landing area. Outside of sicking the putting surface or threading the needle and catching the small patch of fairway, chances are you’re playing for par before your second shot. Sunday’s champion can expect another challenge at the finish on the par 4 at no. 18, possibly the most difficult hole in the course. Vacation cottages line the inside of the tight doglegged fairway leading to a creek cutting off the green. A birdie finish is possible with a good, well placed tee shot and a targeted approach, but a look at the elevated, heavily undulated green from the rough can cause a lot of trouble. (Stay below the hole if you’re playing damage control.)
The Broadmoor Golf Club is a world-renowned destination for historic decadence and its culture of perfection, and that reputation rightfully extends to the East Course. The gorgeous country club setting disguises the challenges of this track very well, making it an excellent choice to host the highest levels of the game. And after enjoying a century of iconic status, the East Course is moving into the mainstream limelight once again to showcase elite Colorado golf.
Matt Nicolle’s nickname is “The English Enforcer,” and for very good reason. The no.1 ranked LDET player and defending tour champion delivered an unbelievable performance in 2017, earning 4 wins and another 4 top-3 finishes in his first full season on the tour (playing 8 of 9 events).
So what’s better than perfect? LDET fans may soon find out.
“I’m looking to continue my run into 2018,” Nicolle says. “I’m feeling good about the season and have a lot of events over a short period, so [I] can get into a groove.”
The 27-year-old Brute Golf athlete didn’t spend the offseason basking in glory, instead he’s approaching his LDET career with a veteran mentality. “I’ve been preparing through specific training and practice for a while now,” Nicolle says. “Lots of dynamic work and building strength, and building speed through overspeed training.” He works on his swing and equipment indoors while coaching and club fitting in central London as a PGA pro. “Dialing in my numbers, equipment and swing is an ongoing process which continues throughout the season.”
Nicolle grew up on the 9-by-5-mile UK island of Jersey, population of under 100,000. After playing football and cricket, his attention turned to golf “quite quickly.”
“Growing up in Jersey I played a links style golf course and got to a good level fast, competing as an amateur and then turning professional at 20,” Nicolle says. He’s also competed in UK South, East Regional Tours, Euro Pro Tour and French PGA events, and excited to have an organizational roll with the American Golf Championships in his home country later this year.
Now, The English Enforcer is focusing on long drive, and has his eyes on a number of LDET events in particular this season including the tour’s debut in Russia and The Nations Cup. “[LDET] is building every year and will be spectacular this season … hopefully culminating in another trip to the World Championships which is always phenomenonal,” he says.
But he also knows topping last season’s performance won’t be easy.
“I had a few good battles with Vincent Palm, Bry Roberts, Timo Petrasch and Seb Forslov last season and expect these guys to show some quality hitting this season,” Nicolle says. “Maurice Allen will return to the tour as well. Being a two-time tour champion, he knows how to win!”
Nicolle’s title defense is just one of many aspects fans can look forward to heading into the 2018 season, but he takes time to note an even more exciting big picture. “Golf is getting back to a level of growing participation,” he says. “The game is getting younger and more attractive to people looking to take up the game. Long Drive can play a huge part in this; it’s growing rapidly already and new tours have been setup globally which is fantastic for the profile of the game as a whole.”
Follow Matt Nicolle on Instagram and Twitter @mattnicollegolf, online at mattnicollegolf.com, and his battle drive for drive against other LDET players starting April 7th at the France Championships at Hotel Golf Château de Chailly.
“It’s the archer not the arrow,” is a saying that may come to mind while taking the walk of shame into BFE to look for a lost ball. Everyone needs practice, but even with constant practice do you ever really know if you’re upping your consistant swing speed, improving your launch angle or generating spin? Outside of expensive TrackMan or indoor range sessions, your “what am I doing wrong?” question may forever be left unanswered.
OnCore wants those answers, and plans to get them from the source — the golf ball.
With what’s probably the most innovative leap in golf equipment, the cutting edge golf ball company plans to change the game (again) with the “GENiUS” smart golf ball. The GENiUS indigogo page details the ball’s impressive offerings, here’s an excerpt:
After each stroke, the GENiUS Ball will transmit data to your mobile device showing your location on the course, ball velocity, spin rate and spin axis, carry distance and roll, and even the distance from the green. You’ll see the information using a variety of formats and have the ability to share it to your social media accounts as well.
Real time stats aren’t new to the course with numerous apps, wearables, cart features and even smart clubs, but sourcing from a high performance golf ball has, as of yet, remained unattainable.
Yeah, we were thinking it too: how can something built to suffer blunt force trauma house something as delicate as a computer chip?
Perhaps the writing was on the wall with OnCore’s Cliber golf balls, which made waves with a hollow metal core. The GENiUS will take advantage of OnCore’s technology to protect the chip through multiple rounds and able to withstand more than 15K+ G-Force, according to the company.
(To answer what’s probably your second question: The GENiUS’s GPS feature will come in handy when you do lose it, so don’t worry about that.)
Introduced late summer 2017, the project, as of this writing, has raised $36,000, with a listed $30,000 goal, and plans to launch in 2018.
Real time stats are great on the course, but until now the information has always been closer to secondhand data, adding the challenge of deciphering it after the fact. Golf balls could offer a wealth of information if they could talk — after laughing at you, of course — and it’s about damn time they start talking.
We average golfers will continue to send balls into the sticks — some things will never change — but with a little help from OnCore’s forthcoming technology we can get the data to make sure it happens a little less often.
It’s easy to get used to the city life at City Park Golf Course
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.
Four Mile Ranch, one of southern Colorado’s best links tracks, wants to hear from you.
Open nearly a decade, the Four Mile is facing some questions of its own, including how to tackle water rate hikes proposed by Cañon City. Residential homes continue to be built along the property and the tee sheets remain full, but a dramatic increase in course expenses could spell disaster for the beloved track before it ever reaches its full potential.
Looking towards whatever the future may hold, course operators are asking for users’ input via this brief survey. Take five minutes and fill it out in support of one of Colorado’s would-be rising stars.