Elite resort contemplates expanding golf course to attract major championships
The Broadmoor’s East and West courses will need to gain roughly 1,000 yards in order to meet USGA and PGA of America regulations and host a men’s professional major championship like the PGA Championship or Ryder Cup.
The Broadmoor Resort and Hotel in May announced plans to expand its golf courses in an attempt to lure a major men’s golf championship to Colorado Springs on a regular basis. The resort needs to lengthen its East and West courses by roughly 1,000 yards in order to meet the PGA of America’s and United States Golf Association’s regulations of 8,100 yards (due to the city’s high elevation) to be considered a viable site for men’s professional golf’s elite events.
The Broadmoor hosted the 2008 U.S. Senior Open and the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open, a pair of immensely successful major championships that each brought approximately $20 million to the area. A men’s major would bring an estimated $160.5 million into the area, according to The Broadmoor President and CEO Steve Bartolin.
“It’s really an investment in the future,” said Bartolin, who became president of The Broadmoor in 1991. “Certainly, the benefits for the entire community at large are big, and I think it’s a way to put Colorado Springs in the Major Leagues instead of Double-A ball. I hope that, once we get established in that circuit of majors, we’ll get something significant coming to Colorado Springs every three to five years.”
The plan is still in its infancy as Broadmoor execs weigh neighbors’ and residents’ concerns and questions, and a public meeting was held in early May, with another scheduled for late summer to address those issues. The next available event openings are the 2020 PGA Championship, the 2021 U.S. Open and the 2024 Ryder Cup, so a proposed major would still be at least seven years away.
The expansion would require the closing of the stretch of Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard that bisects The Broadmoor property, a prospect that troubles many neighbors who are concerned about increased traffic and safety issues. Bartolin and his team are committed to openly communicating with concerned residents and working on plans to resolve those issues.
“We’re still in the analysis stage,” he said. “We’ve had good input from the neighbors, and I think we have a good handle on their issues and concerns. I feel like we’re going in the right direction and can resolve these concerns.”
In the wake of the Waldo Canyon fire, Bartolin said his team has thoroughly addressed safety concerns in the event the Cheyenne Mountain area is similarly engulfed.
“From day one, we knew that we couldn’t eliminate evacuation capacity, and we had to figure that piece out before we even thought about moving this thing forward,” Bartolin said. “We will maintain fire evacuation to the fire department’s specifications, so you can take that (concern) off the table.”
According to Bartolin, the El Pomar Foundation and Anschutz Foundation donated $1.2 million to the Colorado Springs Fire Department in order to help the department begin a fire mitigation program that will help clear the area of dead wood and underbrush. Bartolin also said they have added 29 certified wildland firefighters to the area – a force that will help augment the Broadmoor Fire and Rescue and area fire departments – and that a fire tower will be constructed atop Cheyenne Mountain to provide 24-hour monitoring of the area.
“By also rehabilitating the old Cheyenne Mountain Highway that goes up the mountain, you now have vehicle access to get equipment and firefighters up to the top of the mountain,” Bartolin said. “If you keep the same evacuation capacity and add those pieces to it, I would argue that our neighborhood is going to be safer.”
Bartolin said his team is addressing the traffic concerns of residents as well.
“We need to address the issue and come up with a solution,” he said. “That’s the part we’re working through, and if we can come up with a good program that addresses those concerns, I think it will really be an easy decision.”