AT THIS YEAR’S U.S. Senior Open, 156 guys are going to get beaten up by a 100-year-old grande dame. It happened ten years ago at The Broadmoor, when only three players in the 2008 U.S. Senior Open finished in red numbers—and the course won’t play any easier now than it did then.
In fact, the USGA was so pleased with the scores in 2008 that it has basically set up the course at the identical length (7,264 yards) and par (36-34-70).
This means that, like in ’08, players will again need to score on the par-36 front nine because the par-34 back won’t yield many birdies. “Two, three, six and nine are legitimate birdie holes—and there were 15 eagles made on number 3 in ’08,” The Broadmoor Director of Golf Russ Miller says. “On the back, pars are good. Ten through 15 is the gauntlet.”
The stats bear him out. Eight of the nine most difficult holes in 2008 came on the back nine, with 10, 12 and 11 ranking 1-2-3, followed by 17 and 15. “And 14, the par 3, is sneaky hard,” says Miller, “especially with wind in your face.”
Then there’s the Senior U.S. Open rough. Graduated rough heights, rising from 1.25 inches to 2.75 to 3.5 will only appear on holes 5, 10, 11, 13, 15 and 17. The rest will go straight from 1.25 to 3.5. “And on number 2, the short par 4, it goes straight from fairway to 3.5,” says Director of Grounds and Maintenance Fred Dickman.
So, who does this setup favor? It’s not necessarily the guy who keeps it in the fairway or takes the fewest putts (‘08’s winner, Eduardo Romero, ranked 28th and 17th respectively) but the player who drives it the farthest and hits the green in regulation (categories in which Romero was second and first). Look for Brandt Jobe, John Daly, Scott McCarron to hit wedges and short irons from the rough onto the green.
Even if players can outhit trouble, they’ll still have to contend with The Broadmoor’s vexing back-to-front breaking greens, which have protected par with their imperceptible breaks and diabolical pin placements since Donald Ross designed them 100 years ago.
And even though Ross designed just the first six and last three holes on the East Course layout of the Open, the greens on the Robert Trent Jones holes (7-15) blend seamlessly in style and also break away from the Cheyenne Mountain and, specifically, the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. Players who don’t keep the hole between them-selves and the shrine will be in for long days.
It’s Hall That and More…
THE GOLF PEDIGREE enjoyed by The Broadmoor will be on full display as the renowned Colorado Springs resort celebrates its 100th birthday during the 2018 U.S. Senior Open.
This April, a completely refurbished clubhouse debuted with rich green walls and high coffered ceilings in the entry and vintage golf photos lining the staircase leading to the second story reception rooms overlooking the 18th hole.
Outside the reconfigured, more spacious golf shop—where patrons can buy both Centennial and U.S. Senior Open merchandise—stands a brace of vintage golf clubs. Among them: hickory-shafted irons crafted by course architect Donald Ross; irons and putters used by West Course architect Robert Trent Jones; and Jack Nicklaus’ persimmon driver. Framed blueprints of each of Ross’s original holes hang across from the bag of longtime Broadmoor head professional Dow Finsterwald, a four-time Ryder Cup player and 1977 team captain.
The most dramatic change is the corridor leading to the golf Grille. In the same way that the gallery of celebrity guest photos have long attracted visitors to The Broadmoor’s West Building, now The Broadmoor Golf Club has its Heritage Hallway.
Display panels brimming with photographs, information and artwork border both sides, beginning with the design of The Broadmoor courses and club’s history: its golf professionals (including colorful “Long Jim” Barnes and “Big Ed” Dudley); its legendary women (such as Judy Bell and Barbara McIntire); its tradition of big-time championships (eight USGA events, six Trans-Miss amateurs, five NCAAs, the Broadmoor Invitation); and a tribute to Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam, who each won their first national championship at The Broadmoor.
Behind the glass cases gleam replica trophies from the major championships held on the property, including the one for the U.S. Senior Open. There’s a photo of 2008 winner Eduardo Romero and a place for the champion who will soon join him in this prestigious pantheon.
This article appears in the U.S. Senior Open Guide of the June 2018 issue of Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.