News, Events & Articles

Ben Crenshaw returns to Colorado Golf Club for the 71st Senior PGA Championship

May 3, 2010

He'll have ditched the mud boots and jeans for cleats and khakis, and have swapped his shovel for a driver. Yet the heart that went into building Colorado Golf Club figures to just as passionate when Ben Crenshaw tees it up at the 71st Senior PGA Championship. "He's extremely proud and excited to play a major championship on his own golf course," said Mike McGetrick, a founding partner at the private Parker club.

"I think he'll enjoy playing and enjoy the feedback he gets from fellow professionals. He's always said the test of a great golf course is after the championship is over and they tell you they want to come back. I hope he hears that."

The par-72 layout that opened in 2007 will be the first Bill Coore-Crenshaw design to host a major championship. The two have combined to build 18 courses, including renowned Sand Hills Golf Club in Nebraska and Bandon Trails in Oregon. Though this is their first effort in Colorado, there isn't a spot along the 7,604-yard layout that Gentle Ben doesn't know intimately.

Start with the colorful story of Crenshaw, a 58-year-old Texan, found hand-shaping a fairway bunker with a shovel at dusk during construction in 2006. He was spotted because of the orange glow from his cigarette burning through the gloaming as he worked away on hole No. 14. "When you think of a World Golf Hall of Fame member and architect, you usually think of site visits and grand openings, but rarely do you think of big mud boots, standing out there in a bunker in the night time making the course just exactly perfect," club spokesman Tom Ferrell says. 
But that's Crenshaw to the core.

"When Ben and Bill work, they're here from sunup to sundown," McGetrick adds.

Crenshaw, who has won two Masters and 29 professional tournaments (including one on the senior circuit), doesn't know another way.

"We love it," he said. "We've got a fabulous little work crew that we love and we just do 'em together and have fun."

As with Sand Hills, the Nebraska club consistently ranked among the best courses in the world, it's the raw topography that stood out when they agreed to create Colorado Golf Club. It had rolling terrain, cut by a barranca, and colored by native grasses, ponderosa pines, thousands of wild flowers and expansive views from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak.

"Any golf course is like putting together a giant puzzle," Crenshaw says. "And you want 18 different holes if you can. But we thought there were natural attributes in all of those holes to make them different from one another."

All have one central theme. “It truly does look and feel like it could only be in Colorado. That's the whole point of tying the course to the land,” Crenshaw said. “I noticed it for the first time when I competed in the U.S. Junior at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. The little stone walls and the exposed outcroppings—it could only be in New England.”

Though Crenshaw’s only recent round at Colorado Golf Club came at the grand opening on June 16, 2007, McGetrick thinks he might still have an leg up on the competition at the Senior PGA: "Watching him play you would have thought he had played it 100 times. His course management was just spectacular. It was pretty neat to see.”

McGetrick says Crenshaw knew where to miss shots, what club to hit off the tee and where to land his approach. "It's a fun course. As they say, you have to do a little bit of everything," Crenshaw noted that day.

“Ben might have a little edge, because he’ll know the places where to play it safe and where he can be a bit more aggressive” says 11-time Champions Tour winner Dale Douglass. “But knowing it and being able to do it are two different things.”

For Crenshaw and Coore, CGC represented a second-chance of sorts.
Years earlier they had been hired to design 27 holes on land just a few miles away. But when ownership changed, the golf-course project went away.

The two men would make forays back to the area whenever Crenshaw played The International at Castle Pines, to see what became of the land.
When the call from McGetrick's group came in 2004, they didn't have to ask many questions. They knew how gorgeous the property was. Now the golf world will get a peek, too.

“The goal of golf course design to is to build a place where families and friends can come together and share their time, maybe compete a little bit…create memories. We feel like we've done that here, and we're proud of that,” Crenshaw said.

"I'm looking forward to it. I hope to be playing well at that time."

Colorado Avid Golfer

By: Lynn DeBruin

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VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. (March 4, 2010) – Pinehurst has signed an agreement with the renowned firm of Coore and Crenshaw Inc., to return both natural and strategic character to its championship No. 2 course. Work will be conducted gradually in 2010 without any closure to the course or to individual holes until mid-November.

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