The Broadmoor – Award winning golf, dining, spa and more

The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado is home to three championship golf courses, a world renowned resort and spa, and an award winning collection of restaurants and shops as well as superb tennis facilities. Encompassing over 3,000 acres, this is one of the finest and grandest resorts in the country.

The most famous of their courses, The East, was originally built in 1918 by famed designer Donald Ross. Robert Trent Jones Sr. added 9 holes in 1958 and 9 more in 1964. The 36 hole layout was then divided to create two courses, The West and The East, with nine holes from each designer making up each course.

The East course has hosted many major tournaments and winners have included Jack Nicklaus as an amateur, Annika Sorenstam in the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open, Eduardo Romero in the 2008 Senior Open and just this July it hosted the 2011 U.S.Women’s Open won by So Yeon Ryu. The East is a mature, tree lined, parkland style layout with fairly large greens that are often difficult to read. Set tight against Cheyenne Mountain, putts tend to race away from the mountain and also break away from the mountain even if they look like they might break the other way. At 6400 feet in elevation the ball flies plenty far here but keeping it on the slick greens and mastering the putting is another story.

The West Course is set at 6800 feet and features greens with more slope and levels than the East. Cheyenne Mountain again supplies the tricky backdrop to the Broadmoor’s second great course. The West has a tighter feel than the East with more doglegs and trees to challenge your shot control off the tees. Sand and water are also more in play necessitating accuracy on most approach shots to these very fast greens.

The Mountain Course was originally an Arnold Palmer design that underwent an extreme makeover by Nicklaus Design and was reopened in 2006. While the East may be the most famous, I found the Mountain Course to be the most fun. A free shuttle ride up the mountain brings you to the course. It has its own clubhouse and driving range with views that one has to see to appreciate. This track is more open and plays as if above the tree line. But don’t be fooled, the ever changing terrain presents a myriad of up and downhill shots that test every stroke in the book. If you are lucky, (or unlucky for the timid) you may even get to see the Mountain Course bear that roams the grounds.

The resort itself is made up of many buildings housing a wide array of luxurious and grand style accommodations as well as many fine dining options including the award winning Penrose Room and the raucous Golden Bee (an English pub whose fixtures and panels were shipped from England and reassembled at the Broadmoor). The main buildings surround a lake where you can walk the trails, rent a paddleboat or just sit and watch the people and abundant wildlife pass you by.

Rounded out by a wonderful spa, with both indoor and outdoor pools, this is truly one of the finest all around vacation spots for golfers and non-golfers alike. A true national treasure not to be missed.

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