Cherry Hills is back in the mix hosting top-tier men’s golf championships again thanks to a 2008 renovation by architect Tom Doak. Doak modernized the course by adding length, while also restoring bunkers and other features to align with William Flynn’s original design from 1922.
A $12 million renovation to the clubhouse in 2005 has Cherry Hills back in the spotlight after crowning champions like Arnold Palmer (1960 U.S. Open), Phil Mickelson (1990 U.S. Amateur) and Jack Nicklaus (1993 U.S. Senior Open).
In 2014, the BMW Championship traveled west of the Mississippi River for the first and only time since 2008. Its stop in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, just outside of Denver, produced winner Billy Horschel at 14-under.
The course eases golfers into the round leading up to some difficult holes, including the signature par-4 18th that’s a par-5 for members. The 491-yard hole has water up the left side and out of bounds right. A possible blind approach shot must avoid three bunkers that guard the elevated green. Horschel had the tournament under wraps in 2014, but there could be a lot of permutations in the final group if the tournament’s still on the line.
Many holes at Cherry Hills allow room for differing strategies and lines to the green and odds are each round. Arnold Palmer is renowned for his brash decision at the time to go for the green off the tee on the par-4 1st in his U.S. Open win in 1960.
Sizable rough and fairway bunkers, especially guarding the ends of the fairways, act as equalizers to bombers or golfers looking to maximize distance in the Colorado altitude.
The BMW Championship is run, in part, by the Illinois-based Western Golf Association. That means Illinois and Indiana likely aren’t going away as predominant host sites. With that said, sellout crowds, a No. 73 national Golf Digest ranking and a tournament in a sizable market lacking a PGA Tour event are compelling reasons to come back.
The tournament’s host sites have only been announced through 2019, so look out for Cherry Hills to get back in the mix next decade.