Cherry Hills is located close to the “Mile High” city of Denver and Cherry Hills Village is one of the most sought after locations in Colorado. So it’s fitting that Cherry Hills Country Club is one of the best courses in the Colorado State.
A few of the older generation of readers may remember Arnold Palmer driving the 355-yard par four 1st on his way to victory in the 1960 US Open here at Cherry Hills. This was to be Palmer’s only US Open title. The club has hosted the US Open on three occasions, most recently in 1978. Wisconsin-born Andy North won the 1978 US Open title at Cherry Hills and subsequently went on to win his second US Open in 1985 at Oakland Hills.
William Flynn designed Cherry Hills in 1922 and if you do get the chance to play this famous course your driving distances will flatter to deceive. Denver is not called the Mile High city for nothing and Cherry Hills is certainly golf with altitude.
There are too many fine holes at Cherry Hills to mention them all, but we will touch on the par five 18th, which is named after President Eisenhower, a long standing Cherry Hills member. A lake on the left focuses the mind on this tempting closing hole and it’s certainly one of the finest finishing holes in golf.
Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design Inc. undertook an eight-month, $7.6 million renovation programme at Cherry Hills and the course reopened in May 2009 with new tee boxes, bunkers and irrigation system. With some rebuilt greens and trees that were removed and physically relocated, the upgraded 7,442-yard Cherry Hills is now ready for the 21st century and the course certainly provided a fitting test for the world’s best amateurs when the club hosted the 2012 US Amateur Championship, which American Steven Fox won. In 2014, Cherry Hills hosted the BMW Championship (formerly known as the Western Open), which Billy Horschel won by two shots from Bubba Watson.
The golf course starts on flat ground and the first four holes are relatively straight forward. The elevation on the course begins at the fifth hole and basically gets progressively hillier as you play on.
The par five fifth hole plays as the #1 stroke index hole at Cherry Hills. The green is elevated, hard to hold and fronted by a swale. The 518-yard hole has interesting terrain and the fairway slopes right to left and the hole dog-legs to the right at the end.
The course really begins to pick up steam on the ninth hole. The 434-yard par four ninth hole plays up a big hill back toward the clubhouse. From the landing area of your drive to the green, the hole slopes severely from left to right, following the natural contours of the land beautifully. The difficult green is perched on a slope on this dog-leg right hole.
The 428-yard par four 10th hole is a mirror image of the ninth except it runs away from the clubhouse and slopes from right to left. They are an excellent pair of holes that use the hilly terrain very well.
The par four sixteenth is a good risk-reward hole as well and typifies the back nine, which is much stronger than the front nine. The hole is 402 yards and is a slight dogleg right. Your approach shot plays over the burn/stream to a green set at an angle to the fairway.
John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs