cheyenne mountain resort
As fireworks crack and boom below the deck of the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, I can’t help but sing along to the music. “Oh say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave…”
It’s a lovely, patriotic, unexpected end to a long day of travel to Colorado Springs, schlepping bags and clubs in an age when porters have gone the way of the typewriter. I’d been praying merely that the hotel kitchen would still be open on Fourth of July night. It was bustling, with a special holiday buffet, and fireworks outside.
The red, white and blue provide an apt beginning to a week at the U.S. Women’s Open, where warm crowds cheer every good shot but hope to see, in the end, an American holding the trophy.
During my newspaper career, I covered at least five men’s U.S. Opens, which end on Father’s Day. This was my first U.S. Women’s Open. Usually situated around Independence Day, the tournament is not as well attended as the men’s, by spectators or the press.
And that makes star players and sterling golf shots all the more accessible. Hotel rooms too – the Broadmoor, an ever-evolving 1918 resort that plays a central role in the history and color of Colorado Springs, had rooms available for spectators seeking the convenient, luxurious choice.
But when online searching uncovered Cheyenne Mountain Resort – CMR, the staff says fondly – a mile or so down the hill at less than half the cost, I booked it.
With $20 million in recent renovations that updated and upscaled rooms and common areas, yet with a warmth cultivated over 25 years, Cheyenne Mountain Resort doesn’t pretend to compete with the Broadmoor. Surroundings star at this four-season destination, which has its own lake, health club, golf course, beach, water sports, tennis and squash courts and swimming pools.
And the Mountain View Restaurant and Will Rogers Bar provided a friendly refuge at the end of the long, storm-delayed days of this year’s Open, which qualifies me at last to offer a few suggestions on enjoying any Open:
Choose an Open venue that’s accessible. The longer it takes to reach a destination from a major airport, the less likely it is that the destination’s nongolf attractions will entice and the more likely it is that lodging properties will gouge. Pinehurst, Pebble Beach and every charming golf mecca, I’m talking to you. Colorado Springs has a fine airport I hear, although I elected to fly to Denver; my hotel room cost less than $200 and I am confident there were options in the area for less than $100.
Don’t overspend on accommodations. But do choose a place where you can happily nest all evening. Guests at the Broadmoor, with its 18 restaurants and cafes and lounges, do not have to leave the property at night; with CMR’s locally-influenced cuisine and relaxed service, I was content to rest my feet watching on the deck as the twilight re-colored the mountains.
Play golf if you can manage it. OK, so you can’t book the most famous course – but the next-famous will give you an idea of what the contestants are up against. My round on the Broadmoor’s Mountain Course – a welcoming 4,928 yards from the front tees – showed me the pristine condition of the resort courses, the speed of the greens and the confounding breaks. My round on CMR’s Country Club of Colorado, designed by Pete Dye and thankfully tamed from the front tees by his wife, Alice Dye, taught me that even a layout that looks flat really isn’t if it’s in Colorado Springs.