Cherry Hills Unveils its New Look

A Historic clubhouse gets a modern upgrade at Cherry Hills Country Club.

by Jay McKinney

The interior of Cherry Hills Country Club’s 22 restaurant. Photo by Andy Colwell

In a state that’s chock-full of incredible golf courses, Cherry Hills Country Club holds a unique place.

Founded in 1922, the William S. Flynn designed golf course nestled in the suburbs of South Denver has solidified its status and place in history. It has hosted three U.S Opens and two PGA Championships, and this August hosts its third U.S. Amateur.

The members at Cherry Hills consider it their second (maybe first) home and cherish walking the same fairways that have tested some of the game’s greatest players.

But until this spring, the clubhouse was long overdue for an upgrade.

Cherry Hills Country Club’s formal dining room, Arnie’s. Photo by Andy Colwell

The original Cherry Hills clubhouse was designed by renowned Denver architects Merrill and Burnham Hoyt. It was small and simple. While the clubhouse has seen its fair share of renovations over the years, it was time for a drastic one.

“We basically had a functionally obsolete clubhouse,” says Kim Koehn, the club president at Cherry Hills. “There were parts of it that hadn’t been touched in 80 years and it was in pretty rough shape.”

Going back about six years, the club began exploring options for how it could bring its clubhouse up to date. After considering the possibility of a renovation, the club concluded that it would be better to start from scratch.

As a result, everything south of the golf entrance was demolished in February of 2021 and over the last two years became a bustling construction site.

The Hall of Champions at Cherry Hills Country Club. Photo by Andy Colwell,

While members were looking forward to the reconstruction, there were numerous challenges looming. Chris Lees is a project manager who owns Orion Construction Management and was hired to handle the reconstruction. Lees has an impressive résumé, working as a contractor and consultant at Augusta National for nearly nine years and overseeing renovations at other prominent clubs such as Castle Pines Golf Club.

When hired on for the Cherry Hills reconstruction, the supply chain and labor shortage brought on by COVID-19 was one of the toughest hurdles he’s had throughout his career. Despite the challenges, he’s proud of the final product and thinks they handled it as well as possible.

The Hall of Champions at Cherry Hills Country Club is pictured June 13, 2023 in Denver. Photo by Andy Colwell, special to Colorado Avid Golfer

“Of the country clubs I’ve been involved with, this was without a doubt one of the finest,” Lees says. “The building is iconic in the area, not just because of its age but because of its architecture. What we wanted to do is maintain that look and feel. It was a re-creation of a 1922 true-to-style building and it hit on the mark.”

Now that it is completed, members are thrilled to have their clubhouse back and better than ever.

Cherry Hills Country Club’s formal dining room, Arnie’s, features a bronze likeness of Arnold Palmer’s famous visor-flip upon victory at Cherry Hills in the 1960 U.S. Open. Photo by Andy Colwell

The banquet facility was improved so that it can accommodate more people, while also being easily divisible into smaller sections. There are two brand-new dining venues, with member dining on the main floor and a higher-end white tablecloth dining area upstairs. The latter has been named Arnie’s and pays tribute to Arnold Palmer with memorabilia and photos decorating the space in celebration of the legendary golfer. Palmer famously won the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills in one of the most memorable majors to date.

Not only did they aim to upgrade what was torn down, but the club also added new amenities. The new kids’ zone (ages 3-8) was added to accommodate children while their parents play golf and slightly older children can congregate in the “tween zone” where they can race F1 cars on tracks around the world in the driving simulators.

The roughly 4,000 square foot fitness facility is arguably the best addition. Koehn said it could not have been more of an upgrade, because the previous building did not have one.

The fitness center of Cherry Hills Country Club’s clubhouse. Photo by Andy Colwell

“You absolutely need to have fitness because it’s just what is demanded by younger families and it also rounds out the offering for the clubhouse,” Koehn says. “We wanted to add new amenities to make the club more appealing and have it be more of a 12-month club. We want people to have reasons to go there in the winter and dining is one of them but working out is another.”

While the clubhouse has been modernized, the rich history at Cherry Hills is integral to its prestige. The walls may be brand new, but they are decorated with an impressive collection of artworks commemorating the country club. Along with the photos and memorabilia from the former building’s heritage room, there was a discovery of more pieces in storage that nobody knew existed. The USGA and the Palmer Foundation also donated artwork that reflects the history of the club, bringing the grand total to 350 pieces.


Cherry Hills Country Club’s clubhouse golf simulator room. Photo by Andy Colwell

With the addition of the new four-bay simulator lounge, members at Cherry Hills can skip the sunscreen and opt to golf with the big screen. Even though escaping to warmer weather in the winter months may be the most appealing option for keeping your golf swing intact, one could argue it’s just as valuable to practice on a simulator when snow is covering the greens.

“It’s going to be a real game changer for us because we didn’t have it before,” Koehn says. “When you combine it with the fitness area which is on the same level, you can talk about really improving your game in the winter months. They have incredible technology that tells you everything from how much weight is on the balls of your feet, where your weight shifts during your swing, and the club speed.”

Not only can members fine tune their swing over the winter using the simulators, but the lounge is also the first area golfers rush to when a round is rained out. Instead of tearing up that scorecard while sipping a drink, they can finish in the comfort of the lounge where there is a full bar and the ability to order food as well. The simulators are also fun because golfers can virtually play top-ranked courses that are around the world, all with the press of a button.

A golf simulator is pictured inside Cherry Hills Country Club’s clubhouse. Photo by Andy Colwell

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