5 things you need to know about the Colorado golf scene
52 Things to Consider at the Moment of Impact subtitles Golf ’s Inner Game, a compendium of swing thoughts, tips and anecdotes generated by Snowmass Village’s Boone Schweitzer, the eccentric mind behind the successful Trashmasters Golf Tournament (which has generated nearly $2 million in scholarships since its 1993 inception). Each nugget appears on a page of the pocketsized book, popping up like so many thoughts as you address the ball. Among them: “Stay loose” and “It’s not a gimme if you’re still away.” Schweitzer says his “swing has more issues than People magazine,” and flipping through his breezy bagatelle, you can understand why.
19 holes of match play decided the first Broadmoor Invitation played since 1995 at the Colorado Springs resort. The Denver-based team of Chris Hunt and Dave Lee scored a one-up victory over Brad Grogg and Mike Allred of Colorado Springs. “The reintroduction of this storied event could not have gone better,” Director of Golf Russ Miller said of the four-day competition. “I look forward to making it an annual affair.”
75 years ago, with confectioner Chet Enstrom as chairman, the first Rocky Mountain Open took place at Grand Junction’s Lincoln Park Golf Course. The tournament has gone off every year since then, making it the state’s longest continuously running open golf tournament.
This year’s edition will take place August 14-17 at Tiara Rado Golf Club and Bookcliff Country Club. Yet only a month earlier, a group led by Enstrom’s grandson-in-law, the Enstrom Candies president and owner Doug Simons, bought the event from the Western Colorado Golf Foundation. Supporting the foundation’s scholarship mission but not the way it ran the RMO, Simons’ group will pay the WCGF $30,000 over the next three years for all rights to the tournament. “We naturally want to provide scholarships for worthy golf athletes and students,” Simons says. “But you have to nurture the golden goose first, not squeeze it to death.”
That nurturing has begun. Enstrom’s, which had title-sponsored the last few RMOs, will cease in that role in order to rebuild the RMO brand, which Simons believes will attract multiple sponsors, as well as support from area golfers. He has established the RMO as a 501(c)(4) and has quickly assembled a blue-ribbon board. Plans include reinstituting a pro-am and creating other events around the tournament. Monument Oil president and Colorado Golf Hall of Famer C. Paul Brown, who won the 1987 event as an amateur, will serve as honorary chairman. “It’s time to take the tournament to the pinnacle level it deserves to be,” he says. “It has a great tradition that we are passionate about continuing.”
4 high-school students from Jake’s Place, the not-for-profit junior golf mentoring facility founded by PGA Professional Doug Wherry and housed at Lone Tree Golf Club, have received scholarships to play collegiate golf. Colorado Girls 5A champion Michelle Romano (Rock Canyon High School) will attend the University of Colorado Colorado Springs; Julia Kim (Rangeview) is heading to the University of Illinois at Chicago; Chris Korte (Regis Jesuit) will play for the University of Denver; and Kobe Padilla (Cherry Creek) is heading to the University of Colorado Boulder, to which he earned an Evans Scholarship and intends to make the men’s team roster.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these kids,” gushes Wherry, a one-time Cherry Creek and University of Texas El Paso star golfer who started the nonprofit academy after his professional competitive career stalled. Wherry was inspired by his mentor Jake Warde (after whom he named the academy) and Arnold Palmer, for whom he ran junior boarding school golf program in Florida. “Mr. Palmer pulled me aside during a staff meeting, grabbed me by the lapel and said, ‘Doug, it’s up to you to pass on the traditions of this wonderful game to the next generations…Promise me you will do this for me and all those who came before me.’ Jake’s Academy was born that day.”
Along with PGA professionals Tom Carricato and Dustin Miller, Wherry mentors competitive junior golfers not only to become accomplished enough to receive scholarships to compete on the collegiate level; it also inculcates life lessons such as self-respect, integrity, honor, honesty, focus and discipline. ”Our curriculum develops and enhances junior golfers fully by teaching golf skills, physical fitness, mental development and success training, ethics and social skills,” Wherry says.
Other Jake’s alumni now competing in college include Gus Lundquist (University of Louisville), Zach Tripp (UCCS), Nick Berry (Colorado School of Mines) and Andrew Romano and Jack Cummings (University of Northern Colorado).
2 consecutive trips to the NCAA Division I regionals in his first two years as men’s golf coach is the goal of University of Northern Colorado’s Roger Prenzlow. The Boulder native took the job after spending more than 30 years in Wyoming— first as the men’s golf coach at the University of Wyoming and then as the GM and director of golf at Old Baldy Club. UNC returns all but one player from last year’s America Sky Conference Championship squad.