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    Colorado Senior Open

    August 26-28, 2020

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    Colorado Open

    July 23-26, 2020

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    Colorado Women's Open

    June 3-5, 2020

History of the Colorado Open Golf Championships

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The CoBank Colorado Open Championship has long been recognized as one of the best (if not THE best) state opens in the country. There are many ingredients that contribute to an events' success. But three of the most important are great players, a great purse and great venues. Over its 50-year history the Colorado Open has enjoyed an abundance of all three.

For its first 27 years the Colorado Open was held at Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen. Hiwan's undulating terrain, lightning quick greens and majestic pine trees gave the event a very strong resemblance to Augusta National. It's no wonder the tournament developed a reputation as "The Masters" of state opens. Add to that mix a great field of professionals and some of the country's finest amateurs and you have all the ingredients for some magical golf.

During the Hiwan years the list of champions included the likes of Dave Hill, Al Geiberger, Willie Wood, Mark Weibe and Steve Jones. At that time the Colorado Open took full advantage of a scheduling coup which placed the tournament the week prior to the Broadmoor Invitational. This allowed some of the country's best amateurs to come to Colorado for two consecutive weeks to play the Colorado Open at Hiwan and follow that with the Broadmoor Invitational a week later. Peter Jacobsen, Bob Tway, Steve Jones, Corey Pavin, Steve Elkington, Phil Mickelson—all of these players won the low amateur crown at the Colorado Open during the Hiwan years.

In 1992, after a wonderful 27-year affiliation with Craig Hospital, the University of Colorado Foundation took over operations of the tournament and brought the event to Inverness Hotel and Golf Club in Englewood. In 1992, with the addition of First Data Corporation as title sponsor, the purse was increased by $25,000 to $125,000, making it the largest purse of any state open in the country. Colorado's own Brandt Jobe won the event that first year at Inverness—his first win as a professional and a win which catapulted his career as a touring pro in Asia, Japan and later on the PGA tour. Another Colorado player—Jonathan Kaye, put the finishing touches on his first professional win at the Colorado Open in 1996 with a chip-in birdie on the 18th hole.

In 1998 the Colorado Open moved to Saddlerock Golf Course in Aurora where it enjoyed three very successful championships. All three winners at Saddlerock were products of Colorado junior golf: Shane Bertsch (who now plays on the PGA Tour), Bill Riddle and Scott Petersen (who also plays on the Nationwide Tour).

In 2001 the Colorado Open traveled to Sonnenalp Golf Club in Edwards—a venue which brought back a Hiwan-esque feel. A mountain setting, lightning-quick greens and a golf course that put a premium on accuracy over length once again brought some of the short-game wizards to the top of the leaderboard. Players like James Blair of Utah, the second all-time leading money winner in the Colorado Open, once again found himself in contention. Blair hung around the lead in that first event at Sonnenalp but in the end it was an up-and-coming player--also from Utah--Brett Wayment, who finished on top. In 2002 Kevin Stadler, son of PGA Tour veteran Craig Stadler, joined the long list of players to make the Colorado Open his first professional win. Stadler's victory came on the first hole of sudden death over PGA Tour veteran Gary Hallberg and Nationwide player Brian Kortan. Stadler set up his win with a towering 250-yard 4-metal approach to the par-five 18th on the first hole of sudden death to set up an easy two-putt birdie.

In addition to the Men's Open, Colorado has also produced two other marquee state golf championships. In 1995, the Colorado Women's Open was started and in 1999 the Colorado Seniors' Open was added to the Colorado Open Championship docket. The Colorado Women's Open was first held at Fox Hollow Golf Course in Lakewood and then at Meridian Golf Club in Englewood. From 1997 through 2003 the tournament enjoyed a seven-year run at Valley Country Club. For the past 20 years the Colorado Women's Open has played an important role in developing future stars in women's golf. Many past Colorado Women's Open participants have gone on to careers on the Future's Tour, Symetra Tour and LPGA Tour, and, like the Men's Open, the tournament has showcased outstanding play from the region's best women amateur players as well.

The Colorado Seniors' Open was first held in 1999 at Plum Creek Golf & Country Club in Castle Rock. Colorado Golf Hall of Famer John Olive out-dueled a field of 120 senior professional and amateurs to become the event's first champion. The event was held at Plum Creek again in 2000 before moving to Westminster's Heritage at Westmoor in 2001 and 2003. Greg Harmon of Mesa, Arizona won the event in 2001 and nearly repeated in 2003 but was edged out in a playoff by Roy Christiansen of Utah. Harmon's win was certainly fitting—31 years earlier he was the low amateur in the Colorado Open at Hiwan.

Since 2004, all three championships have been home at the award winning Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver. This exceptional public golf course provides a wonderful challenge for all of the current championship participants. While each of these championships have served different segments of the competitive golf spectrum they share many common denominators. All have been run at the highest level of professionalism and quality. All have provided an opportunity for the state's best golfers (amateurs and professionals alike) to compete for the top prize in Colorado golf. All have reached out to the region's best players and encouraged participation from players in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and other Rocky Mountain states. All have showcased some of the best venues in our state and the unique charm of high altitude golf. And all have played an important role in the community by raiding dollars and awareness for worthwhile charitable organizations.

But most importantly, the Colorado Open, the Colorado Women's Open and the Colorado Senior Open all represent the wonderful history of competitive golf in the state of Colorado. It's a history we're all proud of. But more importantly it's a history that lays a great foundation to build on as we begin this new and exciting chapter for the Colorado Open Championships.

- Ed Mate

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Update - COVID-19 Precautions
  • Golf carts will be available for single riders only beginning Monday, April 27, on the 18-Hole Championship Course. Due to a limited number of golf carts, there may not be a golf cart available at your tee-time.  Golf carts are not allowed in the parking lot at any time.  GVR staff will be assigning golf carts 10 minutes prior to your tee time.  After the round, you must return all golf carts to the cart barn cleaning area.
    • NEW (May 16): Family members from the same household may ride together with proof of residency. The cart fee is $20 per rider.
    • NEW (May 16): Single rider carts can be upgraded to include a second bag for a walking player, for an additional $10 ($30 total). One designated driver – no switching. Passengers may not ride in the seat or on the back of the cart.
  • NEW: Effective Saturday, May 16, the driving range, practice putting green, and chipping green are OPEN for guests who have a tee time. All guests must adhere to Social Distancing and Face Covering guidelines. Please do not arrive any earlier than 20 minutes prior to your tee time. The driving range will have limited spots available. The maximum number of golfers on each practice green is FOUR at a time. 
  • NEW (May 9): The golf shop is open for check-in and merchandise sales. A maximum of FOUR golfers are allowed in the shop at any one time. We strongly encourage you to use our app to reserve tee times, and remotely check-in and pay. The system works really well and we’re thrilled to see so many guests use it. Thank you.
  • NEW: We need a favor from all of our guests. We’ve had too many incidents of guests violating the City of Denver face-covering order. Face coverings must be worn from the time you leave your car to when you finish interacting with our starter and arrive at the first tee. This is for your protection as well as other guests and our staff. We will continue to enforce this policy until the City changes its COVID-19 guidelines. GVR will not provide masks to guests.
  • Do not touch the flagstick and the flagstick must always remain in the cup. The cups have been modified, allowing players to hole their ball but eliminate the need to touch the flagstick or cup when retrieving the ball.  You may still post scores using the USGA’s recommended most likely score guidelines.
  • Rental Push Carts are available for rent, but Rental Clubs are not available.
  • You must book your tee time online or by calling the golf shop at 303-371-3131. All tee time reservations are made for walking with the option of adding a golf cart.  Any existing tee time reservation can be edited to add a cart.  Walk-ups not allowed.
  • The day of play, online pre-payment through the GVR App, or over the phone pre-payment/check-in is REQUIRED for all players. Payments can be made online for normal rack rates only.  All other rate types must be processed by calling the golf shop at 303-371-3131.  GVR Members can remotely check-in online through the GVR App. 
  • 9-Hole Par 3 Course is OPEN for WALKING ONLY.
  • Mandated Social Distancing guidelines must be adhered to in the parking lot, on the golf course, and around all buildings, including the Golf Center, Ebert’s, and Starter House. Please don’t assemble as groups before, during, or after your rounds.
    • No handshakes and high fives.
    • Maintain a minimum of 6’ social distancing everywhere.
    • Do not pick up or use other player’s clubs and golf balls.
    • RULE OF THUMB: If you take the head of your golf driver and point the grip at the person nearest you and can touch them, YOU ARE TOO CLOSE.
  • Please arrive no earlier than 20 minutes before your tee time and meet the starter on Hole #1 of the 18 Hole Course when your group is called. Please maintain the minimum 6’ social distancing from the starter and all players AT ALL TIMES.  Scorecards and pencils are available, but we strongly suggest downloading our Green Valley Ranch Golf Club App located in the App store.  The app has a digital scorecard to keep your scores and GPS for yardage. Tee time intervals are expanded to 10 minutes to further comply with mandated social distancing orders.
  • Staff levels are reduced and appropriate to facility activity (i.e., less staff when possible to limit possible exposure). Course Rangers will be monitoring golfers on the course to ensure social distancing and assisting with any player needs.
  • Peak season rates are in effect, and we have waived our cancellation policy in case your plans change unexpectedly.
  • Water coolers have been removed from the golf course, so please be prepared with your own pre-filled water bottle if needed. To-Go food & beverage orders are available for purchase.
  • Bunker rakes, ball washers, and water buckets have been removed from the golf course. Feel free to play preferred lies.
  • As a reminder, please don’t congregate as groups before, during, or after your rounds to maintain mandated social distancing orders. Frequent hand washing is advised and bring your own hand sanitizer if needed.
  • If you are feeling sick, stay away until you are healthy.

Our highest priority continues to be the health and safety of all guests and staff who come to GVR.  We appreciate your support and adherence to these unprecedented rules and restrictions and your business. We want everyone to stay safe and healthy so you can play and enjoy more golf. GVR Golf Club staff will be strictly enforcing the safety guidelines. Guests that cannot adhere to or respect the guidelines will be asked to leave without a refund. We’ll keep you updated as changes occur, and thank you for your patience.  

Golf can be a peaceful refuge from all the uncertainty and unsettling news.  If you choose to play, we’re here for you.  We wish everyone good health and good luck.