Cherry Hills Country Club was founded in 1922 by a group of prominent members from Denver Country Club who wanted a golf club and nothing else. Initially, the original name of the Club was The Cherry Hills Club in recognition of a cherry orchard located on the Club's grounds. The founders of the Club had the wisdom and foresight to enlist William S. Flynn to design the course. Originally from Philadelphia, Flynn was considered to be one of the premier golf course architects of his time. He was paid the handsome sum of $4,500 to design Cherry Hills, which he described as a top-notch layout with few equals and no superior.
Throughout the years Cherry Hills has stood the test of time and is still considered one of the true classic golf courses in the landscape of American golf. Golf's greatest names have walked the fairways of Cherry Hills and the tradition of championship golf looks to continue for years to come at the Mile High gem.(Top Left) William S. Flynn
(Bottom Left) Original Course Map Blueprint
1938 U.S. Open
Cherry Hills has certainly earned its place on the American championship golf landscape. It all started in 1938 with the U.S. Open. Prior to 1938, no club west of Minneapolis had ever hosted a U.S. Open. Ralph Guldahl, the 1937 champion, easily defended his title with a six shot victory. Perhaps the one thing to triumph Guldahl was what happened to California Pro, Ray Ainsley. During the second round of the championship, Ainsley made a 19 on the 16th hole and still has the distinction today of posting the highest single-hole score in U.S. Open history.(Top Left) Ralph Guldahl practicing during the 1938 U.S. Open
(Bottom Left) Ralph and Laverne Guldahl with their second U.S. Open trophy.
1941 PGA Championship
After the success of the 38 Open, the PGA decided they needed to have an event at Cherry Hills. So, in 1941 the PGA Championship was played for the first time in The Mile High City with Vic Ghezzi defeating Bryon Nelson on the 38th hole.
At the end of World War II, Denver was once again starving to have professional golf brought back to the city.
A group of individuals, led by members of Cherry Hills, formed a corporation for the first Denver Open golf tournament held in 1947. The event was won by Lew Worsham but interestingly enough, Ben Hogan finished T-2. Shortly after, the Women's Western Open cam to Cherry Hills in 1950. Babe Zaharias won the championship in match play competition by defeating Peggy Kirk in the final match, 5 and 3.
1950 Women's Western Open
The Women's Western Open came to Cherry Hills in 1950. Babe Zaharias won the championship in match play competition by defeating Peggy Kirk in the final match, 5 and 3.
1960 U.S. Open
Thirty years after staging its first national championship, Cherry Hills hosted what many consider as the greatest tournament in championship golf history, the 1960 U.S. Open . Arnold Palmer, who had won the Masters that April, was seven shots behind the leader going into the final round. In the locker room before the final round, Palmer asked his friend and longtime Pittsburgh sportswriter Bob Drum what it might take to win the Open and what a 65 might do for his chances. Drum responded: "For you, nothing. You are too far back." The King drove the 346-yard par-4 first hole and proceeded to birdie the first four holes and six of the first seven. Palmer's 65 and a 72-hole total of 280 (four under) was his first and only U.S. Open championship. Meanwhile, Ben Hogan was gunning for a record fifth Open title, and saw his fate sealed at the par-5 17th hole when his third shot spun back into the water. He followed his bogey at 17 with a triple bogey at 18 to finish four shots back. Playing with Hogan, the 20-year old amateur Jack Nicklaus bogeyed the final hole and finished second, two stokes behind Palmer. His second place finish was the best by an amateur since 1933 and has not been achieved since.(TopLeft) Arnold Palmer came from seven strokes back in one of the most miraculous final rounds in competitive golf.
(Bottom Left) Arnold Palmer receives the U.S. Open trophy from John Clock, USGA President.
(Below) Ben Hogan’s attempt to capture his fifth Open crown came up short on the moat-fronted 17th green. Remarked Hogan afterwards, “When will I ever learn not to go for a birdie in a situation like that.”
1976 USGA Senior Amateur
The Club hosted the 1976 U.S.G.A. Senior Amateur where the only three-time winner of the event, Lewis Oehmig, defeated John Richardson in the final, 4 and 3. In 1983, Jay Sigel won the U.S. Mid-Amateur to become the only golfer ever to win both the U.S. Amateur and Mid-Amateur in the same year.
1978 U.S. Open
In 1978, the U.S. Open returned to Cherry Hills with Andy North winning his first of two U.S. Opens with a 1 over par score of 285. North defeated the likes of Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and the 1960 Champion, Palmer. The difficulty of the course led to not one single score below 68 all week.
1983 U.S. Mid-Amateur
In 1983, Jay Sigel won the U.S. Mid-Amateur to become the only golfer ever to win both the U.S. Amateur and Mid-Amateur in the same year.
1985 PGA Championship
The PGA Championship returned to Cherry Hills in 1985, after a 44 year hiatus, with Hubert Green winning his second major title in a duel with Lee Trevino.
(Top Left) Hubert Green with the Wanamaker Trophy.
1990 U.S. Amateur
It was at Cherry Hills in 1990 that the golf world fully recognized the saunter and swagger, deft short game and risk-taking bravado that would come to be hallmarks of Phil Mickelson's Hall of Fame career. With his collar turned up and film-star demeanor, Mickelson caught the attention of amateur golf like no other player in a generation.
Mickelson plowed through the bracket, defeating Bob May (playoff runner-up to Tiger Woods at the PGA in 2000) and David Eger (1988 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion and Mickelson's Walker Cup teammate), before knocking out his good friend and high school teammate Manny Zerman in the final, 5 and 4.
But it was Mickelson's daring style that attracted a following at Cherry Hills. When he hit into the water on 17 during the final he later said, "I'd do it again. I'm just not one to lay up."
His flop shot for birdie on the 21st hole was highlight reel stuff. Booming drives, towering long irons, bold putting, it all came together that week at Cherry Hills for Mickelson.
Three times an NCAA Champion and later a PGA Tour winner as an amateur in 1991, Mickelson became just the second player to win the NCAA and U.S. Amateur titles in the same year, following Jack Nicklaus in 1961.
Apart from Mickelson's record-breaking performance, 1989 champion Chris Patton set a dubious record of his own for the biggest defeat of a defending champion when his opponent aced the 12th hole to win, 8 and 6.
(Top Left) Phil Mickelson hits a flop shot during the 1990 U.S. Amateur.
(Bottom Left) Phil Mickelson with the Havemeyer Trophy given to the U.S. Amateur champion.
1993 U.S. Senior Open
Jack Nicklaus had seen his hopes for a major victory at Cherry Hills dashed before. Second as an amateur in 1960. A final round contender in 1978 before a triple at 13 ended his run. Just off the lead early in 1985, he faded in demanding conditions. But in 1993 Nicklaus would write a different ending to his storied career at Cherry Hills.
Already a U.S. Senior Open winner in 1991, Nicklaus relied heavily on his trusted 1-iron to keep the ball in play all week at Cherry Hills. With thunder rumbling in the distance, Nicklaus needed four at the last to beat Tom Weiskopf by a stroke. Nicklaus slashed the ball 260-yards up the fairway of the 450-yard closing hole using that same 1-iron and then hit the center of the green, leaving a daunting putt of 35-feet, which he hit to 3-feet.
In 1960, with the hole in the same position, Nicklaus bogeyed the 18th to miss out on any chance of tying Palmer and forcing a playoff. His short miss that day taught a lesson that shaped his career. In 1993, he again faced a similar putt at the last with a choice: trickle the putt in or ram it home?
Unlike in 1960 he chose the latter. It was a clinical and classic Nicklaus finish to a major.
"What else do you expect?" ABC commentator Brent Musberger told the audience watching on television as Nicklaus wrapped up his eighth and final USGA championship. "When it's winning time, no one has ever been as great as he is."
(Top Left): Jack Nicklaus putting during the final round of the 1993 U.S. Senior Open.
(Bottom Left): Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus share a light moment on the 1st tee in 1993.
2005 U.S. Women's Open
In the 2005 U.S. Women's Open, Birdie Kim holed out from the right greenside bunker on her 72nd hole while amateur Morgan Pressel watched from the 18th fairway. At the time, Kim and Pressel were tied for the lead. When Pressel could not match the final hole birdie, Kim's 1-over 72 on Sunday and 3-over-par 287 score for the championship secured her victory.
(Top Left): Birdie Kim hitting the bunker shot on the 18th hole that would win the U.S. Women's Open.
2012 U.S. Amateur
For a moment it seemed over. And then it wasn’t. After Michael Weaver’s 5-foot par putt to win on the 36th hole dove into and out of the cup, he and Steven Fox went back to the famous 1st tee to settle a tense final match. Along the way they each knocked off players with far loftier reputations, relying on gritty short games and a will to win. In the end it was unwillingness to ever give up that carried Steven Fox, 21, from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga to Cherry Hills as a national champion.
(Top Left) Michael Weaver’s potential winning par putt dipped into the hole before spinning out. His reaction was disbelief.
(Middle Left) Steven Fox celebrates after holing the winning 21-foot birdie putt on the 1st green, the 37th hole of the final match.
(Bottom Left) Fox’s name will be forever etched on the Havemeyer Trophy.
2014 BMW Championship
While Billy Horschel was the professional star of the show at Cherry Hills, the 2014 BMW Championship was really all about caddies.
Whether it was the record $3.5 million raised for the Evans Scholars Foundation, the locker room access and pioneering amenities granted to TOUR caddies, or the hospitality shown to caddies by Cherry Hills members, the 2014 BMW Championship affirmed the important role caddies play in golf at every level of the game.
Along the way Cherry Hills welcomed the world’s finest male professional golfers for the first time since 1985. When Sergio Garcia imploded with an 8 on the 17th hole it brought to mind memories of Ben Hogan’s own struggles there in 1960. World No. 1 Rory McIlroy’s four-putting the 12th hole on the final two rounds will be talked about for years to come. Morgan Hoffman put on a weekend fireworks display, finishing 62-63 to set a new course record in the third round. But it was Billy Horschel, fresh off a squandered opportunity the week before, who showed grit with a winning score of 14-under-par and his victory at Cherry Hills set up a run that included the TOUR Championship and FedExCup to end the season.
For the third consecutive year, the BMW Championship was named the PGA TOUR’s Tournament of the Year and to validate the accomplishment, the caddies, in a letter of appreciation to Cherry Hills, said the 2014 BMW Championship was “without question the finest experience and treatment the caddies have ever experienced at a professional event in the world.”
(Top Left) Billy Horschel added his name to the J.K. Wadley Western Golf Association Open Championship Cup in addition to the BMW Championship trophy.