DENVER, COLO. – Cherry Hills, one of America’s most historic and revered golf clubs and site of Arnold Palmer’s only US Open victory in 1960, has completed a decade of restoration of its golf course William Flynn of 1922, which has hosted 14 major championships and will host the 2023 United States Amateur Championship next summer.
Cherry Hills commissioned renowned golf course architect Tom Doak and Renaissance Golf Design in 2007 to restore the charm, character and playability of Flynn’s original design while extending it over the years to maintain the legacy of the club to host prestigious national championships. Much of the work has taken place over the past decade under the direction of Renaissance associate Eric Iverson.
SMALL DRY STREAM PROJECT
The culminating phase of the restoration was the return to its original orientation of Little Dry Creek, which was completed this spring. Iverson oversaw the repositioning of Creek along several greens and fairways on the front and back nine. While the project redesigned the Little Dry Creek to reduce flood potential and better manage water flow, it also brought back many of the exciting and strategic shooting values that Flynn created a century ago.
To restore Flynn’s original design, Little Dry Creek was rerouted closer to the front of the green on the 14the hole, alongside the green on the seventh, then continues to flow tightly along the newly redesigned eighth hole. Little Dry Creek also came into greater play on the 15th hole, where the recent rediscovery and restoration of Flynn’s original left side of the green has helped create a more challenging approach. The creek now runs closer to the 15th green, along the 16th fairway and around the green, further emphasizing the genius and creativity of Flynn’s original design.
“You can see from all the hole drawings that Flynn plotted the holes and implemented a strategy based on Little Dry Creek,” Iverson says. “The way the brook now plays on these key holes brings exceptional strategy and challenge to these iconic approach shots. Holes 14 and 16, for example, are two of the most beautiful and challenging par 4s in the country. , but now, with the creek approaching each green, the shot values and premium on angles into the green are off the charts.”
A RESTORED CLASSIC
The Renaissance team also reintroduced the famous cross bunkering on the 17the hole (which features the island’s first green on a US-built par 5) and other strategic bunker work on the first, second, fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth, 14th and 16the Holes. The green complexes on holes 3 and 13 have been fully restored while other greens have been returned to their original shape to ensure that all green complexes match Flynn’s original plans. A major tree management program has also been implemented and several holes have been lengthened to accommodate advances in modern play. This includes fresh tees on holes five, nine, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 16.
Flynn’s ingenious layout on Cherry Hills is truly unique among the top 100 courses. The opening nine forms a figure eight inside the property while the back nine winds in a circle counter-clockwise around the perimeter. Cherry Hills is one of the few courses with this unique “Muirfield Plan” routing, named after the famous Muirfield in Scotland.
Flynn, whose design work also includes Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Brookline Country Club and Kittansett Club, has also done extensive work at Pine Valley Golf Club and Merion Golf Club. His work at Pine Valley inspired the use of interrupted fairways on several holes at Cherry Hills. Holes 14, 16 and 17 have also been recognized among “The 500 Best Holes in Golf in the World” by GOLF Magazine.
“The transformation Tom Doak and Eric Iverson of Renaissance Golf Design have made to the classic William Flynn design brings extraordinary pride to our members,” said Cherry Hills President David Keyte. “In 2022 we celebrated 100 years as a club, and in 2023 we will celebrate the centenary of our first game of golf at Cherry Hills, which coincides with hosting the US Amateur, which is very exciting. The restored shooting values on display next summer are sure to remind the golfing world of Cherry Hills’ timelessness and stature as a world-class championship venue.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS CONTESTED IN CHERRY HILLS:
- 1938 U.S. Open
- 1941 PGA Championship
- 1950 Women’s Western Open
- 1960 U.S. Open
- 1976 American senior amateur
- 1978 U.S. Open
- 1983 USA Mid-amateur
- 1985 PGA Championship
- 1990 american amateur
- 1993 US Open Senior
- 2005 US Women’s Open
- 2009 Arnold Palmer Cup
- 2012 american amateur
- 2014 BMW Championship
- 2023 american amateur
For more information on Cherry Hills, see the Cherry Hills Architecture Guide.
ABOUT CHERRY HILLS
Cherry Hills is intertwined with the fabric of American golf history. The club was founded in 1922 on 272 acres south of Denver, Colorado and designed by famed course designer William Flynn. In 1938, the United States Golf Association awarded Cherry Hills the US Open, the first time the tournament was held west of the Mississippi River. Since then, the course has hosted 14 different National Championships, with the US Amateur scheduled for 2023 being its 15th. Cherry Hills is the site of one of the most famous openers and monumental rounds in championship golf history when Arnold Palmer drove the first green in the final round of the 1960 US Open and birdied en route to a final round 65 to win. Cherry Hills is the only course in the United States, other than Augusta National, where both Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus have won a major championship.
Among the champions who have won at Cherry Hills are some of the game’s greatest: Palmer, Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Jay Siegel, Hubert Green, Andy North, Ralph Guldahl, Vic Ghezzi, Babe Didrikson-Zaharias and Lewis Oehmig. Cherry Hills is rated one of America’s Top 100 Courses by Golf Digest, GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the United States, and Golfweek’s Top Classic and Top Private Courses.
For more information, visit www.CHCC.com.