Players teeing it up at the U.S. Women’s Open at the Broadmoor Golf Club next month may do a double take when they see the scorecard.
The Broadmoor's East Course will be set up at 7,047 yards at the foot of the Cheyenne Mountains in Colorado Springs, making it the longest course in U.S. Women’s Open history and the first of 7,000 yards or longer, according to Ben Kimball, the championship director.
Sure, there’s the altitude factor – 6,500 feet above sea level – making the ball fly 12- to 15-percent farther, but the course will play to a par 71. The previous longest U.S. Women’s Open course was at Interlachen in ’08 at 6,789 yards. It played as a par 73.
Broadmoor’s altitude will factor in a complicated way with half the holes playing uphill.
“You’re pretty much playing like you’re at sea level on shots toward the mountain,” Kimball said. “Of course, the ball will fly farther and run out more on shots away from the mountain.”
Paula Creamer, winner of last year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont, visited Broadmoor last week. She told GolfChannel.com the real test there will be on the greens. She said Oakmont’s famed greens may be diabolically quicker than Broadmoor’s, but Broadmoor’s are more diabolically deceptive.
“Putts that look like they go left will go right, and putts that look like they go right will go left,” Creamer said. “Oakmont’s greens were the hardest I’ve putted, but you could see the breaks there. It will all come down to the greens.”
Players will quickly learn the adage at Broadmoor: “Putts break away from the shrine.” That would be the Will Rogers’ clock-tower shrine built up in the mountain side.
U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis is blunt in the challenge Broadmoor’s greens will offer: “I find them to be the hardest I have ever been around anywhere.”