A USGA Favorite

When it comes to hosting USGA championships over the years, Colorado is among the best in the West

By Gary Baines – 11/30/2020

Earlier this fall, the USGA announced that one of its championships will be played in Alaska for the first time as the 2022 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur is scheduled for Anchorage Golf Course.

Alaska is the only state not yet to have hosted a USGA championship, though several have been the site of just one, including one of Colorado’s neighbors — Utah. Also with only one are Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Vermont, along with the District of Columbia.

Of course, USGA championships are among the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world, most notably their four opens — the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women’s Open, the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

There are also a dozen amateur tournaments on the USGA schedule. Those include the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Women’s Amateur, Walker Cup, Curtis Cup, U.S. Senior Amateur, U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur, U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, U.S. Junior Amateur, U.S. Girls’ Junior, U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball.

Considering how few USGA championships have been conducted in fellow states in the Rocky Mountain region, it’s remarkable how well Colorado stacks up nationally as far as all-time USGA championships hosted.

For instance, Montana has been home to two USGA championships, Wyoming two, New Mexico two, Idaho one and Utah one.

By comparison, Colorado has hosted more than four times as many USGA championships as the rest of those Rocky Mountain states combined.

Jack Nicklaus has won two USGA championships in Colorado — the 1959 U.S. Amateur and the 1993 U.S. Senior Open (above).

And Colorado ranks surprisingly highly among the 50 states as far as USGA national and international tournaments hosted. Through 2020, the Centennial State checks in with 33 all-time, which puts it in the top 10 — in 10th place.

For the record, here’s the top 10:

1. Pennsylvania 87 USGA championships

2. California 83

3. New York 73

4. New Jersey 62

5. Illinois 61

6. Massachusetts 57

7. Ohio 40

8. Oregon 38

9. Minnesota 36

T10. Colorado 33

T10. North Carolina 33

In other words, only two states in the western half of the country — California and Oregon — have hosted more USGA events than Colorado.

Colorado has been home to 13 different USGA championships. It’s hosted each of the biggest tournaments multiple times — three U.S. Opens, all at Cherry Hills Country Club (1938, ’60 and ’78); three U.S. Women’s Opens, two at The Broadmoor East and one at Cherry Hills (1995, 2005 and 2011); and three U.S. Senior Opens, two at Broadmoor East and one at Cherry Hills (1993, 2008 and 2018). Meanwhile in the Centennial State, there have been four U.S. Amateurs, four U.S. Amateur Public Links, three U.S. Girls’ Juniors, three U.S. Junior Amateurs, two U.S. Women’s Amateurs, two U.S. Mid-Amateurs, two Curtis Cups, two U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, one U.S. Senior Amateur and one U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur.

Annika Sorenstam won the first of her three U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor in 1995.

And it should be noted that numerous World Golf Hall of Famers have won USGA championships in Colorado — Jack Nicklaus (1959 U.S. Amateur and 1993 U.S. Senior Open), Arnold Palmer (1960 U.S. Open), Annika Sorenstam (1995 U.S. Women’s Open), Phil Mickelson (1990 U.S. Amateur) and Juli Inkster (1982 U.S. Women’s Amateur).

Colorado was supposed to have added one to its 

USGA championship total this year, but the U.S. Girls’ Junior set for Eisenhower Golf Club at the Air Force Academy — the first USGA championship scheduled for a military course — was canceled due to Covid-19 safety concerns. It’s hoped that a future slot for the Girls’ Junior will be set for Colorado — possibly as soon as 2023, which doesn’t have a site announced yet.

Future USGA championships already on the schedule for Colorado include the 2023 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills and the 2025 U.S. Senior Open at Broadmoor East. And though nothing has been announced, the 2031 U.S. Senior Open is also expected to be held at The Broadmoor.

The most recent USGA championship held in Colorado was the U.S. Mid-Amateur in September 2019 at Colorado Golf Club in Parker.

Phil Mickelson has won just one USGA championship — the 1990 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills.

Here are the Colorado courses that have hosted USGA championships all-time, with the number of events for each:

1. Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village 9

2. The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs 8

T3. Denver Country Club 2

T3. Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen 2

T3. Lakewood Country Club 2 

T3. Wellshire Golf Course in Denver 2

T7. Colorado Golf Club in Parker 1

T7. Greeley Country Club 1

T7. Hyland Hills Golf Courses in Westminster 1

T7. Kissing Camels Golf Course in Colorado Springs 1

T7. Murphy Creek Golf Course in Aurora 1

T7. Riverdale Dunes in Brighton 1

T7. Sonnenalp Club in Edwards 1

T7. Walking Stick Golf Course in Pueblo 1