’Tis the Season

Colorado golf-related gift wishes for the holidays

By Gary Baines – 12/20/2023

With the holidays upon us and almost all of 2023 in the rearview mirror, it’s a good time to reflect on the year in Colorado golf and look forward to what awaits in 2024. And, as is our tradition, part of our way of doing that is by sending out gift wishes in the spirit of the season, Colorado golf style.

So it’s time to look in our colorful bag of carefully sorted gifts and get to work. Time’s a wastin’.

To: Organizers of the BMW Championship that will be held at Castle Pines Golf Club in August. Gift Wish: For the first PGA Tour event in Colorado since 2014, a tournament that will have the tour clamoring to return to the Centennial State before the decade is out.

To: Colorado golf courses and their customers. Gift Wish: A happy medium between facilities doing a good business and a decent availability of tee-time slots for golfers who have been left frustrated by the lack thereof in recent years.

To: Former Air Force Academy golfer Tom Whitney. Gift Wish: After earning a PGA Tour card for the first time, a top-125 finish in 2024 FedExCup points, allowing you an extended stay at golf’s top level of competition.

To: Inspirato Colorado Open Championships. Gift Wish: Colorado residents winning the Colorado Open, Colorado Women’s Open and Colorado Senior Open in the same year, which would be a calendar-year first since 2013 (Zahkai Brown, Becca Huffer and Doug Rohrbaugh).

To: Local superintendents. Gift Wish: Just the right amount of snow and rain to leave your golf courses in stellar shape going into the 2024 season — but no more of that flooding that has proven oh so problematic on occasion in the last decade or so in Colorado.

To: The caddies at the University of Colorado Evans Scholars house in Boulder. Gift Wish: A very successful BMW Championship in August at Castle Pines, yielding considerable funding for the E.S. caddies at CU — and elsewhere — that are the beneficiaries. (This year, the BMW Championship raised $5.5 million for the cause.)

To: The CGA. Gift Wish: In 2024, a 110th year of existence that will do Colorado golf proud.

To: The Colorado PGA. Gift Wish: A national PGA of America award in 2024 to recognize the good work the Section does.

To: Colorado Golf Hall of Fame. Gift Wish: A year after its 50th anniversary and the opening of the Hall of Fame’s new museum at The Broadmoor, many thousands of golf fans taking advantage of the (free) opportunity to tour a stellar tribute to golf in the Centennial State.

To: Denver native Wyndham Clark: Gift Wish: For the reigning U.S. Open champion, a top-10 finish in his first Masters.

To: Colorado native Jennifer Kupcho. Gift Wish: A return to the LPGA Tour winner’s circle after being shut out since your three-victory 2022 season.

To: Oilman and philanthropist George Solich. Gift Wish: A memorable year between your Colorado Golf Hall of Fame induction and success of the 2024 BMW Championship at Castle Pines Golf Club, the club where you serve as chairman and president.

To: Connor Jones of Westminster. Gift Wish: A stellar final semester on the Colorado State golf team, then a seamless transition to pro golf.

To: Cherry Hills County Club. Gift Wish: After a U.S. Amateur that was a success by just about every measure, another big-time spectator event at the historic venue in the not-too-distant future.

To: The Ascendant presented by Blue at TPC Colorado. Gift Wish: A third Korn Ferry Tour Tournament of the Year honor in just the sixth year of existence for the Berthoud-based event.

To: Colorado resident Martin Laird. Gift Wish: Gift Wish: One more PGA Tour victory — for five in his career — as the former Colorado State University standout will go into the new season as a 41-year-old.

To: Two Rodeo Dunes courses near Roggins, Bella Ridge in Johnstown and a yet-unnamed course in southern Aurora at E-470 and Parker Road — on the Kings Point property. Gift Wish: Good growing seasons in 2024 ahead of likely scheduled openings in 2025.

To: Two-time CGA Player of the Year Colin Prater of Colorado Springs. Gift Wish: Continue giving Colorado’s top college-age players hell on the course.

To: Denver native Mark Hubbard. Gift Wish: In his mid-30s, victory No. 1 on the PGA Tour.

To: Micah Rudosky of Cortez. Gift Wish: A handful of PGA Tour Champions starts in 2024 for the winner of the last three Colorado PGA Professional Championships.

To: Colorado Golf Expo and owner/operator Kevin Morton. Gift Wish: Record attendance for the three-day show in February at the Colorado Convention Center.

To: Lauren Lehighof Loveland. Gift Wish: A top-10 finish at the women’s NCAA national championship to cap off a very strong amateur career.

To: Colorado-based NCAA Division I golf programs. Gift Wish: A second straight year when two or more local schools qualify full teams for the NCAA national tournament.

To: Colorado junior golfers. Gift Wish: An AJGA victory or two in the state in 2024.

To: Jon Lindstrom of Denver. Gift Wish: To be ranked No. 1 in the world among amateur golfers 55 and older.

To: The three Colorado golfers (Sydney Liddell, Simon White and Landry Frost) who have qualified for the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals, set for April at Augusta National. Gift Wish: The first overall national title for a Coloradan in the event.

To: Former Fort Collins resident Drew Stoltz. Gift Wish: After two national runner-up finishes — with partner Drew Kittleson — in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, a championship in 2024.

To: Becca Huffer of Monument and former University of Colorado golfers Robyn Choi and Jenny Coleman. Gift Wish: In your return to the LPGA Tour after spending time back on the Epson circuit, a prolonged stay at the highest level of women’s golf.

To: Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Kim Eaton. Gift Wish: In 2024, The 30th CGA/CWGA championship title of your career.

To: Former Air Force Academy hockey standout Chuck Delich, the Eisenhower Golf Club member who caddied for 2023 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Kiara Romero in July. Gift Wish: Sounds like you already received one as the caddie for a USGA champion.

To: Matt Schalk of Erie. Gift Wish: An Inspirato Colorado Senior Open title to go with your 2022 national Senior PGA Professional Championship.

To: Parker Edens, who grew up in Greeley and attended CSU. Gift Wish: A CGA Match Play title in your 30s after coming ever so close to earning the trophy over the years.

To: University of Colorado women’s golf head coach Anne Kelly. Gift Wish: After 27 years at the Buffs’ helm, that your retirement in the spring will bring a school year free from worry about anyone’s golf game but your own.

To: CSU golfer Christoph Bleier. Gift Wish: A deep run at the 2024 U.S. Amateur after a top-10 individual finish in the 2023 World Amateur Team Championship.

To: Lakewood resident: Monica Lieving. Gift Wish: How about back-to-back women’s titles in the World Long Drive Championship?

To: All Colorado golfers. Gift Wish: A 2024 golf season that leaves you always wanting to come back for more.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates