I’m headed to Denver and Colorado Springs for a few rounds of golf the weekend of the 19th and 20th. Remember way back in March, at the start of the golf season when I set out to play the oldest public golf courses in the US. I figured this will be about a three year or so quest, and this upcoming trip marks the third and final trip for this golf season. I’m feeling pretty lucky because I’ll be tackling two courses on The List and I get to go on a mini road trip and check out what's going on between Denver and Colorado Springs.
My first stop will be a round at Patty Jewett Golf Course in Colorado Spring. Their website describes my upcoming experience like this; “Patty Jewett Golf Course, the third oldest public course west of the Mississippi built in 1898, has been city-owned since 1919. The entrance sets the elegant mood, complete with a wonderful wrought-iron gate and a drive down a narrow road lined with a canopy of 100-year-old trees. The 18-hole course has a par of 72 and can challenge even the most experienced golfer.”
When I discovered this course during my early research I was immediately intrigued by its name; Patty Jewett. I can’t think of another course that is named after a person? Usually courses are named for regions, landmarks, towns, etc. I know courses are made famous by designers and architects like; Alister MacKenzie, Donald Ross, Pete Dye, Jack, and Arnie, but I can’t think of a course other then Patty Jewett that’s named after a person? If someone can think of other courses named after people please share.
Here’s the backstory: It turns out that Bill Jewett, a native of Long Island, N.Y., came to Colorado Springs in 1898. Mr Jewett was a good businessman and got into Gold mining and banking...smart. He also had a passion for designing golf courses and playing golf. He owned the Colorado Springs Golf Club and in 1919, four years after his wife, Patty, died, he deeded the course to the city with two important stipulations: "The gift shall be known as the Patty Stuart Jewett Memorial Field and maintained in perpetuity by the city for park purposes devoted primarily to golf ... and the grounds shall be open to all persons over the age of 10.” When the clubhouse was remodeled in 1990 a portrait of Patty was hung in the great room and there is a picture of Bill in the bar. The golf course shall forever be known as Patty Jewett.
Saturday afternoon I’ll be taking the drive through that wrought-iron gate to meet up with Bill and Patty!
On Sunday the 20th I’ll be at Overland Park Golf Course and according to their website this course is; “steeped in Denver history. The original Denver Country Club, this is the oldest running course west of the Mississippi. Conveniently located minutes from downtown, you can enjoy views of both the city and the mountains. Narrow fairways and small greens that are well-bunkered offer a challenge to golfers of any skill level”. According to me; “count me in!”
I don’t know much about the course so before I step out on the first tee I will make sure I spend some time getting acquainted. I’ll be taking in some of the sites for sure, and I want to try and learn a little bit more about the history. The only backstory that I have been able to drum up is that Overland Park was opened in 1895 and is one of seven Muni’s in the City of Denver’s Municipal system. I wonder if there are any original holes in play anymore or are there any certain landmarks to look for. No matter what, I look forward to teeing off on the first hole, hopefully hitting the fairway, and then begin that quiet walk into history.
Along with a great walk I’m planning for a reflective round. This round wraps up the journey for this golf season. For me, Overland Park is a fitting end for this year. There are many courses in the Denver area to play and some are masterpieces. My journey is about getting out to play some golf on the oldest public courses in the US, and Overland Park is poised to receive me as it has received thousands of golfers for nearly 125 years. Perhaps I’ll meet up with a few folks who are following along with me on my journey? If not, I’m sure I’ll get paired up with some course regulars who will help guide me through each hole, and please let me thank you now! Bottomline, I’m ready to feel the game and have a few laughs with some new friends.
See you on the course!