Denver set for reopening of City Park golf course

  • City Park
    Rocky Mountain Photography

    City Park golf course in Denver, Colorado, is set for a soft reopening on 1 September

  • City Park
    Tanner Gibbs, City & County of Denver

    Todd Schoeder has completely redesigned the course to help alleviate flooding concerns

  • City Park
    Todd Schoeder

    The approach to the eleventh green, with the Denver skyline visible in the backdrop

  • City Park
    Todd Schoeder

    Schoeder’s new layout includes a four-hole short course near the clubhouse

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

City Park golf course in Denver, Colorado, is set for a soft reopening on 1 September following a complete redesign by Todd Schoeder of GrassRoots Golf Design (formerly iCon Golf Studio).

The project was initiated to manage stormwater that naturally flows through this area, improve water quality, and reduce flood risks in surrounding neighbourhoods after large storms. Schoeder worked with the city and the public to redesign the Tom Bendelow course, while at the same time provide a solution to the stormwater issues while enhancing the golf course.

“The 135-acre golf course is one of the last large open spaces in Denver that offers a natural space to capture and then release floodwaters,” said Schoeder. “The challenge was can you utilise an existing, 1913 historic Tom Bendelow-designed golf course in the heart of an urban environment to address major neighbourhood and regional flooding issues? How do you use the course to detain the required stormwater and then release the water within eight hours to keep the course playable?”

Schoeder’s solution was to create a new design that uses 20 acres of the golf course to hold and slow almost 75 million gallons of floodwater during storms. His design includes a natural water treatment channel that enhances course strategy, while allowing stormwater to pass through the course without looking like an ‘engineered’ feature.

The new par 70 layout retains the original course character, preserves sweeping vistas and uses many existing hole corridors. The project also includes a new four-hole First Tee course, a new and expanded driving range, a one-acre practice area, and a new clubhouse and state-of-the-art maintenance facility.

“Even though the course is designed to flood and temporarily store a massive amount of water, you would be hard pressed to identify where and how the engineering works,” said Schoeder. “The golf design was seamlessly woven into the stormwater management system.

“To respect the original Bendelow ‘sporty’ design, many of the golf course features reflect the same size, character and location. Eight of the original golf holes remain in the same playing corridor, albeit redesigned with more movement, width and playing options.”

The new design included expanding and reshaping all 18 greens (they are now 50 per cent larger on average), 36 all new bunkers, and increasing the number and sizes of tees.

“All project goals have been met and, in many cases, exceeded, including meeting all mandatory city technical requirements for golf, and urban drainage requirements for stormwater management,” said Schoeder.

Prior to its soft opening, the course will host the Denver City Amateur tournament on 29-30 August.