After 10 years away, the U.S. Senior Open returns to The Broadmoor. While these golfers over 50 may have aged out of the PGA, they’ve still got game, as does the championship’s honorary chairman John Elway. Here’s how to make the most of the weeklong festivities.
What should I know about seeing the action?
Seating on the 12 sets of bleachers is first come, first served. You can take a seat and watch many groups play through, or you can walk around and follow players hole to hole. Either way, the competition starts and ends in the same spot because the Broadmoor’s East Course is set up with the first and 18th holes next to each other. Insider tip: The fourth hole provides some of the best viewing. “It’s a par-3 over water, which is great because you can see the tee shot as well as the putting at the end,” says Brianne Wyatt, championship director.
When can I get up close and personal with my favorite player?
Practice rounds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are when the players are the most casual and laid-back. If you want an autograph or handshake, head out at the beginning of the week—especially if your player is a crowd favorites too. Overall, it’s a strong field with many former PGA standouts, such as Hale Irwin and Davis Love III, who will be playing his first Senior Open since turning 50.
“Fred Couples is still one of the most sought after people to watch,” Wyatt says. “John Daly turned 50 recently, and he brings his own set of spectator interest because of his pants and his personality and all of that.”
Host to Pros
The Broadmoor’s East Course hosted the 1959 U.S. Amateur, which was Jack Nicklaus’ first major win, and the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open, which was Annika Sorenstam’s first major title.
Who’s favored to win?
U.S. Senior Open defending champion Kenny Perry is in the field, but The Broadmoor challenges the best of golfers. Experience on the course will definitely help. “I think one thing that’s special about The Broadmoor is that if you’ve played here before, you understand the ways the greens roll away from the mountain a little bit more,” Wyatt says.
What about getting around, eating and the other festivities?
All parking is complimentary, however, you could leave your car at home: Bike parking is available, and there’s an Uber and Lyft drop-off area. As for food and drink, 10 concession stands will be open throughout the week, and you can upgrade to the Centennial Club for items from Ruth’s Chris, Absolut Elyx and Coors (tickets available on-site). Also, on Friday, all Broadmoor restaurants will be open to the public as usual and available for anyone on property as part of The Broadmoor’s centennial birthday celebration.
If you have a ticket to the championship on Friday, join the happy hour after play and before the grandstands open on the 18th green for evening fireworks. Tickets also cover the Drive, Chip, Putt local qualifier on Tuesday and the Tom Watson Exhibition on Wednesday.
Can I bring my cowbell?
You’ll need to be quiet when players are striking the ball, but otherwise, cheering and clapping are fair game. “It’s not like a NASCAR crowd, or like a crazy football crowd where it’s always loud all the time, but it’s not super, super quiet, where some people might think, Oh I’m going to a golf tournament; it’s going to be very quiet, very reserved,” Wyatt says. “If there’s a great shot or if someone is really close on a miss, you’ll hear the crowd really get into it.”
Wait—John Elway is the chair?
Yep. John Elway is the 2018 U.S. Senior Open Honorary Chairman. And while you may just run into the Broncos legend wandering around The Broadmoor, you may also get to see him play—if he made the cut in the field qualifier, May 28. “He has the appropriate handicap,” Wyatt says. “He’s played in the Colorado Open before, and he’s just a big golf enthusiast.” [Editor’s Note: Since publication, John Elway missed the cut for playing in the tournament, shooting a 10-over 80 during the qualifying round.]
Do I need to be on bear alert?
Wyatt laughs when asked about the bear that crashed the 2008 U.S. Senior Open. “We meet with city officials pretty regularly, and they’ve been on bear watch literally for the last couple of months. We’re tracking the bear population in the community and hoping that we don’t have another sneak attack.”
U.S. Senior Open 2018
June 25 – July 1
Tickets: Individual day tickets start at $25; multiday passes start at $225. The Broadmoor also offers accommodation packages.
8 USGA events contested at The Broadmoor, including this year
70 Par expected for tournament course
7,264 Total yardage
130,000 Anticipated spectators during the week
$4,000,000 2017 purse