Can Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor take advantage of another opportunity to enhance our national image?
What we think:
Hosting the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament in 2018 plays to the strengths of the famous resort and the city.
Not many events deserve a promotional launch 49 weeks in advance. But the 2018 U.S. Senior Open, coming to The Broadmoor next June 25-July 1, definitely warrants such attention — and advance preparation.
The world’s most significant golf tournament for men 50 and older first visited The Broadmoor Golf Club in 2008, and the picturesque setting that weekend of the 18th hole was memorable enough that you can see it now on the championship’s internet homepage, 2018ussenioropen.com. The event produced an economic impact of more than $21 million for Colorado Springs — and that was a decade ago, on the threshold of recession.
This time, with the city and region riding a wave of positive momentum and growth, the Senior Open should leave that number in the dust. But it’s not just about the business impact, FOX’s global TV coverage and assorted other media describing the scene here.
Moments such as this, bringing one of a major sport’s top events to our doorstep, give the host city and venue a rare chance to tell our story and convince a very large audience how extraordinary Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor truly are. The launch Tuesday provided just the first taste.
Timing is everything, and the second round of that Senior Open on Friday, June 29, 2018, will be The Broadmoor’s 100th birthday, with the entire week (practice rounds start literally the day after the next Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb) as the climax of the famed resort’s centennial celebration. That means reliving a century of sports history, from Olympic figure skating champion Peggy Fleming and the old Broadmoor Ice Palace to international hockey (the 1980 Miracle on Ice team was chosen here), hill climbs with the legendary Unser family and other golf tournaments here such as Jack Nicklaus winning the 1959 U.S. Amateur. Hopefully the Senior Open organizers also can find old footage from the defunct Broadmoor Men’s Invitation (1921-1995), which peaked in the 1970s and ’80s with many players now in the senior age group, from Hale Irwin to Fred Couples, Mark O’Meara and Corey Pavin.
No other mid-size American city can claim that kind of sports history, and, with the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame taking shape and The Broadmoor worthy of hosting more major golf championships, it’s not just in the past.
Mayor John Suthers drove the point home, calling the Senior Open “a huge economic driver” and telling about meeting International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach at a torch-lighting in Greece. Suthers asked if Bach had been to Colorado Springs and he simply said, “Ah yes, The Broadmoor!”
But success in hosting a Senior Open isn’t measured in just history or dollars invested. As one official said Tuesday, it’s more than having a great golf course. It’s about a city that embraces the event. The organizers already have more than 1,500 volunteers committed, hoping for about 800 more. And the city, led by Suthers, is totally on board, with the recent new paving of Lake Avenue as one early signal.
We’ll be hearing much more about the 2018 Senior Open over the next 49 weeks. And when it arrives, we’ll see whether Colorado Springs can make the most of its latest shot on the national stage. n CSBJ