Denver Begins Kennedy Golf Course Redesign Planning Process – The Denver Post
Denver is not asking what the Kennedy Golf Course can do for the city, but what the city can do for the golf course.
A master plan is being developed to redesign the golf course so that all of its segments are comparable to one another, and to consider a new clubhouse and other features.
Kennedy is the largest of Denver’s seven golf courses. It has 27 holes of regulation golf between three nine-hole sections. The first two nines, named Babe Lind and West, were built in 1963, and the Creek nine was completed in 1994.
There is also a par three course on campus golf that doubles as a foot golf course, and two putt-putt courses are adjacent to the clubhouse. The campus has a large driving range with a practice green, but the short game practice area has been decommissioned for the time being.
Richard Mandell, a golf course architect hired to lead the redesign of the city’s course, is looking to remodel it for the foreseeable future. Kennedy was built when pilots were still wooden and technology did not help players hit 350 yard drives.
Despite having some of the toughest holes on Denver courses, Kennedy is showing his age. For example, tee boxes are usually designed to vary in length depending on the skill of the golfer. But the Kennedys are close to each other.
“We plan to renovate all three nines on the golf course, and one of the goals we discussed was (to make) all nines equal, so it won’t always be the Creek nine and Babe and the West. is for spillover,” Mandell said.
Scott Rethlake, the town’s golf manager, said creating continuity across the three courses was an important goal.
“You can tell things were developed and built at different times. It’s an effort to make it more consistent,” Rethlake said, adding that the course will be redesigned “so everyone wants to play those three nines.”
The projects would be spread over five to ten years. Denver is always taking people’s feedback to determine what will go into the master plan before it’s sent to the city council for review. The cost of the renovations has not been determined.
The West nine is considered the easiest of the three (depending on who you ask), and the Babe Lind nine is its more difficult sibling. Creek is a bit shorter than the three, but it’s narrow and requires precise shots.
“Due to budgetary constraints, we cannot build everything at once. But we can design everything at once,” Mandell said.
Some of the other changes Mandell mentioned would be to place bunkers in the middle of the fairways rather than the sides, making players strategize more than “grab and rip”.
Some of the goals of the master plan include updating the course’s infrastructure, making the course more environmentally efficient and improving safety by separating the holes further.
Mandell said the renovations are necessary because golf courses have a lifespan of about 30 years before at least needing floor replacement and other improvements due to drainage issues.
“We’re not completely, anyway, tearing the whole place apart. It’s not part of our plan,” Mandell said. “But what we’re thinking about is how best to use the features. On the new Creek, I’m thinking about how best to use Cherry Creek. We’re not messing with Cherry Creek, but maybe we’re changing things up to Cherry Creek.
The course would never be fully closed, Mandell said, adding that at least 18 holes will be playable while one of the nine is reconfigured.
Councilman Kendra Black, who represents Denver’s southeast corner, said she might not be a golfer, but she was eager to see some Kennedy features revised.
“I really want a new clubhouse, more like City Park, and a putt-putt refresh,” Black told BusinessDen. “For years, community members have been asking for these improvements. The course itself has a lot of cool features but is very old. Many features date back to 1963.
The next meeting for the golf course master plan will be from 5-7 p.m. on October 27 at the Hebrew Educational Alliance, 3600 S. Ivanhoe St.
One of Denver’s largest golf course renovations was completed in 2019 at City Park near the Denver Zoo. This $45 million project completely redesigned the golf course and built a new 11,000 square foot clubhouse, approximately 15 years after the city built a clubhouse at the corner of 26th Avenue and St. York.