When the economic slow down materialized in 2008, golf took a big hit. Smaller country and golf clubs suffered a significant downturn as golfers cut back drastically while economic uncertainty loomed.
As the economy gains stability or the perception of security, the smaller golf clubs are making strides towards regaining membership. They simply had to think creatively about their membership options and what golfers wanted.
Just 45 minutes south of Downtown Denver is the Perry Park Country Club. This is a prime example of a club that is surging and attracting new members with a blend of their original mission and course, with new membership options. PPCC is an interesting place as it might be best described as a wooded version of Arrowhead Golf Club. Red rock outcroppings nestled in the Pike National Forest give this course a unique feel and a sense of privacy on each hole.
Perry Park Ranch was the 4000-acre cattle ranch of John Perry, president of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Through the years, various ventures developed travelers and resort hotels in the area. In 1891, the Redstone Company engaged Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of New York’s Central Park and the Boston Commons to plan a resort village with casino, museum/library plus three lakes with separate residential areas. Though most of the plans never got off the drawing board, cottages were constructed for wealthy Denverites. The Manor House, built in 1889, today houses the restaurants, pro shop and other facilities of the Perry Park Country Club
Noted Colorado golf course designer Dick Phelps designed Perry Park in the 1960’s. Phelps’s mission was fitting the course into the natural beauty of the terrain, so minimal dirt was moved and attention was given to preserving natural features. The greens were originally designed for stimp speeds of 5-7, so at today’s green speeds of 10-11 they are very difficult to putt when rolling at high speeds.
The course was purchased by the members in 2002 and is scheduled to retire all debt, even the renovations by the end of 2015. That is economically amazing in the golf industry
Imagine an old East Coast country club with tree-lined fairways on numerous holes and a red rock backdrop on numerous other holes. You need to be able to shape your shots, and hit almost every club in your bag to play Perry Park. It’s a stimulating course to play regardless of which set of tees are used.
Beauty is only as good as operation, so the board recruited a new GM at then end of last year and a new chef. The GM, Bill Bradley, came from at 20-year stint at the Cheyenne Mountain Club in Colorado Springs. The head chef, Aaron Schultz most recently was at Pradera. Superintendent Justin Deagle and Director of Golf Brian Erickson round out the key staff.
One of the policies of the club is to have only 300 members, which helps speed up play to the point you can play during the week in less than 2 ½ hours. PPCC does offer a guest rate for potential members Tuesday through Thursday. However, you will probably share your round with multiple deer crossing the fairways as you line up to hit your shot, a few red foxes and an occasional bear.