Colorado’s Cornerstone Club’s Rebirth

By David R. Holland

When this Greg Norman course opened near Montrose, Colorado in 2008 some proclaimed it as the best high-altitude golf course in the nation at 9,200 feet

Award-winning Cornerstone Club golf course in the mountains of Southwest Colorado is undergoing renovation to re-open in summer 2019 as part of the relaunch of the Cornerstone Colorado community development.  Matt Dusenberry and Dusenberry Golf Course Design are working with the ownership to renovate the golf course. 

It was named #1 Best New Private Course in Colorado and #2 Best New Course in the U.S. by Golfweek in 2008.  The club closed in 2014 after several ownership changes.  But the 4,800 acres of the Uncompahgre Plateau, with views of surrounding aspen and pine forests and the West Elks, Cimarron Ridge and San Juan mountains, was just too special to not be given a second chance.

The golf course renovation began in autumn 2017 with the practice facility and short course.  That practice facility opened to members during the 4th of July holiday 2018. Substantial completion of golf course construction is scheduled for early September 2018.  Cornerstone Colorado is one of the top private golf and four season recreational communities in the United States. Located fifteen miles southwest of Montrose, CO and 40 miles north of Telluride, Colorado. 

Cornerstone encompasses approximately 4,800 acres atop the Uncompaghre Plateau offering stunning vistas of the surrounding aspen forests, West Elks, Cimarron Ridge and San Juan Mountains.

“This is an exciting opportunity to revive one of my favorite golf course projects anywhere in the world.  It’s an unforgettable playing experience that combines exceptional golf with a stunning mountain site.  Most people equate mountain golf with playing on the steep uphill, downhill, or side slopes.  That’s not the case at Cornerstone Club. For a high altitude site, the property is subtle by mountain standards.  The routing of the course flows effortlessly over the plateaus and across the natural ravines of the site resulting in a very playable and fun course.  You walk off the 18th green and want to go straight back to the 1st tee.” said Matt Dusenberry.

The scope of work is targeted to tees, bunkers, approaches, and greens.  “In working with the client we established eight principles that guide all of our decisions during the renovation process” said Matt Dusenberry;

1.  Improve strategy

2.  Improve playability

3.  Improve memorability and player enjoyment 4.  Improve ease of maintenance 5.  Improve aesthetics 6.  Moderate the capital costs of the renovation 7.  Reduce water use long-term (reduce irrigated turf) 8.  Maintain the core Cornerstone Club identity and design characteristics from the original design

“Our approach to the project is to utilize a hybrid self-perform of the renovation and construction of the features.  A local golf course contractor is executing finish work while myself and my design partner, Jim McKenna, are shaping the features.  This is in keeping with our philosophy of full-time on-site supervision and participation in the construction process to give the client the most creative and cost-effective results.” said Dusenberry.

Golf Course Data

·  “Low mow” bluegrass fairways and rough ·  Bentgrass tees, greens, and approaches ·  Hole 1 tee is over 9200’ in elevation ·  Tees play from 5300 to 7800 yards – Par 72

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