Bringing PGA Golf Back to the Castle Pines Golf Club
PGA golf is coming back to The Village at Castle Pines, and one of our own is helping to lead the charge. Ever since the success of the 2014 BMW Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club, a small group of leaders in the local golf community has made it their goal to bring the PGA tournament back to Colorado. Village at Castle Pines resident Duffy Solich and his brother, George, were instrumental in the campaign.
The efforts of the Solich brothers – primarily Club Chairman George, according to Duffy – and a handful of others were rewarded when an announcement was made in May at a star-studded press conference that the BMW Championship will be coming to the Castle Pines Golf Club in August 2024. Duffy, a longtime member of the Club and a pillar in Colorado’s golf sphere, was named the tournament chairman.
Duffy began caddying at the age of 12 at The Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs and later earned an Evans Scholarship through his work as a caddie. All proceeds from the BMW Championship benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation and its mission of awarding full college scholarships to caddies, so serving as chairman of an event that benefits the Foundation has brought Duffy’s journey full circle.
Founded in 1930 by the Western Golf Association (WGA) and legendary amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr., the Evans Scholars Foundation is the nation’s largest scholarship program for youth caddies. Since 2007, the BMW Championship has contributed more than $40 million to fund caddie scholarships.
It has been 16 years since the PGA Tour held its last tournament, The International, at the prestigious golf club. The BMW Championship will be the second-to-last event in the FedExCup Playoffs and will feature the PGA Tour’s top players.
Duffy said having the opportunity to chair an event like the BMW Championship is a dream come true and a top highlight of his career in golf. He admits it’s a bit surreal rubbing elbows with arguably the game’s greatest player, Jack Nicklaus, who designed the Castle Pines Golf Club course.
“George has built a great relationship with Jack Nicklaus. We have him out twice a year, and we don’t move a piece of sod without talking to him,” said Duffy, who lives with his wife, Anita, just a short distance from the course. “I call him Mr. Nicklaus. My brother calls him Jack.”
The tournament is a collaborative effort between WGA, Castle Pines Golf Club, the PGA Tour and BMW, said Solich, who noted that the Club’s membership has been supportive of hosting the BMW Championship.
The scheduling of the tournament at the golf club prompted changes to the course and clubhouse. The retooled par-72 course can better stand up to modern-day play, where the long ball is king. The length of the 18-hole course from the back tees is approximately 8,100 yards.
Tournament organizers are envisioning parking and shuttle service to avoid traffic issues. The plan is to allow for local resident traffic only between I-25 and U.S. 85, as has been the case with previous PGA Tournaments. The club owns a 75-acre tract of land off Daniels Park Road that will likely be temporarily used for parking.
The course will close to members for nine days during the tournament and the days preceding it. Given the growing popularity of golf in Colorado, Solich believes attendance will average 25,000 spectators per day. “I think we’re going to see people excited to come out and watch,” Solich said.
Organizers estimate a $30 million economic impact on the surrounding area.
More than 2,000 volunteers are needed to help out at the tournament, and Solich says he is hoping to have “lots of neighbors on hand helping out.” Details will be announced at a later date, and tickets for the 2024 BMW Championship will go on sale about six months prior to the event.
Most of the hospitality tents, including potential ones reserved for residents and members, will be set up on the back nine. The club is working on a plan to secure discounted tickets for homeowners in the area.
“My brother and I are very excited for our Village and community, as we know the tournament will showcase the beauty of where we all call home – as well as the great people and neighbors who make this place so special,” concluded Duffy.
By Chris Michlewicz; photos by Terri Wiebold and courtesy of Castle Pines Golf Club