A Treasure Trove of History
& Legacy to Uphold
Construction of The Club at Garden of the Gods began in May 1950. In September, the Hills gathered with Colorado and Texas friends for a dedication ceremony involving placement of a copper capsule into the lobby fireplace wall. A snapshot of the times, the capsule contained bubble gum, a bottle of Dr. Pepper, a Coke, a Hopalong Cassidy comic book, a plat of the survey for the development, current magazines and newspapers, brochures and curios commemorating Seven Falls, Jacoby’s book on Canasta, and other items that reportedly included an unlucky chameleon who scurried into the capsule the moment before it was sealed.
We Open the Doors
Making a Splash in Colorado Springs Society
On June 10, 1951, the Hills invited local residents to an Open House and donated the fifty-cent admission charge to the Junior League. The official Grand Opening celebration was spread over three days, June 14–16, to allow as many members as possible to participate. The lavish event, which featured gourmet food, live music, and dancing, launched The Club at Garden of the Gods as a premier private club in the western United States. The same year, The Gazette Telegraph described The Club as “a mecca for those interested in fine taste and splendor.”
Some famous faces stop by
Rudy Vallee and many more...
The Club at Garden of the Gods quickly became an exclusive retreat for Hollywood’s elite, captains of industry, and political and literary luminaries. Visitors included Robert Mitchum, Claudette Colbert, Gene Autry, John Wayne and Walt Disney. Members and guests enjoyed the immaculate tennis courts, gorgeous pool, gourmet dining and extravagant events.
Lead to a Bold Legacy
The Club at Garden of the Gods originally consisted of the lobby, bar, dining room, a small party room, 22 guest rooms, two suites to the north, three suites and four rooms on the second floor of the main building, two tennis courts and a swimming pool. Original members were primarily from Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma. The Club was designed to be a tennis club, only open in the summer, but Al Hill’s golfing friends eventually convinced him to add a golf course to the property.
A Stroke of Genius
Sealed With a Kiss
Press Maxwell designed a world-class, 18-hole, 7,000-yard golf course. Over 200 acres of Kentucky bluegrass and bentgrass were planted to create the course, named after the famous Kissing Camels rock formation at nearby Garden of the Gods Park. At the same time, the Hills built a Moroccan-themed clubhouse featuring a golf shop, locker rooms, a dining room and lounge. Forty South Patio rooms were added to The Club to accommodate members and their guests. The golf course officially opened for play in June of 1961.
In 1962, the grand tradition of the Smoochers Ladies Invitational and the Camel Drivers Men’s Invitational began, followed by the Sheiks & Shebas in 1967 and the Golden Camels in 1973. Throughout the years, members and guests have enjoyed challenge, competition and camaraderie amongst the splendor of the golf course and surrounding scenery.
As The Club continued to attract new members, the original clubhouse was eventually rebuilt. Designed by renowned architects Lake-Flato, its soaring glass and powerful stonework captured stunning views of Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. In 1998, golf course architect Mark Rathert added nine holes to the Kissing Camels Golf Course, which brought the course to 27 holes.
The Club’s Activities Grow and Flourish
Club Members Live Life to the Fullest
Tennis continued to be a popular pastime, and The Club began hosting the Club Championships in 1967. A few years later, in 1975, Hill family members played in an exhibition that opened the two indoor tennis courts. To accommodate families with children, a Recreation Center was constructed, featuring a junior Olympic-sized pool, wading pool and four outdoor tennis courts.
Expanding Our Horizons
An Exciting Future Ahead
In 2013 an investment group headed by longtime accounting executive Brenda Smith and health care executive Judy Mackey has acquired the Garden of the Gods Club and related facilities in a $10.3 million deal.
The iconic club, which opened in 1951 and nine years later built the Kissing Camels Golf Club, will get a major capital infusion that includes construction of a holistic wellness center staffed by two doctors and include practitioners in naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and massage therapy
The club has 12,500 members and includes 66 guest rooms, a 27-hole golf course, a 43,000-square-foot main building, a 21,000-square-foot golf clubhouse and a 7,500-square-foot recreation center.
The new ownership group includes Lyda Hill, daughter of the club’s founder, Al Hill. Ms. Hill sold the club in 2007.
Carrying the spirit of the past into the future
The Hills’ original vision for a private club, luxury resort and residential community is alive and well today. Whether golfing our 27-hole championship course, competing on the tennis courts, staying fit at the Sports Club, relaxing at the Spa, playing with their kids at the Recreation Center, meeting friends for dinner, or dancing the night away at one of our many parties, members of The Club at Garden of the Gods find their days filled with family, friends and experiences they will cherish for a lifetime.