Fitzsimons GC, Aurora. Army Corps of Engineers (1938) with renovations by Rick Phelps (2004). NLE

This was an Air Force base course until the late 90s when the base closed and the city took over the course. It might date to the Golden Era of design, but the Army Corps, for all their skills, were not Donald Ross. This was a pretty forgettable course on a forgettable site, and it’s hard to imagine how much Phelps could have done to make it better. I knew people who loved the place, which probably says more about the bonds golf creates than any intrinsic value of the golf shots it offered, but still.

“Ike’s Tree” on Hole #6 (Credit: City of Aurora / Ken Papaleo)

I recall two holes of note: The sixth, a gentle dogleg right par 4 with a large tree in the fairway. The tree had a wooden plaque reading “Ike’s Tree,” apparently referencing former president Eisenhower, who was said to have been a fan of the course. But whether he liked this tree or hated it and had it named for him much like the more famous (also lost) tree on the 17th at Augusta National I never was able to determine.

The pond in front of #8 green (Credit: Golf Advisor)

The eighth was a relatively short par 5, but the dogleg right was hard and didn’t bend until 300+ yards out so you could only really go at the green if you crushed a drive all the way to the corner (probably easier in the solid core ball era than in the wound ball days when I was playing the course). The green was protected by the course’s only water hazard—a uniquely unattractive concrete tub. It did nothing for aesthetics but it helped protect par, I guess.

RIP Fitz.