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As we write and publish our News Blasts, we realize that some of the information has historic significance to our community.  So that we don't lose that valuable information, we have established this Archives page. We will post items and Blast articles that we believe need to be saved for their historic significance.
The Murphy Creek Golf Course Story - Part 1
Published in the March 5, 2014 Edition of MCGC Neighbors News Blast

Our Guest Writer this week is Dennis Lyon, a resident of the community with his wife, Penny, since 2004.  One of his sons and family also live here, so it is a real  family affair.  For those who don’t  know Dennis, he is a Certified Golf Course Superintendent and was the Manager of Golf for the city of Aurora for many years prior to retiring. 


A LITTLE BACK GROUND - During my years with Aurora Golf I had the pleasure of supervising and managing the construction of Saddle Rock and Murphy Creek Golf Courses.  Saddle Rock opened in 1997 and Murphy Creek opened in 2000.  It takes several years to plan, design, build and grow-in a golf course.  Saddle Rock was under construction when I got word from the city that we were building another golf course, Murphy Creek.  Immediately I knew Aurora Golf would be going into competition with itself.  The Golf Fund, which is a “stand alone financial enterprise fund,” (not tax supported) had already borrowed $6,000,000 to build Saddle Rock.  In the early 1990’s when the city decided to build Saddle Rock, another 18-hole golf course was needed.  The previous 18-hole addition was Meadow Hills, a semi-private country club purchased by Aurora in 1977.  By the early 1990’s the city had grown considerably and a new golf course was in order.  However, the golf course market did not require the city to open another 18-hole golf course, Murphy Creek, just three years after Saddle Rock opened.  In addition, Fitzsimons golf course went public during this time, Heritage Eagle Bend was also under construction and the possibility of Heather Ridge going public was on the horizon.  As the Manager of Golf for the city, I was concerned with how the Golf Enterprise was going to attract enough golfers to pay the debt on Saddle Rock, $6,000,000 and an additional $8,000,000 in debt for Murphy Creek, plus maintain them both.  Decisions such as building a golf course to sell houses and collect development fees, sewer and tap fees, property taxes etc. may in fact be, at times, a great political decision for the city.  This does not necessarily make it a good business decision for Aurora Golf.  However, as a middle manager in city government, I expressed my concerns with the potentially difficult financial implications involved with building Murphy Creek and was given the tasks of building Murphy Creek anyway and figuring out how to pay for it.  How this was accomplished and the difficulties involved are a story for a different day.


Stay tuned….more of the story about the development of our Murphy Creek Golf Course will be published in our next News Blast.  Dennis Lyon is a uniquely qualified source for providing all of us with this story.  MCGC Neighbors thanks him for being willing to share it!

The Murphy Creek Golf Course Story - Part 2
Published in the March 12, 2014 Edition of MCGC Neighbors News Blast
This is Part 2 of a 3 part series about the development of the Murphy Creek Golf Course.  The information is being provided by Murphy Creek resident, Dennis Lyon, who was the Manager of Aurora Golf prior to retiring and who supervised the building of our golf course.  If you missed last week's Part 1, see above to catch up.

In order for Murphy Creek Golf Course to be successful, I felt we needed to create a golf course very different from Saddle Rock. At the time construction was started at Murphy Creek, the immediate neighborhood consisted of two residential homes along Jewell. I don’t believe either family had any golfers. I knew people would have to travel some distance, for many years, to play the Murphy Creek course. As a result we had to design and build a unique and exceptional facility.

With the help of staff and members of the citizen golf advisory committee, Ken Kavanaugh was hired to design the Murphy Creek course. Ken is from Tucson, AZ and had never designed a course in Colorado. We evaluated his work and felt he was the man for the job. His instructions were to design a golf course which matched the existing terrain. Due to the lack of trees, the openness of the area and the wind, it was decided the course needed to be big, with sufficient length to hold championship tournaments and wide enough to offer interesting, challenging fairways, exciting bunker complexes and superior greens. The goal was to create a course with a homestead theme that, although recently built, looked like it could have been built in the 1930’s. Our architect also stated his goal was to build a course where the U.S. Golf Association could hold a national championship event as well as a course where his 80 year old mother could still play it and have a good time.

Ken designed the course in 1996 and 1997. It was put out to competitive bid among golf construction contractors in 1998. Construction began in the fall of 1998. Seeding started in April of 1999 and the grand opening was mid-July 2000.

Stay tuned and read the rest of the story in next week’s MCGC Neighbors News Blast.

The Murphy Creek Golf Course Story - Part 3
Published in the March 19, 2014 Edition of MCGC Neighbors News Blast

This is the final, Part 3, of the Murphy Creek Golf Course Story. No one but Dennis Lyon could bring us all the unique details about how our golf course came to be. As the Golf Manager for the city of Aurora prior to his retirement, Dennis was in charge of building the course. If you missed either of the prior articles, see above to catch up.

We also wanted to build a clubhouse that fit the homestead theme and matched the existing barn along Murphy Creek on the front nine. Eidos Architects were selected to design the Murphy Creek buildings and I feel they did a fantastic job. Murphy Creek is one of the few courses in the country with a maintenance building next to the clubhouse. The cart barn actually resembles a dairy barn. Another advantage to building the clubhouse, maintenance building, cart barn and storage building in one complex, it allowed all of the service area to be out of site from the golfers. The range ball machine actually sits in a silo. When golfers arrive at Murphy Creek they see a large clubhouse, which could have been the original farmhouse in a homestead setting. Due to the service area surrounded by buildings and fencing, they don’t see the delivery trucks, the dumpsters or the employees washing carts. This is an unusual arrangement and creates a special space which makes people feel very welcome.

The tournament pavilion was located close to the clubhouse and works great for tournaments and other events. The backyard at Murphy Creek is actually an exceptional practice area. The Quintessential Foursome sculptures are Murphy Creek gems and portray a unique story, worth visiting if you haven’t. Funding for this art came from the city’s public arts program, which the Murphy Creek project donated to. Some funding also some came from Comcast. Comcast needed a place to bury a bunch of cables and switch boxes. We told them if they would contribute $40,000 towards the sculpture development, they could use the end of the driving range for their project. They agreed and Murphy Creek added another sculpture thanks to Comcast.

I could go on and on, but am approaching way too many words for this article. Our goals have been met and surpassed…we have a golf course that is challenging for Professionals, as with the USGA Championship, yet still fun and playable when your 80 year old grandmother comes for a visit and wants to play a round with you! And I will end simply by sounding like a proud Dad, “I believe Murphy Creek is a great community with a wonderful and unique golf course!”

The Murphy Creek Windmill Story
Published in the February 25, 2015 Edition of MCGC Neighbors News Blast
Our Murphy Creek Windmill – An Old West Icon
As settlers moved west in the late 1800s to claim land for farming and to raise cattle in areas where water was in short supply, the Windmill became essential for survival of all.  The blades atop a tall tower would spin and rotate in the wind, moving a sucker rod in an up and down motion inside a cylinder below water level.  This up and down motion with the help of check valves, pushed water up the pipe to the surface for storage in a holding tank.  The Windmill and its water made it possible for the Old West to be settled!
Our Murphy Creek Windmill, which originally stood tall on an Oklahoma farm, is an authentic Old West windmill.  It was bought by our Developer (Rod  Alpert) through an antique dealer and was a fully functional windmill when it was lifted in to place by a crane during the early days of developing Murphy Creek and the golf course. 

It needed maintenance, painting and to be filled with oil periodically to keep the blades spinning and the mechanisms working.  There was a lack of clarity as to where that responsibility rested,  so our Windmill fell into disrepair.  To restore it, our developer had a framer from his crew  assemble and replace the rotted lumber.  A bucket lift was rented and Rod personally primed and painted the timbers.  Thank you, Rod!  At that time  it was necessary to alter the spinning of the blades.  They now simply rotate in the wind.

This summer our Windmill will again receive some careful cleaning with a wire brush or power washer to be sure the look of the rough sawn timbers is maintained. And with a coat of paint, it will again be that Old West Icon welcoming all of us home each day.
If you have information that you think needs to be preserved, please contact us with that information, so that we can review it and perhaps post it here.
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