As the University of Denver wraps up its first year calling the Highlands Ranch Golf Club home, coaches and administrators couldn’t be more pleased.
The course, named the official home of the Pioneer men’s and women’s teams Aug. 24, 2011, provides both programs with their first “official home” in school history.
A gift from the family of the late Ron Moore, with a book value of $5.2 million, the university took over full ownership and operational responsibilities of the club on Jan. 1, 2012. According to the DU website, the gift was matched dollar for dollar with funds allocated as part of the university’s ASCEND campaign in order to provide scholarship endowments for both men and women golfers at the school.
Moore, who died in April 2004 at the age of 70, golfed at the university from 1951-54, advancing to the NCAA tournament three times, while helping lead the Pioneers to two conference championships. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 1987 and the University of Denver Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
Winning his first amateur title in 1949 in Nebraska, Moore won tournaments each of the following four decades, with his last title coming in 1983.
“He always gave credit to the university and to the golf program for how his life turned out,” said current men’s coach Eric Hoos. “He got a golf scholarship and that was how he was able to afford to go to school at DU and become the man he was, and he just wanted to give back and provide that opportunity for other young men and women. The DU men’s and women’s programs would not be where they are today without the generosity of the Moore family.”
The two programs had spent years using area courses such as Green Valley Ranch to practice and play, often sharing those courses with other schools.
“The women’s team would typically go to different courses around the city,” Hoos said. “We tried not to double up on courses a lot to keep the pressure down on asking for free practice time and playing privileges, so we spread ourselves out.”
Now, not only do DU’s student-athletes not have to call ahead when they want to use the links, but the school has also been able to gain a long-sought edge in recruiting by having a place to call home.
“I definitely don’t want to belittle all of the other courses and clubs and what they have done over the years supporting the teams and letting us play and practice,” Hoos said, “but overwhelmingly, the Moore family is the reason we are still around today.”
Moore was a trustee of the university from 1986 until 2003 and had given numerous donations over the years to the programs, also allowing the girl’s team the opportunity to host an annual tournament at the course.
“We couldn’t be more thankful to the Moore family for their longtime support to see our golf programs succeed,” said Stu Halsall, DU’s assistant vice chancellor for internal operations, “I’m just amazed at their generosity.”