1968 – Golf academy precedes Eagle-Vail Golf Course
One of the partners in that venture at the height of his career was Arnold Palmer. It was called the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy at Vail.
How did it happen? During the summer of 1967 on the terrace of Lupe and John Murchison’s Vail home, the conversation turned to golf and its future in Vail. Vail, at the time, had only a nine-hole course. Skiing dominated the time and minds of Vail’s management, almost on a 12-month basis. Very little thought was given to summer marketing or planning. There was handwringing on how to attract people in the summer.
John Murchison and a friend from Dallas, Alan Humphrey, and I were discussing what to do about it. Humphrey suggested a golf camp for boys. It would, if successful, bring the parents, too. Although Vail had only a nine-hole course, Murchison and I took the idea and ran with it – we became partners. Once again, John Murchison played an important role in the development of Vail.
I was given the assignment to put it together. I knew Mark MacCormack, Arnold Palmer’s agent and head of International Management Inc. in Cleveland. We were friends from the Cleveland Country Club. Contacts were made, and both McCormack and Palmer liked the idea. Frank Abramoff, president of Arnold Palmer Enterprises in New York, was assigned to work with me.
Like the beginning of Vail, the next step was to find a location. We went to Jack Oleson, one of the original members of the Vail Corporation, who owned almost all of the valley that is now Eagle-Vail. Oleson put in 25 acres and became a partner. A training center with watered fairways and a clubhouse was designed and built on that land, and the project soon became a reality.
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 58th installment, an excerpt from chapter 8, “The History of Golf in Vail.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.