Ballyneal Golf Club – Played June 2017
- Rankings: Golf Digest #78, Golf Magazine #40
- Location: 1 Ballyneal Lane, Holyoke, Colorado
- Year: 2006
- Architect: Tom Doak
- Course Access: Private
- Walking Rules: Walking Only, Caddies Available
Score Card Information:
- Various: 5,210 – 7,147 yards, Par 71 , Not Rated
After the fun was over in Nebraska, I hopped in the car and made my way into Colorado. I was on my way to Ballyneal! You can tell from the scorecard information above that this place is a little different. No set tees and and situated in the middle of nowhere. The experience is set to be memorable.
About 5 miles out the road goes to dirt and I had flashbacks to my Forest Dunes experience. The GPS was spot on though and I arrived at the entrance sign below.
Plenty has been written about Ballyneal and its founding by the O’Neal brothers so I won’t rehash all of that here, but the general story is simple. The course needed to be awesome based on its location. The surrounding town wouldn’t have enough people to fill the membership so the course needed to draw in folks from all over. Well with a Tom Doak course on a great piece of land the mission has been accomplished.
I got to experience the membership and staff firsthand and I was blown away. I came in on the day of The Hundred Hole Hike so the course was busy. People couldn’t have been more gracious. Truly spectacular.
Anyway, I was getting to stay in the guest accommodations seen below. Mine was the one on the top right. This is The Meadowlark and I just saw it featured in Golf Digest as one of the best places to stay in golf. I certainly enjoyed it.
So you will notice the range in yardages. At Ballyneal you pick where you want to play basically. Due to that, I won’t have any exact yardage numbers for you. The first is wide open. I chose to hit long iron off this tee.
You start to see the wonderful ground movement on in the first fairway. Get used to that. The fairway blends into the green so much that it is sometimes difficult to see the change from a long way out.
The tee shot here is to a blind landing area. I don’t remember the exact line off the tee, but there is much more room out there than it seems.
I got to see a buddy on the way to the third hole.
This is the million dollar view at Ballyneal! The super elevated tee provides for some hang time on your tee shots. The fairway is very wide as you can see.
As you get closer in for your third shot you see the elevated green with bunkers to the right. Anything short of the surface or with a lot of spin will most likely suck back down the fairway and leave you an awkward pitch shot.
A relatively flat one-shotter is presented here. The front bunker is no place to be if you want a par.
The hole bends slightly to the left with sand on both sides. A draw fits best here.
This hole really depends on the yardage. It can certainly be driveable and the slope accentuates that fact. You have so many options on club choice here. Great hole.
This uphill par five has one of the tougher tee shots. If you are committed to three shots you can lay back with a more comfortable club,
The land plays some visual tricks with the slope and makes judging distance difficult. The fairway narrows when you get to the top of the hill so an accurate drive is needed here.
The back starts with a slightly elevated tee. A good line here is just to the left of the bunker on the right.
Choose your tee and anything from wedge to long iron for this one. It is slightly uphill with more rough that we’ve seen so far on the course.
Lots of trusting on this hole as you can’t see the entire landing area or the green. Trust your caddie on the line.
You get some serious fairway mounds here and the large bunkers you’ve by now grown accustomed to. The green here is massive, but pretty flat compared to the others.
it may look like it bends to the right, but the green is actually tucked back to the left.
Great atmosphere on this hole as it feels a bit like a stadium. A big ridge is about 40 yard short of the green and if you barely carry it the down slope can give you a kick forward.
This hole really depends on the tee you’re playing. The bend is to the left and is usually a three shot hole from the tips.
It looks like the fairway is just floating out there. This is a long, tough hole that bends slightly to the right. A good drive is objective number one!
This one can be a brute, especially if you are playing in the summer heat. Drives slightly to the right will trail off that way leaving longer approach shots. The bunkers on the left are partially able to be carried, but it gets more difficult the farther left you go.
What a special experience Ballyneal was. I got it on a very warm day and was a bit beat up from the walk, but I enjoyed it all the same. It is such a unique track and makes you think from start to finish. I’d love to get it in the fall with some cooler temps. From the welcoming staff, friendly members, and beautiful scenery I highly recommend visiting! I’ve included some extra pics from me walking around the property. Enjoy!