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Ballyneal Golf and Hunt Club

Holyoke, United States
5.0
Fabulous
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Details

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Holes

18

Par

71

Architect

Tom Doak

Built

2006

Type

Open Country, Inland

Tom Doak designed the layout for the private Ballyneal Golf Club in northeastern Colorado. The trek down more than ten miles of unpaved roads is well worth it for those who get the chance to play this quick-paced links course. Be prepared to dive right in, since no driving range is available. The fairways follow the ups and downs of the land, now broader, now narrower, smooth at one moment and sculpted the next, making for great variety among and within the holes, and they meld seamlessly into the greens, enabling the roll-ups characteristic of links play. A good game will be had by those equipped to handle the dips and humps throughout the course. The site is home to abundant wildlife, from ducks and geese to coyotes and deer, so this is perhaps the only top-notch links course where one can hunt in the morning and golf in the afternoon.

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Todd moon profile picture
Todd Moon
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from Flag of the country
12 Hcp 51 courses played
Fabulous
I had the great opportunity to play Ballyneal in early September, I sent the club a brief email describing myself and why I wanted to play Ballyneal back in March and received a quick reply within a day asking me to check back in August. So August arrived I checked back in and was awarded a twosome. It was a 3.5 hour dive to Ballyneal from Denver. The last 10 miles as your nearing the course is a dirt road. It quickly added to my excitement knowing it was such a remote area of the US. As you arrive onto the property you see a small sign welcoming you to Ballyneal. The sign fits the property well and probably doesn't distract the farmers as the drive by on their equipment. Once I arrived I was greeted and shown around. Credit cards are accepted on the property as I paid my greens fee which allows you to golf as many holes until dark. Ballyneal has an average driving range (just not very big) with no short area I could find. However the practice putting green was worth it all. The green is in the center of the 'village'. Perfect location on the property and reminded me of the Punchbowl at Bandon Dunes. The facilities are grand but also fit naturally with the lay of the property. They have what seems like hotel style rooms below the restaurant and also a couple cottages on property. I played as a single and was paired with a great senior caddy that has worked at Ballyneal for years. She was fantastic and has lived in the area for what she said as 'forever'. Side note I know I've read where some people has gotten below average caddies at Ballyneal but mine was great. I saw a lot of young caddies and they all where double bagging so I can bet I received a lot more personal touch as a single. There are no yardage markers on the course, which makes it difficult as a guest, so bring some kind of yardage calculator if you go out for your second round with no caddie. Tom Doak is a genius as he designed a course that fits the land and area perfectly. Wide fairways are generous but if you miss you will be penalized. Greens are firm and rarely show ball marks. Bunkers are some of the best I've played they look like they have been there for years and created by the wind itself. Another fun point there are no set tees. You play the tee box you want to play. Members play that the winner of the last hole gets to choose the next hole's tee box. Lastly, I want to mention there is no OB everything is in play. I would be an idiot not to mention the really difficult greens Doak created. To protect each hole he created large greens that roll true but provides a great challenge to a new visitor like myself. Many times I found myself 3-4 putting due to the drastic green complexes and the different tiers throughout each green. I noticed after the round that the back nine is much harder than the front. The front for me was more picturesque than the back with more elevated tees and better looks at the entire property. I never saw or ran into another group the entire round. After the round I ate lunch in the restaurant that overlooks the practice green and first hole. Food was great and priced right. They have a full bar and the staff provided fantastic service. My second round I quickly realized it was a much harder walk than my first trip with a caddie. The temperature was into the low 90's with not much wind at all. So I ended with 9 more holes and decided to play the new par three course. The par 3 named The Mulligan course, is very hard to track where the next tee box is, so they made a map on the back of the score card to help guide you. The course has 12 holes in which most are elevated tee boxes hitting down to the greens. The course is weaved between the regular holes on the front 9. Also it doesn't start at the clubhouse you have to play hole one on the main course to get to the par 3 course. There is only two or so holes that are over 150 yards but was a lot of fun. I can imagine a lot of money being lost or won on this short par 3 course I really enjoyed the opportunity to play Ballyneal. Doak designed a fantastic track that's playable, scenic, and natural. Don't pass up any chance to play Ballyneal.
23 November 2017

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