Ballyneal Golf Course Review, Background, Info and Experience
Ballyneal was founded by the O'Neal brothers who purchased 700 acres of farmland to augment their family hunting club. They hired famed course designer Tom Doak in 2002 to begin to conceptualize the course routing. The course was opened in 2006 and it quickly earned many accolades including Golf Digest top 100 courses in US and world.
Located outside of Holyoak, Ballyneal is the Field of Dreams of golf hidden deep in Eastern Colorado farmland.
Ballyneal is a small private club with modern lodging and dinning facilities. There are two courses on the property including an 18 hole championship course and a par 3, and a expansive putting green. Growing membership had led to a recent addition of several really nice new cottages that are great for group or family with four separate bedrooms, a common living area and porch. The dinning facility includes a bar, indoor and outdoor general seating and a private dinning room. The menu has plenty of tasty options with a satisfying wine list.
The course plays as described "a true inland links course" with fescue, tight lies, penalizing bunkers, and constant wind. Doak designed interesting routing that blends well with the hilly landscape and provides a variety of different hole layouts.
While in general the course is forgiving it is also equally challenging. To score low you need to stay in the fairways and control approaches into greens to eliminate long, downhill or heavily undulated putting paths or tight lie chips. The second and third cut will often leave you tough lies with ball nestled between grass or sand clumps. The surrounding natural sandy landscape is never flat and has a variety of desert vegetation that will force you to make tough decisions on how to advance your shot (often better taking your medicine and just getting the ball back to the short grass). There are many risk reward paths with drivable par 4s that add some juice to a group competition or betting match.
The course is a walking course that over multiple rounds, especially 36 hole days, will tire your legs. Caddies are available and are recommended for your initial round to better understand the routing, blind shots, approach angles and putting reads.
Lastly what adds to the overall experience at Bally is the membership laid back club code. A clock never seems present and the escape from civilization mixed with the never ending skyline, farmland views and an expansive course layout provides plenty of time to relax the mind and bond with friends. There are multiple tee boxes with no tee markers so you chose your path and a different path every round. Yes, the course doesn't have an official tees so there is no slope rating encouraging you to go out and just have fun since scores aren't recorded for handicaps.
WYLD1 strongly encourages you to take the remote trek to Eastern Colorado and give Bally a run!
GO BIG HOLES
2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 16, 18
ON THE LINKS