Ballyneal Golf and Hunt Club featured in Sporting Classics

Golf writer John Steinbreder penned this nice article in Sporting Classics magazine about the private Colorado pheasant hunting available at this world-renowned Doak golf course that offers a true sand hills golf experience.

Rupert O’Neal, a third-generation corn farmer in Holyoke, Colorado, and co-founder of Ballyneal, recounted how he built up Ballyneal Golf and Hunt Club.

After O’Neal established the hunt club, with five members each paying $5,000 to hunt wild pheasants on his property, he started thinking about adding a golf course. Steinbreder wrote:

Actually, the idea of constructing a course in Holyoke had occurred to the O’Neal brothers years before, as they watched the British Open on television and saw the striking similarities between the stark, wind-swept links land of the British Isles and the vast, rolling terrain around their hometown. But they never acted on it, and the dream lay fallow for a couple decades.

It began to blossom, however, when Rupert started his hunting club. And he talked long and hard with brother Jim about the sort of place they would create.

“We didn’t want to build just any golf course,” O’Neal says. “We wanted something very special, something that could be regarded among the best golf courses in the country and would be comparable in terms of quality to the pheasant hunting.”

To ensure that, they hired architect Tom Doak, who is widely lauded for the deft way he blends the best of New- and Old-World in his course designs.

Doak is a modern minimalist who enhances whatever nature and the Good Lord gives him without imposing too much of himself on it. With Ballyneal, he had some extraordinary land, with its sandy soil, wild undulations and hills that rose and fell like Scottish dunes. And he made brilliant use of it, fashioning a layout so good that Travel & Leisure Golf named it Course of the Year when it opened in 2006. Equally impressed were the raters at Golfweek magazine, who ranked it 5th among all courses built in the U.S. after 1960.

To read the full story, click here for the digital edition of Sporting Classics and start reading about Ballyneal on page 92.

Ballyneal is a Colorado golf and hunt club located in Holyoke, about two and a half hours from Denver International Airport. With a golf course ranked in the top 100 in the world by Golf Magazine, golf has become the main attraction. But the confines of Ballyneal still offer exquisite Colorado pheasant hunting habitat and a fun, challenging preserve with chukar partridge hunting. Ballyneal has grown to 100 members; more information on membership can be found here.