Exclusive: New 18 at Ballyneal Golf Club
Ballyneal Golf Club, ranked 95th on Golf Digest's latest list of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses, announced on April 12 that construction will begin this summer on a second 18 at the northeast Colorado private club. Bruce Hepner will design and build the new course.
Until last June, Hepner had been vice-president and senior design associate of Tom Doak's design firm, Renaissance Golf Design, and in that capacity had assisted Doak in the design and construction of the original 18 at Ballyneal, which opened in 2006 (pictured below).
Ballyneal Golf Club is ranked 95th on Golf Digest's latest list of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses.
Like the original, Ballyneal's second 18 will be a lay-of-the-land layout among rustic Great Plains sand hills. But Hepner says his will be less rugged.
"We had to melt down several dunes to make it [the original course] golfable. Otherwise, we would have ended up with a hundred blind shots," Hepner says. "But the site for the new 18 is on softer terrain, more upland and more exposed to the wind. So it should offer a little different playing experience."
Hepner adds the second 18 will be accessible for carts (although carts will be limited) and the turf, while primarily fescue, may involve some bent grasses in the mix. The original Ballyneal is fescue throughout, including the putting surfaces.
Hepner formed his own company, Hepner Golf Design, in June, 2010. He is currently working with Doak on a contract basis in the construction of one 18 at Streamsong Resort, south of Lakeland, Florida. Besides Ballyneal, Hepner will also be rebuilding the bunkers at Rhode Island Country Club this summer.
-- Ron Whitten