COURSE OF THE YEAR
Holyoke, Colorado (private)
Imagine the exuberance of Ballybunion, the landscape of Sand Hills and the spirit of St. Andrews and you begin to get the idea of Ballyneal. Little along this horizon of prairies in northeastern Colorado would suggest such a course could be built here, but the club’s founders knew of an area called the Chop Hills where heaving yucca-and-sagebrush-drenched sand dunes seemed to cry out for exotic golf holes. The setting alone would qualify Ballyneal as one of the country’s most distinctive courses. But Tom Doak imbued enough "rub of the green" into the design to make it one of the most unpredictable as well. There are no carts, no yardage markers and no formal tees: On each hole, you simply choose from various mown areas and tee it up.
ARCHITECT: Tom Doak. YARDAGE: 7,147. PAR: 71. MEMBERSHIP INQUIRIES: 970-854-5900, ballyneal.com.