Inspired by the success of Sand Hills, the O’Neal brothers wanted to build a links-style course in the chop hills of far northeastern Colorado. I told them it would only succeed if it was one of the best courses in the world, and even then, it might be a struggle.
They turned me loose with the guiding principle to keep the course fun for anyone, and Ballyneal might be the most fun of all my courses to play. The club doesn’t care about posting scores; they don’t even put out tee markers, and the members’ game is that the winner of the previous hole chooses where to play from on the next. The approaches to the greens interact with the broad dunes contours around them, so that players with local knowledge will often play to Point A and let the slopes feed their ball to the flag at Point B, most memorably at the “E” green 7th.