Hepner designs new Ballyneal track


Sean Dudley

The acclaimed Ballyneal golf club in the Colorado sandhills has announced plans for a second course, to be designed by Bruce Hepner.

Hepner was the lead associate on the original Ballyneal course working under Tom Doak of  Renaissance Golf Design, but will take on the new project under his own name. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

“We expect the new course will put Ballyneal in the category of Royal Melbourne and Winged Foot with respect to the best 36-hole private clubs in the world,” said club founder Rupert O'Neal.

Heralded for its all-fescue playing surface and a firm-and-fast style that rewards creative play, the original course at Ballyneal will remain walking-only and will be uncompromised by the addition of the new course. The land for the new course sits to the southeast and south of the existing eighteen. 

“The site for the new eighteen is a quieter piece of ground, so nothing needs to be forced,” Hepner said. “My goal will be to peel away the layers and let the best golf course evolve and reveal itself. We will be seeking a similar playing surface to the existing course at Ballyneal while accommodating limited cart play on the new 18.”

Hepner formed his own company in June 2010 while continuing to do contract work for Doak, including on Renaissance’s current Streamsong project in Florida.

“In the building of Ballyneal, no one spent more time here than Bruce Hepner,” O’Neal said. “He knows our land. He's worked long hours side-by-side with our crew. He enjoys our members. He gets the Ballyneal vibe, loves that we don't have tee markers. He will deliver what our members want – an equally exceptional, equally fun complement to what we already enjoy. Bruce has great affection for this place and I know he will pour his heart and soul into the project.”

For a more detailed article on the new course at Ballyneal, see GCA issue 25, to be published in July.