Shag Bag – Bluebook 2007
Meadow Club Professional Develops Colorado Course
Growing up in a remote area on the high plains of Colorado, 175 miles northeast of Denver, brothers Rupert and Jim O’Neal could only imagine playing golf on the celebrated British Open links courses. Unrecognized at the time, what they actually imagined turned out to be a stark similarity to their native landscape.
Years later, the two siblings transformed their fantasy into reality by developing their own links course to rival any of its royal and ancient counterparts. The O’Neals acquired more than 8,000 acres of undeveloped land covered with yucca-and sage-studded sand dunes (some rising as high as 100 feet), close to where they were raised, and Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club was created.
“Ballyneal is the real deal,” Jim said. “We just don’t have an ocean or trees. It’s all sand dunes.”
Jim knows quality courses. He’s been a golf professional for 15 years, including stints at The Olympic Club, Palo Alto Hills GCC and head golf professional the last 3 ½ years at the Meadow Club in Marin County.
With the goal to establish a top-50 golf experience, the O’Neals hired one of the best “minimalist” course architects, Tom Doak, to shape what might be described as a private version of his Pacific Dunes design in Oregon. With the course using only 240 acres, the remaining land can be used for hunting pheasants and other resident wild game.
Ballyneal, which opened June 22, 2006, now has approximately 65 members (maximum 250). Memberships, currently at $50,000, include use of an on-site lodge with nine bedrooms. Three more cottages are being built. Eric Peterson, formerly of Lahontan (Truckee), is the head pro and Rupert is responsible for golf operations.
Ballyneal (bally is Irish for “home of”) has finally become the O’Neals’ field of dreams that will forever link their bond and favorite pastimes.
- By Robert Kaufman
Tiger Woods to Design Golf Courses
As Tiger Woods entered his 30s, it was only a matter of time before the world’s number one golfer threw his hat into the golf architecture ring. It turns out, that time is now.
The winner of 12 majors announced the formation of Tiger Woods Design in November, and is already looking at potential sites to build his first course.
“I’ve had the luxury of playing golf around the world, and I’ve spent a lot of time evaluating how to play all kinds of courses,” Woods told Mark Soltau, editor of TigerWoods.com. “I’d like to share my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned and hopefully create some amazing, fun courses.”
Woods joins a long line of golfers-turned architects including Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Weiskopf, Greg Norman and Johnny Miller. With the Old Course at St. Andrews as his favorite course, it can be expected that the winner of two British Opens at the home of golf will bring some of the same design elements from St. Andrews to whatever he creates.
Golf and Romance – A Digital Connection
Golf networking websites make it easier than ever to link up. Matching golf’s social interaction with the Internet’s ease of connecting people has produced several websites to assist golfers in finding a perfect match.
One site, golfmates.com, states as a philosophy that “Golf is a perfect first date…It’s a sport that men and women can enjoy playing together. The sport provides an instantaneous icebreaker ¾ a common interest that two people can discuss.” While the site is free for visitors to post a profile and to search potential dates, there is a charge to send messages to other users. The site appears to work ¾ three marriages are a direct result since golfmates’ inception.
Other websites, including golfspace.com (a golf version of the popular myspace.com), golfbuzz.com, dateagolfer.com, findlocalgolfers.com and singlesgolf.com can all assist the forlorn golfer. Most sites will allow the user to include a photo and basic profile. Golfspace.com and golfbuzz.com have gone one step farther in including blogs on anything golf-related from the PGA Tour to apparel. The networking built into these sites goes beyond dating to serve as a forum for golfers to share their passion for the game with others.
Singlesgolf.com is the website for the American Singles Golf Association, an organization with chapters nationwide (including Sacramento) whose stated purpose is “getting single golfers together on and off the course.” The individual chapter websites serve as a portal for golf and social meetings. The ASGA has bridged the gap from serving as an electronic meeting place, to actually setting up events bringing golfers together.
Bob Niger leads the 2007 points race after winning the prestigious Stocker Cup at The Preserve…..Free club fittings at Poppy Ridge and Poppy Hills….Five Rules of Golf seminars will be held at four locations this year…NCGA Director of Education Gail Rogers led the second women’s golf summit at Poppy Hills