Very interesting course. No flat holes, which is a positive. Winds up and down through the hills over a big piece of beautiful property. Several severely sloped greens with multi-tiers. A forecaddie is essential the first time you play it, because it’s rare that you need to aim at your final destination, whether from the tee or on approach shots. Several blind “over the hill” tee shots. We played it in 20-30 mph winds which made the challenge even harder, since some of the greens are totally exposed to the winds.
There are some lines off some tees that you wouldn’t think to take without a forecaddie’s advice. #8 particularly comes to mind. Depending on the tees played, how far you carry the ball, and potential tailwinds (which we had), you can drive it over the hill down the right side and get close to the green, if not on it. There are some options for creativity throughout the course, which is great.
My biggest knock on it would be that they don’t appear to take walkers into consideration at all, likely because so few people would even think to walk it. But I did, and carried. Tough walk for sure, but doable. A number of very steep descents or climbs, and some long green to tee distances. The forecaddie said virtually no one walks it (and they take Golfboards themselves). I don’t mind that it’s a tough walk, but it’d be nice if they’d even mow down the grass so that there are some walking trails. And terraced in some steps, even dirt ones, on some of the steep walks from greens to the next tee (2 to 3 downhill, 14 to 15 uphill, 17 to 18 uphill, and others). Or from tees to fairways (off 4, 11, 13, 17, others). A few simple footbridges over creeks would help. Dormie Club in NC has done an excellent job of making walking routes, and I think Ballyhack could make a few improvements along those lines that wouldn’t be overly costly (they don’t have to be huge bridges) or expensive to maintain. Bit it’ll never be a “walker’s course” due to the hills and elevations. Walking it is only for diehards (like me)
For some the severe slopes may be a bit of a novelty, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would go back and play it again without hesitation. We stayed in the cottages there overnight and ate in the clubhouse. Both were excellent. Staff and service are excellent.
It’s a memorable and fun course that I would easily go back and play again.
Date: April 26, 2021