Ballyhack Golf Club is one of those places that you visit and you either don’t want to leave or you are already planning your next trip back.
From a golfer’s perspective, Ballyhack is paradise.
Imagine going to a beautiful, challenging course and having free reign for the day coupled with a great staff and excellent food -- Well, welcome to Ballyhack my friends!
It is all that and more.
In fact, you do not have to even leave the course by staying in one of their beautifully appointed cottages.
I visited Ballyhack for the first time in 2012 and found myself eager to sign up as a National member upon returning home.
The first time playing the course you may even feel a bit “ballyhacked,” but it makes you want to come back for more.
My list of favorites about Ballyhack:
- When playing you feel like you own the course. Typically, you will only see a handful of golfers while playing your round and in the clubhouse.
- The clubhouse fits right in with the mountains that line the course with a clubhouse meets ski resort feel.
- All of the staff is excellently trained and pays close attention to detail from the pro shop to the club house.
- Membership packages are affordable even for a national member who may only be able to get there once a year. Believe me – it’s worth it!
- Keep your eyes open when you are there you might see a famous face or two.
I recently caught up with Jonathan R. Ireland, Director of Operations, Ballyhack Golf Club, and gave me some insight into the history of Ballyhack, as well as the future.
Here’s what Jonathan had to say about Ballyhack:
History of Ballyhack – design through today
Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Southwest, Virginia, Ballyhack was first discovered years before plans were set in motion to develop this unique club. Lester George, renowned golf course architect, found the spectacular piece of land where Ballyhack now sits while searching for potential golf course properties with an unrelated group. Nothing materialized at the time, and Mr. George moved on with other projects.
Years later, at the showing of an auto enthusiast’s private collection, Mr. George met a gentleman claiming to own what he felt was the best property in Roanoke on which to build a golf course. It turned out to be the very same site.
Mr. George then showed the property to Bill Kubly, CEO of Landscapes Unlimited, one of the largest and highly-reputed golf development companies in the world, and who had been part of developing a number of national clubs by then. He also introduced Balzer & Associates, one of Virginia’s premier architectural and land-planning firms, as well as amateur golf great Vinny Giles and Virginia Tech Head Football Coach Frank Beamer, to help round out an outstanding development team.
Golf course construction began in late 2007, and the intent at Ballyhack was to create not only a world-class golf course, but a truly special experience. Mr. George showcased the property’s bold contours in a European highlands course design, and very little earth was moved, preserving the natural feel of the property. And though Ballyhack is a world-class championship course in every respect, it was also designed with a minimum of five tee boxes on each hole to ensure golfers of all abilities will enjoy it. The course opened in June 2009 and is maintained in such a way that it plays firm and fast, and the course proves to give a host of different challenges and scoring opportunities every time you play.
As a national club, well-appointed guest cottages have been developed to provide overnight accommodations for our members and guests, and Ballyhack’s magnificent clubhouse further provides a true haven to enjoy camaraderie and delicious food after a day on the links. In addition to a great golf course, already ranked by golf Digest as #7 best course in Virginia, and superb amenities, Ballyhack’s staff prides itself on truly exceptional service. There are many great clubs across the country, but Ballyhack combines all of its extraordinary qualities into a golfing experience like no other.
Focus moving forward
Even in her infancy, Ballyhack has been met with resounding praise and accolades from those within the golf community, receiving rankings among the “best new private” courses in the country byGolf Magazine, and a Golf Digest ranking of 7th best in Virginia, a state filled with historic and world-renowned golf courses.
At our young age, we are focusing on continually finding new and unique ways to service our members and guests as well as spreading the awareness within the golf community about what a gem Ballyhack is. As our membership continues to grow, the number of guest cottages will be expanded, and as with any great golf course, we look for ways to fine-tune the playing characteristics.
Our members and guests continually comment on what a special place Ballyhack is, so we provide a host of club events throughout the season and an atmosphere that encourages our members to return often and to want to share Ballyhack with their friends.
How membership works
Ballyhack is located among the mountains of southwest Virginia, but our members come from all over the country.
We are only a few hours from major metropolitan areas such as Washington D.C., Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte, (and an easy flight from the Detroit metro area) and whether by automobile or air travel, getting to Ballyhack is very easy.
The club’s membership is by invitation and will ultimately be comprised of approximately 400 members. Currently, the cost of being a member at Ballyhack is one of the best values in golf. We currently have memberships available, along with some terrific programs to help people join the “Ballyhack Family."