Review: Ballymeade Country Club

Course Name: Ballymeade Country Club

Designer: Jim Fazio/Chi Chi Rodriguez (1989)

Location: East Falmouth, Massachusetts

History: Designed in 1989 by the duo of Jim Fazio and Chi Chi Rodriguez, Ballymeade closed amidst financial difficulties in 2015. In 2016, The Cape Club opened on the property as a completely new design.

Conditions: 7/10, I distinctly recall some dry, rocky patches in the fairways and teeboxes but also remember beautifully conditioned fast greens.

Value: N/A, I forgot what I paid and the course is now closed anyway.

Scorecard:

Tee                     Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Green                72           6928               74.7              140

Blue                   72           6401               71.9              135

White                72           6055               70.6              131

Red                    72           4871               70.9              127

Best Score: Did not complete the round, 7/18/2010 with Dan M.

Front 9 Best: Unknown but likely above 50, 7/18/2010 with Dan M.

Back 9 Best: Did not complete the round, 7/18/2010 with Dan M.

Hole Descriptions: Every golfer has that round; By this, I mean a round early in their career that forces them to contemplate quitting golf forever. For me, that round was at Ballymeade CC in my second year golfing. I didn’t know this at the time, but Ballymeade had a notorious reputation as one of the most challenging courses in Cape Cod with severe doglegs, elevation changes, and tight tree-lined fairways.

Almost immediately, you were put to the test on the opening hole, a sharp downhill dogleg right that played 355 yards from the Blue Tees. A set of trees prohibited players from cutting a corner and a bunker on the left edge of the dogleg forced players to control their distance. The 2nd hole was a long 183 yard par 3 well-guarded by bunkers on the left side. The 3rd was a short par 5 at 464 yards, whose tightness more than made up for its length. With dense woods lining the right side the entire way, this hole required pinpoint accuracy.  The 4th hole was apparently an infamous hole that explicitly demonstrated the target golf mantra at Ballymeade. The landing area required a carry over a pond to an extremely narrow fairway with woods long. After this hole, my memory of the course becomes fuzzy – possibly because I picked up on half the holes and possibly due to the similarity of the holes. I do remember, however, both the 9th and 18th finishing with an approach shot over a small pond.

After the round finished, Dan and I agreed to never speak of our ungodly performance on this course. Despite this, Ballymeade had a lasting impact on me as a golfer; in only my second summer playing, it encouraged me to change my extremely strong right hand grip in favor of a weaker, more consistent one. For that, I thank Ballymeade.

General Comments: From what I remember, the range, practice greens, and clubhouse were beautiful and expansive. Pace of play was also extremely quick on a gorgeous summer night.

Verdict: Ballymeade CC’s quirky, target golf design made it an unpopular choice in Cape Cod and eventually played a role in its closing. Apparently, the Cape Club is doing great under new ownership; I’d love to give the new course a try someday soon.

IMG_0037
Dan tries some shenanigans on the final hole
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