Ballyneal Golf Club

Ballyneal Golf Club is located in Holyoke, Colorado and proved to be a great stop on my most recent #FoodTravelGolf quest. When my travel schedule allows, I enjoy getting the travel destination ahead of my team to do a bit of exploring. I was excited when I was able to arrange getting to Denver ahead of the schedule and do just that. While I have been to Denver several times, most of the visits were spent in a conference setting with limited free time. I am sure a lot of you can relate.

For years, I have used Open Table to research and book my dining options. After searching for locations near the hotel air port I was staying at, I came across The Table Top. They are new to Open Table and do not have any reviews. Red flag usually – right? But, something about their menu drew me to their location. The minute I walked through the door I knew I was in the right place for me this Sunday evening. I love open and bright dining spaces and Table Top fit the bill. You can see in the kitchen and it even had a fireplace. I pulled up to the bar and made quick friends with the knowledgeable bartender and even had a chance to meet Executive Chef, Brady Marcotte.

If you have seen any of my social media posts then you know I like food. I mean I really like food and love to taste as many things as I can when trying a new place. But, it’s hard to do when dining alone. I was thrilled to see the selection of small plates and appetizer items. Don’t let the food pics fool you – each dish tasted even better than it looks!

My team arrived bright and early the next morning and we began our drive from Denver to Holyoke. The speed limit was actually – 75! Wow, that makes a difference when you drive for a few hours. After a few hours driving across Colorado and a few winding dirt roads, we arrived in the Colorado golf Mecca! Someone must have told them we were coming because my first greeting came from “Bunker” the course kitty. Bunker seemed to be a foreboding term that day for me. More to come on that later.

After getting settled in, we set out to the business at hand – playing a round at Ballyneal. This course is simply amazing – rolling links style play and fierce winds. I could have done without the winds, but after about 12 holes I got the hang of it! I was told the greens were rolling at about an 11 – all I knew is my ball didn’t want to roll in the hole.Tee.toTable.-ballyneal-course

I had a great time playing with the visionary behind the course and hearing his story of the family land and development of this exceptional course. Hole after hole, wind gust after wind gust, I enjoyed each shot, each bunker hit. Did I tell you I ended up hitting an average of a bunker per hole? The wind was challenging for ball control that day, but I became REALLY good at my bunker play. My playing partner even coined the term for the bunkers – “You’ve been Alfredo’ed.” I do like to leave my mark where I go.

As I stated, I really figured out the wind late in the round, but it didn’t put a damper on my spirits or enjoyment of the course. I even had time to take a #CaddieSelfie and soaked in his extensive knowledge of the course as well.

Have I mentioned how convenient it is to stay in the lodge or cottage at golf courses that include those types of offerings? As a frequent traveller and golfer too, nothing can compare to just walking or taking a golf cart to your room versus loading into the car and driving to your hotel. As hungry and “thirsty” as I was from playing all day, I got ready in a record 21 minutes. Bring on the Moscow Mules and Filet – I earned it with the 7 mile walk from earlier that day.

Before leaving town the next day, my team and I were able to get a quick chat with local legendary chef and restaurant owner Frank Bonanno, Bonanno Concepts and a veteran of Guys Grocery Games. Wow, what a talent! After our meeting, we had a great lunch at his luncheon hot spot, Bones, you guessed it – small plates and apps – Shishito Peppers with Cojita cheese, Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Seaweed Salad.

My last stop was the airport and I was able to find a quick fix of Oktoberfest style beer and a kale salad. My flight was even on time! Before I knew it I was back to my home airport and driving home with great memories and a full belly! Wow, I packed a bunch into less than 48 hours!

Until next time.

Don’t forget to explore #FOOD #TRAVEL AND #GOLF.

From the TEE box to the TABLE,

Cheers.