Golf: That's The Stuff Of Legends
BallenIsles Country Club was originally conceived as the home golfing facility of the Professional Golfers Association of America. Indeed, it was designed and developed by the PGA in partnership with John D. MacArthur, began life in 1964 as the PGA National Golf Club and until 1973 was the site of the PGA Qualifying School.
The three championship golf courses at BallenIsles were designed by two of the most highly respected golf-course architects in the business, Dick Wilson and Joe Lee. Their East Course was where aspiring professional golfers qualified for the PGA Tour. Tom Watson and Bruce Fleischer are two of the better-known golfers who earned their cards and began their PGA careers at what is now BallenIsles Country Club.
The East Course has attained mythical status, however, not because of the future greats who qualified there but because of the legendary greats who competed on it. Jack Nicklaus and Julius Boros won championships there, Lee Trevino teamed with the “Golden Bear” to help the United States win a World Cup victory, and virtually every professional golfer active in the 1960s and ’70s, from Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer onward, played in tournaments held on the East Course, including the PGA Championship, the World Cup, the PGA's Senior Championship and countless other golf classics.
In 2008, the East Course underwent a $9 million renovation. The project was recognized as a finalist for Golf Course Renovation of the Year by Golf Inc. magazine.
The North Golf Course first opened for play in 1964 as a nine-hole course. Joe Lee added the back nine in 1969, and the course was extensively renovated in 1994 and in 2013. The grand reopening of the completely redesigned North Golf Course occurred on December 11, 2013. The unveiling showcased a more than $5 million redesign by golf course designer, Kipp Schulties.
The new design of the golf course is challenging and rewarding to all handicap levels, against the pristine backdrop that is BallenIsles. Winding among lakes and nature preserves, the North Golf Course is a regulation par 72 with generous fairways, but water and trees along the borders encourage golfers to play within their capabilities. It includes an executive 18-hole course that plays much shorter, answering the increasing demand for a shorter game where Members can play a full game and still be in time for other commitments.