There is much to admire about both Ballyneal and Dismal River. I cannot and will not favor one over the other. I want them both to succeed, but I do have concerns. I am concerned that Ballyneal may suffer by its refusal to allow golf carts. (It gets hot there in the summer, and golfers need shade and breeze, both of which could be provided by carts.)
I am concerned that both clubs could suffer because of their remote locations. Ballyneal, within driving distance of Denver, is far better situated in that regard, but therein has a lot stiffer competition for members. The folks at Dismal River don't feel they're in competition with Sand Hills, because the latter's membership is reportedly full.
I'm not keen on the idea of Dismal members someday parking their Gulfstreams right at the front door. Part of the experience of a golfing retreat is the gradual decompression from airport to first tee, in the case of Sand Hills, that one hour drive through desolate sand dunes from North Platte. If Dismal River members can jet in, play a quick 18 and jet out again, a crucial element of the experience will have evaporated. Jack "got it" with his design. I hope Dismal River's owners "get it" in their operation. Keep the carts, but lose the runway.
I really disliked the Butler Cabin ceremony at Augusta. I always felt that the best thing to do would be to go right to the public presentation of the green jacket, with emotions still at a fever pitch and all the people and a national TV audience there to see it. To go inside the flower-infested catacombs of the Butler Cabin and watch the club chairmen perform the ceremony they were helpless — really let the air out of the balloon. One year Hord Hardin asked Bernhard Langer how he pronounced his name. Another year he asked Seve how tall he was. I would watch this with my face in my hands, but the club wouldn't have it any other way. Oh, well. FRANK CHIRKINIAN