Brough Creek National – a backyard golf course gone viral. Established in 2015 when Ben Hotaling and Zach Brough built the first hole in their Kansas City backyard. Fast forward a few years later, they’ve gone viral on social media, are growing the backyard course and testing their backyard golf course design company.
“We did nothing with it until May of 2018 when I started blogging about designing a backyard wedge range on the property on No Laying Up’s message board called the Refuge”, Hotaling says. Followers of the project got involved and loved the concept. Over the next few months, Hotaling designed a “dream” routing for the property – released October of 2018 onto the internet. More people got interested and kept pushing along the narrative. It showed that there was serious interest in this type of unconventional golf.
“We wrote up a little member welcome letter for anyone that wanted to join so long as they do something to push the project forward – be it introduce someone to the concept, design a logo, donate a piece of equipment – anything they are good at or want to contribute. People really loved to be a part of the process, so we made it very public by creating a website and Twitter page,” Hotaling said. They decided they were going to try and crowdfund the entire project there would be no charge to become a member or play the course, but if members really loved the idea and wanted to see the course built, they could make a donation of their choosing. Golfers couldn’t get enough of the idea and the crowdsourcing raised over $20,000. “At that point, it was too late to give up, so we went forward with construction,” Hotaling said.
Brough Creek National is a 7-hole routing with 6 greens ranging from 60 yards to 140 yards in length. All the holes are designed with architectural intent, thoughtful design, minimalism/naturalism, and most importantly FUN. The concept isn’t necessarily to play the course in a classic way. The club wants to promote match play and specifically in the format of HORSE. All greens are accessible from nearly everywhere on the property. The idea is to go out with a friend or two, grab a beer, pick a hole and play to it. Best score wins the hole and picks the next one. The ultimate golfer’s playground.
“We have a lot of media types that are members at BCN,” says Hotaling, “the folks from No Laying Up and The Fried Egg are extremely supportive and members at BCN. Rob Collins (Architect of the internet famous Sweetens Cove) is a supporting member. Jon Cavalier from “Linksgems” is a big supporter as well (he does golf photography for major publications).” The best part is absolutely anyone can be a member at no cost.
Today, there are 1200 worldwide members and 550 hours of work building the course by hand and they are nearly ready to grass the property. Zach Brough, Evan Bissell, Mark Robinson, Corbin Mihelic, Matt Preuss, and Ben Hotaling founded the club.
First things are finishing construction of BCN. They hope to open in late summer/early fall this year. “We hope to use BCN as a prototype for the concept of unconventional short courses as a central meeting place for communities across the US and even the world,” said Hotaling, “Building membership and bringing people together is the most important thing you can do in this world and we feel like the BCN concept is a great jumping off point for doing just that.”
Learn more and track their progress on social media: @someguysbackyard
Backyard Golf Course Design: https://someguysbackyard.com
Become a member: https://store.someguysbackyard.com/products/ghin-handicap-service