August 14, 2019 is a day I won’t soon forget. I knew that it was going to be a significant day, but didn’t realize how monumental of a day it would become.
This was my first time visiting BCN, even with living some 30 minutes from the property. I had looked forward to this day for a long time ever since first hearing about the golf course back in January.
On the drive from my house on the humid, summer morning, so many thoughts were going through my head: What does the property really look like? Will it look the same as it does in pictures and videos? Will it live up to the high expectations that I have in my head?
To answer that last question, it shattered my expectations. It’s advertised really well on social media and The Refuge, and it definitely delivered.
I pulled up in the driveway, almost running into the porch due to gawking at how awesome the course looked. I stepped out of my car and Ben came out of the house to greet me. We had met previously while playing a round of golf a few weeks ago at Hillcrest Country Club in the city. As we chatted about the course and the day, all I could do was stand there and gaze upon the whole course. I was there, in person, about to play the inaugural round at Brough Creek National.
After chatting for a few minutes, it was time to put the final touches on the course before the round. I got out my rangefinder and we went out to laser the yardages for the day. Right as we were finishing up getting official yardages, the guest of honor, Tom Coyne, pulled into the driveway.
Tom is currently on his tour of the country doing research for his newest book “A Course Called America” and coordinated with Ben to come out to BCN during his couple of days in Kansas City.
He pulled into the driveway. Ben and I went up to his vehicle to greet him. I had played golf with him the day before at Swope Memorial Golf Course (a must play if you are ever in Kansas City) and had a great time. Ben and Tom introduced themselves to each other, then I greeted Tom and welcomed him to BCN. Tom was pretty much just in awe at the property for a few minutes while he was getting his clubs and shoes ready. He thought it was the coolest thing that a few guys had actually built a short course in a backyard. After a little bit of chit chat and Tom going live on Instagram, it was time to head to the first tee.
Hole #1 is a 65 yard downhill hole through a chute of trees and over a creek. Room right to kick your ball off of the slope and feed to the pin. No room left or short to miss. We got up to the first tee and Tom insisted that Ben hit the first official tee shot at BCN. With the cameras rolling, Ben proceeded to hit the first tee shot into the creek. I can only imagine that he was feeling somewhat nervy on that first tee, knowing the audience that was watching through Tom’s Instagram stories and actually having Tom there. Quickly after he hit the first shot I asked, “Are there breakfast balls at Brough Creek National?” We all got a chuckle and quickly agreed on the mulligan. He got up and hit his next one on the green. I got up second, smoothed a wedge on the green. Tom followed right after with a wedge pin high left on the green about 15 feet away, which he would proceed to make and card the first official birdie on the course.
The next six holes were some of the most fun I have ever had on a golf course anywhere. We all chatted about golf, the course, and how cool it was that we were playing the inaugural round. I tended to hang back and walk ahead, not partaking in conversation, to get some photos of the special morning. Tom couldn’t say enough good things about what the BCN team had done with the course. He was constantly going live on his Instagram and taking numerous videos to post later in the day. He was soaking in the full BCN experience.
As we finished up the final hole, which I doubled (s/o to Icarito himself), we took our caps off and shook hands saying some final words about the morning. The scorecard was signed, Tom had set the course record, the first official round of golf at BCN was complete.
After the round, Tom asked Ben to walk him around the course to record an episode of a podcast that shall go unnamed. Microphones in hand, they set out to the course. Ben gave a hole by hole description to Tom as they walked. Tom asked questions about the course, the process, and the future of BCN in between hole descriptions. I walked with them, snapping photos as they made their way around the property. At one point in the interview, Tom likened BCN as the golf version of the Field of Dreams. I couldn’t agree with him more.
The podcast taping wrapped up and we all congregated around Tom’s vehicle, chit chatting about his travels and where he was headed next. He gave some final thoughts on the day, praising the work of BCN team. He was hopeful for what the future holds and what the place has the potential to become. He packed his car, we shook hands one more time, said our goodbyes, and he was on his way to the next destination on his tour of the country. I stuck around for another 45 minutes or so playing H-O-R-S-E with Ben, picking shots from different places on the property to hit from. Ben won. Home course advantage is a real thing. After our game, all I could do was thank Ben for having me out for the inaugural round and talking up BCN. I said my goodbyes and headed back to reality after a fun morning of golf and comradere.
As I was driving home (and even now as I write this) I can’t help but think of how much fun that I had playing a 7 hole short course in the Missouri Bluffs of Kansas City, KS. It was a beautiful morning with great people, playing golf at an awesome place. I had high expectations going into the day, and those expectations were shattered. I knew it was going to be good, but didn’t realize just how good. This was a huge moment in the early history of BCN, and the beginning of something special.