Kearney Hill Golf Links – Kentucky, USA

The Kearney Hill Golf Links were recommended to us by a number of people so we went and played it this morning. It is another Pete Dye designed course and is owned by the State of Kentucky. We got out there in time to see the sun rise over the course – it was a lovely morning. Again the Starter was so friendly and made us feel very welcome. Bud, the guy in the Pro Shop was also super friendly and gave us a book on Pete Dye designed golf courses. He said “you came all the way from NZ to play our course so we want to give you something – thanks so much for coming on out”

The course was great and featured lots of natural bush and water hazards. We had an encounter with one of the green keeping staff after my drive went straight where I aimed it instead of the little fade that I have become used to. The ball bounced not far from where he was working so when I got up there he told me it had gone into the rough and I probably wouldn’t find it. He then recognised that we weren’t from around these parts and when we told him we were from NZ he said “I ain’t met nobody from NZ before. I went to Washington in the winter and I met someone from England, that’s the furtherest away person I’ve ever met”. It really was his lucky day : )

After failing to find my ball in the rough I emerged with all these biddy bids on my skirt – I didn’t realise until I sat in the cart – my poor white tuss (as Sonya from the hotel called it). It took a few holes to get rid of those them there biddy bids.

Speaking of Sonya, Steve bought her a bottle of NZ wine the other night. She was serving someone else when he went down and she tells them, ignore him, he’s trouble. Didn’t take her long to work him out did it! Anyway she was so happy with the bottle of wine, he got a big hug – she’s saving it to drink on her 40th birthday and 8th wedding anniversary which happens to be this coming Tuesday. Apparently she is going to email Steve on Tuesday to let him know how she enjoyed the wine.

I had an exceptional front nine and was only three over. Just quietly I had also beaten Steve off the stick by one shot. Unfortunately the back nine was a different story and although I hit it well a few silly mistakes ensured I did not score well. Steve meanwhile came into his own and turned the tables on me : (














History of Kearney Hill Golf Links…
The Lexington Division of Parks & Recreation, which already operated three municipal courses and was heavily involved with the administration of the up-and-coming Senior PGA Tour event being held at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort, proposed an idea to construct an upscale, municipal facility to meet the needs of both the community and the region. This facility would be designed to attract players from all over the region and to attract future championships to the Lexington area as well.

Local officials retained the help of a well-known amateur player with national recognition who had lived in Lexington for many years, Johnny Owens. Owens, who played at the University of Kentucky and had competed in every major national amateur championship both in the U.S. and Europe, agreed to come on board to help make this facility a reality. Owens first developed a feasibility study and then contacted Pete Dye. Dye, along with his son P.B., accepted the challenge of designing a municipal course that would be playable by the local golfer and at the same time capable of hosting national championships.

Construction began in 1987 and the course opened on Oct. 13, 1989. The design was unique in many ways. First, Pete Dye had not done many municipal courses and his son was just beginning his design career. A rolling piece of 200 acres of land was found in northern Fayette County. The land was wide open, contained only a handful of trees, an old cemetery and no water. The design would feature very large greens, wide fairways and a lack of trees which would make the course friendlier for the average municipal golfers yet challenge the best players. These characteristics defined the classic links-style course.

Since it opened, Kearney Hill Golf Links has gone beyond fulfilling the expectations of everyone involved. It has hosted many national and local championships, has been enjoyed by golfers of all skill levels and has been recognized as one of the best by publications such as Golf Digest, Golf World, Links Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.


This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
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