In terms of land area, Montana is a big state—one of the biggest in the country. And everything in this big state is big too. The sky is big, the mountains are big, the wide open spaces are big.
And while this big state has only half a million people, the state has some pretty big time golf courses. Of the state’s close to 100 tracks, there are many that incorporate that big Montana feel into the their layout, which makes for some beautiful, and natural, golf courses.
If you haven’t made it to big sky country yet for an outstanding round of golf, here are five Montana courses you need to play.
Best Public Course: Wilderness Club in Eureka
With lush, green fairways, and tall, stately pines, Wilderness Club, in Eureka, Montana is the premier golf course in the state and a top 100 track in the country. This Nick Faldo-designed course features picturesque views of mountain ranges and tranquil vistas of the numerous lakes and streams that populate it.
The 1st hole moves slightly from right to left and leads uphill to an immaculate green guarded by deep, mounded bunkers. On the 2nd, desolate areas stand to the left and right of the fairway and require deft shot making capabilities to remain safe.
On the back nine things begin with the short par 4 10th hole which boasts a narrow landing area and a green guarded on the front by water. 18 is a great finishing hole with a lake running the length of the narrow fairway to a green that tilts decidedly toward the water.
Wilderness Club measures just over 7200 yards from the blacks and is a regulation par 72.
During the week you can typically play Faldo’s masterpiece for around $85, although discounted rates are a possibility and can bring the price down as low as $55 for 18 holes walking. On the weekend, the price rises considerably and can be as high as $135.
Best Private Course: Rock Creek Cattle Company Golf Course in Deer Lodge
Considered by some to be the top course in Montana, Rock Creek Cattle Company Golf Course is a sound choice as the top private course in the state. This Tom Doak-designed course is simply magnificent, featuring breathtaking views of mountain ranges and expertly incorporating the natural Montana habitat into the layout. The course is noted for its natural layout and brightly colored foliage that changes with the seasons.
The 1st hole is a mid range par 4 that moves slightly to the right and showcases winding, narrow fairway. Small trees and brush dot the edges of the hole and a hill to the left gives the impression that everything tilts to the right.
On the back nine, the 12th hole par 3 is surrounded by natural, untamed grasses and features a green protected by an army of bunkers. The round finishes with a super long par 5 and boasts a meandering creek that serves as both a guide and a hazard.
Rock Creek Cattle is plenty deep too, measuring around 7500 yards from the tips and is a par 71.
While it would be great if we could all play a round at this unrivaled course, it is private, and only open to members and their guests.
Most Scenic Course: Old Works Golf Course in Anaconda
The black bunkers, tall grasses, crystal blue waters, and mountain views of Old Works Golf Course conspire to make this beautiful track the most scenic in the state. Located in Anaconda, Montana, Old Works uses the rough, rocky terrain of the area in the layout of the course to great effect. This Jack Nicklaus-designed course is simply spectacular.
The front nine kicks off with a par 4 that ends with a small green tucked in neatly to the left. On the back, water traverses the par 4 10th and requires accuracy lest your approach to the green end up wet.
Play moves away from a foreboding ridge toward a massive green on 18 and makes for a majestic finishing hole.
Old Works is ultra deep, measuring over 7700 yards form the tips and is a regulation par 72.
The best part, though about this tremendous track is that you don’t have to get a second mortgage on your house to be able to play it. Early and late in the season, you can play 18 holes walking for $59 during the day and even $49 if you are willing to play toward the evening hours. If you want to get a round in during the peak season things are a bit more expensive and will cost $89 for a regular round and $79 for twilight.
Most Challenging Course: Northern Pines Golf Course in Kalispell
While there are many demanding courses in the state, Northern Pines is definitely one of the more challenging. This striking golf course features cross cut fairways, that, while wide and sprawling, in reality have a fairly narrow first cut. Throughout, mounds, strategically placed bunkers, and unexpected water hazards add to the difficulty of Northern Pines.
The course has a decidedly links type feel and the fairways roll and sway as the round progresses. From the tips, Northern Pines measures over 7000 yards and is a regulation par 72.
A round at this incredible course isn’t too expensive, peaking at $72 during the peak season.
Best Deal: Whitefish Lake Golf Club in Whitefish
Built along the shores of Lost Coon Lake and boasting stunning views of Big Mountain, Whitefish Lake Golf Club is a top tier course you can play on a budget. The course features tight, tree-lined fairways and small, meticulously manicured greens. The course features an edgy layout and makes for a wonderful round of golf.
Whitefish Lake Golf Club measures isn’t all that long, measuring around 6500 yards and is a par 71.
The best price you can get at Whitefish Lake is the twilight rate which runs a very reasonable $40 for 18 walking.
While it isn’t traditionally thought of as a golfer’s paradise, Montana really does have some amazing golf courses and enough variety to keep golfers of every level satisfied. If you haven’t checked out the Big Sky country’s best courses yet, you really should. Happy golfing.
Did we miss a course? Share your Montana golf experience in the comments section below.