Sports

Tee Time 2017: A Golfer’s Guide to the Flathead Valley

A breakdown of golf courses across Northwest Montana

Following the second wettest April on record, the Flathead Valley’s golf courses are greener than ever and ready for another season.

There are over 70 courses spread across the state, but arguably nowhere else has as good a selection as the Flathead Valley, which has been ranked one of the top 50 destinations in the U.S. for golf enthusiasts.

Here’s a breakdown of the local fairways and greens that make this such a popular hub for golfers.

BUFFALO HILL

Kalispell | 756-4530 | golfbuffalohill.com | 27 holes

Dating back to its creation in the 1930s, Buffalo Hill has been one of the most popular and scenic destinations for golfers in Montana. Tucked in the heart of Kalispell on a hilly area where bison once roamed, the golf course has two options: the Cameron Nine and the Championship 18. There’s also a large driving range onsite, just minutes from downtown, which is an ideal spot to iron out the kinks before hitting the course. The original nine-hole course was completed in August 1939. The course hosts the popular and competitive Labor Day Tournament, which is in its 80th year and is Sept. 2-4 this year.

CABINET VIEW

Libby | 293-7332 | golflibby.com | 18 holes

Cabinet View embodies Montana golf — fairways wrapping around trees and lakes with mountain vistas in the background and wildlife wandering throughout. The course opened in 1955. In recent years the front nine has been refashioned with new green and tee box designs, while the back nine remains a unique challenge that forces golfers, especially long-ball hitters, to adjust to the scenery.

EAGLE BEND

Bigfork | 837-7310 | eaglebendgolfclub.com | 27 holes

Few courses in the region rival this 27-hole venue near the north shores of Flathead Lake. Eagle Bend has been rated among the top 50 courses in the U.S, and it’s easy to see why. William Hull designed the original 18 holes three decades ago; the Eagle 9 was completed in 1984, followed by the Osprey 9 in 1988. The Bear 9, designed by Nicklaus Design, opened in 1995.

GLACIER VIEW

West Glacier | 888-5471 | glacierviewgolf.com | 18 holes

Neighboring Glacier National Park in West Glacier, this par-69 course provides the best surrounding views of any venue around and offers an experience the whole family can enjoy. Founded in 1969, Glacier View is threaded along the edge of the national park and sits in the heart of the Crown of the Continent. Warm up with the practice range and putting greens, and enjoy dinner afterward onsite. There are also RV hookups for those looking to make it a camping trip.

INDIAN SPRINGS RANCH

Eureka | 889-5056 | indianspringsmontana.com | 18 holes

Indian Springs Ranch has earned a reputation as a high-quality championship Scottish links-style golf course with a Western flair. Weaving through fescue grass that spreads across the historic 69 Ranch, the course is challenging, requiring golfers to strategize on every hole. Grip it and rip it won’t work out well here. Nearby RV lots are available for visitors looking for a multi-day vacation.

MEADOW LAKE

Columbia Falls | 892-2111 | meadowlakegolf.com | 18 holes

This popular resort on the edge of Columbia Falls is set against the backdrop of Glacier National Park and features an idyllic 18-hole course. Named after the original pond in the heart of the venue, Meadow Lake began as a nine-hole course built in 1976. In 1985 another nine holes were added to the scenic course, which features pine and birch trees and plenty of water hazards. This is considered one of the top public courses in the state and earned Golf Digest’s 4.5 star rating, a rare honor.

NORTHERN PINES

Kalispell | 751-1950 | northernpinesgolfclub.com | 18 holes

This 18-hole links-style course north of Kalispell has consistently ranked among the best in the state. Built in 1996 by two-time U.S. Open Champion Andy North and Roger Packard, Northern Pines boasts a unique design of rolling fairways surrounded by abundant — and treacherous — native grasses. Golf Digest named the course the seventh best venue in Montana in a 2013 “Best in State Rankings.” The front nine resembles the Scottish-style links design, while the back nine becomes more engulfed in trees, water hazards and rolling hills.

POLSON BAY

Polson | 883-8230 | polsonbaygolf.com | 27 holes

Open to the public since 1938, this venue sits on the southern shores of Flathead Lake. The 18-hole Championship course winds throughout stands of mature trees and water hazards with the mountains and lake as a backdrop. The other nine-hole “Olde Course” features classic fairways in the heart of town, offering constant views of the scenic lake.

VILLAGE GREENS

Kalispell | 752-4666 | villagegreensmontana.com | 18 holes

This 18-hole course is tucked in a residential setting with top-notch fairways and greens wrapped around water features and a beautiful mountain view in the background. It’s a good venue for golfers of all abilities and features a driving range that’s one of the favorite tune-up spots in Kalispell. Its affordability also makes it a top destination.

WHITEFISH LAKE

Whitefish | 862-5960 | golfwhitefish.com | 36 holes

One of Montana’s premier golf venues and also one of the oldest, Whitefish Lake Golf Club is the largest in the valley and one of the historic catalysts of the sport in the Flathead. Adjacent to Whitefish and Lost Coon lakes, the two 18-hole courses both offer scenic opportunities that rank the overall experience as one of the finest in the state. The course hosts the popular and competitive Fourth of July Tournament, which is June 28-July 1.

THE WILDERNESS CLUB

Eureka | 889-6501 | thewildernessclub.com | 18 holes

Another gem among Montana’s treasured golf courses, the Wilderness Club is one of a kind. Nick Faldo, the winner of six PGA major championships, designed this 18-hole venue along with renowned course architects Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley. Sitting just outside of Eureka in a peaceful setting, the Wilderness Club ranks as one of the finest golf experiences in the state. It has grown into a resort with lodging facilities and a pool, making it an ideal vacation destination.

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