Golfer’s Guide to Northwest Montana

The Flathead Valley has been ranked one of the top 50 destinations in the U.S. for golf enthusiasts

By Dillon Tabish
Scott Larson competes in the 79th annual Fourth of July golf tournament at Whitefish Lake Golf Club on July 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

In Northwest Montana, golf is a beloved pastime thanks to an array of premier courses showcasing the region’s best scenery.

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.

Click here to visit the Northwest Montana Golf Association website for lodging and package options.

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



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

This course has roots as far back as the early 1900s when the first golfers played in the outskirts of town. By the 1930s, the sport was a flourishing hobby in the community and drew enough interest that Buffalo Hill developed as the city’s first and only municipal course. Tucked in the heart of Kalispell on a hilly area where buffalo once roamed, the golf course today has two options: the Cameron Nine and the Championship 18. There’s also a large driving range on site, 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 after Henry Good volunteered his efforts for nearly two years, building the course for the city with the help of the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal agency that put unemployed people to work for public projects. “I might say at the beginning that Kalispell has one of the finest golf courses in the Northwest,” Good told the Associated Press at the time. The Championship 18 was built in 1976 and opened the follow year.



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

With the Cabinet Mountains rising in the background, Cabinet View embodies Montana golf — fairways wrapping around trees and lakes with the expansive mountain range in the forefront and wildlife wandering throughout. This 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. There’s a full practice facility with driving range and practice greens.



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

Few courses in the state, as well as 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. It offers all the admired qualities of Montana’s outdoors, including fairways that wind through a forested landscape in front of soaring mountains. William Hull designed the original 18 holes three decades ago; the Eagle 9 was completed in 1984 and the Osprey 9 in 1988. The Bear 9 was designed by Nicklaus Design and opened in 1995. The practice facilities include everything from a chipping and putting green to an expansive driving range just minutes from downtown Bigfork.



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

Right next to 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 nearby 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 on site. There are also RV hookups for those looking to make it a camping trip.



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

Now in its sixth year, 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, this course is challenging and relaxed, requiring golfers to strategize on every hole. Grip it and rip it won’t work out well here. This course is only an hour from Whitefish and near the Canadian border, drawing golfers from both areas. Nearby RV lots are available for visitors looking for a multi-day vacation.



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

This popular resort, on the edge of Columbia Falls and set to the backdrop of Glacier National Park, continues to grow around the 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. It was popular right away and in 1985 another nine holes were built and added to the scenic course, which features pine and birch trees and plenty of water hazards. Today this is considered one of the top public courses in the state and earned Golf Digest’s 4.5 star rating, a rare honor. It features full practice facilities and quality dining opportunities that give the venue its distinct resort appeal.



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. The trademark Ponderosa pines tower throughout the winding course, which tracks along the Stillwater River. 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 | 883-8230 | polsonbaygolf.com | 27 holes

Open to the public since 1938, this beloved 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 in the backdrop. The other nine-hole “Olde Course” features the classic fairways in the heart of town, offering constant views of the scenic lake. One of the season’s highlights is the Lake City Open, a popular, competitive tournament that has been going on in some form or fashion since the 1950s and attracts upwards of 30 professionals and more than 110 amateurs.



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

This popular 18-hole course is tucked amid a residential setting with quality fairways and greens wrapped around water features and the idyllic mountain vista in the backdrop. 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. The course hosts several tournaments throughout the season.



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. 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. Similar to Buffalo Hill’s development in Kalispell, this course was established through the Works Progress Administration, a product of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Agency, which appropriated money for public works projects. The Grand Opening Tournament was held in May 1936, and would later evolve into the club’s Fourth of July Tournament, which is now the longest-running and largest amateur tournament in the state.



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. It opened in 2009 as a private facility and is now available to the public. Sitting just outside 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.