Sports

Tee Time: 2019 Northwest Montana Golf Guide

Spring has sprung and the region’s many courses are ready for another busy season

There’s more than one way to experience the beauty of Northwest Montana, and those who would rather pack a cooler for the back of a golf cart than gear up for a week in the wilderness have been raring to hit the links since before the snow finally started to melt. Northwest Montana’s golf courses are among the most spectacular in the country, and offer everything from grueling rounds designed by golf’s biggest names to municipal tracks set beneath Montana’s majestic big sky.

With spring now officially here, award-winning golf courses in Flathead, Lake and Lincoln counties are waking from their winter slumber and either open or soon-to-be open for another busy season. Here’s a look at 10 Northwest Montana golf courses open to the public this year.

Golfers finish putting on the 18th green of the Wilderness Club Montana golf course in Eureka. Beacon File Photo

Buffalo Hill Golf Club

1176 N. Main St., Kalispell | 27 holes | (406) 756-4530 | www.golfbuffalohill.com

The large driving range opened last week at Kalispell’s oldest golf course, and both the Championship 18 and Cameron Nine will not be far behind. Kalispell Municipal Golf Course, later renamed Buffalo Hill, first opened in 1918 and took on its current 27-hole configuration in the late 1970s. The two courses overlook Kalispell from just outside Lawrence Park, and the facility includes an onsite restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, along with men’s and women’s leagues, and an expansive junior program for young golfers.

Cabinet View Golf Club

458 Cabinet View Road, Libby | 18 holes | (406) 293-7332 | www.golflibby.com

Golfers have to contend with the occasional turkey, elk, moose, fox or deer, not to mention the tree-lined fairways, at Libby’s stunning municipal course. The view from the tees at Cabinet View is hard to beat, spectacular even by Northwest Montana’s lofty standards, and the golf here is a lovely way to start a day before venturing down the road to Kootenai Falls in the afternoon. Cabinet View offers twilight rates and discounts for Libby and Troy residents.

Eagle Bend Golf Club

279 Eagle Bend Drive, Bigfork | 27 holes | (406) 837-7310 | www.eaglebendgolfclub.com

Few if any courses in Northwest Montana have the pedigree to match Eagle Bend, which has been rated among the top 50 golf courses in America and features meticulously manicured greens and fairways. The course itself is nestled near Flathead Lake and the Swan Range, and includes three different nine-hole segments for golfers to enjoy: the Eagle, Osprey and Bear, the last of which was named after Jack Nicklaus and created by his award-winning design firm in 1995.

Glacier View Golf Course

640 Riverbend Drive, West Glacier | 18 holes | (406) 888-5471 | www.glacierviewgolf.com

There are not many golf experiences in the world quite like teeing up a ball on the southern edge of Glacier National Park, and that’s exactly what you get to do on these short but challenging 18 holes. Glacier View lives up to its name and then some, offering distractingly good backdrops to every drive, chip and putt. Par is 69 at Glacier View, but the manageable distances off the tee are offset by postage-stamp greens and punishing, thick rough, all at some of Northwest Montana’s most affordable regular rates.

Indian Springs Ranch

77 Indian Springs Road, Eureka | 18 holes | (406) 889-5056 | www.indianspringsmontana.com

Golfers willing to stray from the Flathead Valley would be wise to plot a course to Eureka and a couple of the most unique courses in the state. Indian Springs, located just five miles south of the Canadian border, offers a winding links-style challenge that rewards accuracy off the tee. The 18-hole course is less than 10 years old and includes a full practice facility, regular discount days for seniors, women and families, and a $40 twilight rate that includes a cart.

Golfers at Meadow Lake Golf Course. Beacon File Photo

Meadow Lake Golf Course

490 St. Andrews Drive, Columbia Falls | 18 holes (406) 892-2111 | www.meadowlakegolf.com

Meadow Lake offers a lot more than just golf, but a wise golfer would be remiss to skip the Columbia Falls resort’s challenging 18 holes that feature plenty of trees, water and length, and earned a rare four-and-a-half star rating from Golf Digest. The course also sits just a few miles from Glacier National Park, and golfers can catch a glimpse of some of the park’s more majestic peaks just above the tree line. The resort includes a full-service pro shop, driving range and restaurant onsite.

Northern Pines Golf Club

2 U.S. Highway 93, Kalispell | 18 holes | (406) 751-1950 | www.northernpinesgolfclub.com

Two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North helped design this links-style course that opened for the season on April 10. Northern Pines is long — more than 7,000 yards from the tips — and plays like two different courses after you make the turn. The front nine is said to be Scottish-style, with wide-open fairways, but the back nine brings trees, hills and the Stillwater River into play. Northern Pines has previously been named one of Golf Digest’s three best public courses in Montana.

Polson Bay Golf Course

111 Bayview Drive, Polson | 27 holes | (406) 883-8230 | www.polsonbaygolf.com

Traditionally one of the first courses in Northwest Montana to open for the season, Polson Bay is a favorite of spring golfers and offers plenty of tests across its 27 holes, some of which run along the shore of Flathead Lake. Polson Bay plays host to some of the most popular men’s, women’s and junior leagues, and also holds a number of tournaments throughout the season, including this year’s 29th annual Lake City Open, scheduled for May 4-5.

Village Greens Golf Course

135 Palmer Drive, Kalispell | 18 holes | (406) 752-4666 | www.villagegreensmontana.com

Looking for a good deal? Golf Advisor named Village Greens the third-best golf value in the country in 2017, and the Kalispell course is both approachable and affordable for golfers of all skill levels. The par-70 course is well maintained and the facility includes a large putting green and driving range. Village Greens also offers a customer loyalty program for regulars that includes discounts on everything from adult beverages to greens fees.

A golfer chips a shot onto the fifth green while golfing the north course at Whitefish Lake Golf Club. Beacon File Photo

Whitefish Lake Golf Club

1200 U.S. Highway 93, Whitefish | 36 holes | (406) 862-5960 | www.golfwhitefish.com

Northwest Montana’s largest golf complex, Whitefish Lake boasts two 18-hole courses that have each been ranked among the best in the state. An April 17 opening day is right around the corner for the par 72 North Course, which was updated by respected course architect John Steidel in the early 1980s. The par 71 South Course, meanwhile, stands out for its numerous water hazards, and both tracks include ample challenges along with stunning lake and mountain views. Whitefish Lake also hosts the highly competitive Earl Hunt Memorial Fourth of July tournament on July 4-6.

The Wilderness Club

1885 Sophie Lake Road, Eureka | 18 holes | (406) 889-6501 | www.thewildernessclub.com

Laid out by golf legend Nick Faldo and his renowned team of designers, The Wilderness Club sits adjacent to Lake Koocanusa and is a course sure to deliver a test to any golfer. The 550-acre private property also includes an equestrian center, amphitheater, natural waterpark and luxury homes. The golf course, meanwhile, checks in at more than 7,200 yards from the tips, includes a variety of sand and water hazards, and was named Montana’s best course by Golfweek magazine.

andy@flatheadbeacon.com

If you enjoy stories like this one, please consider joining the Flathead Beacon Editor’s Club. For as little as $5 per month, Editor’s Club members support independent local journalism and earn a pipeline to Beacon journalists. Members also gain access to www.beaconeditorsclub.com, where they will find exclusive content like deep dives into our biggest stories and a behind-the-scenes look at our newsroom.