Only 3.5 hours’ drive south from Calgary, Alberta you will find the quaint town of Eureka, Montana. A further 10 minutes’ drive will have you driving through the gates of the Wilderness Club. The Wilderness Club stretches over 545 acres of boundless rangeland and forests, dotted with spring fed lakes, and surrounded by cool, blue mountains, all draped with that big Montana sky.
The Nick Faldo designed course offers some high quality golf which one wouldn’t necessarily expect being out in the country and far from any major destinations. With four sets of tee boxes, the course plays from 5431 to 7207 yards offering a pleasurable experience for all golfers. Built with the intention of being an exclusive private residence course, the greens have more character and undulation than you would experience on a standard resort course, meaning you will never tire of rolling them to the cup. Opened for public play the last couple of years, word has it that access to the course will only be available when combined with overnight stays.
We had the pleasure of teeing it up on a comfortable October weekend, playing 54 holes over our two days. Every hole presents its own challenges, however you never feel that the course is out to get you. Generous fairways and a layout that presents itself off the tee allow for your good shots to be rewarded and your less than stellar shots requiring creativity to recover from.
Though the bunkers and waste areas appear to not have much sand in them, they are indeed 100’s of feet deep. The naturalness of these sand areas, present the golfer with a unique challenge. Be sure to utilize the practice area before playing your round and even get a tip or two from the pro shop on how the get up and down.
Picking just one signature hole proved to be a difficult task as each of the 18 holes is remarkable in its own right. I’d like to say that # 6, 12 and 16 really stood out for me but I feel I’d be leaving too many other beauties without mention. The 1st day highlight would have to go to our playing partner, Kelly Smith from Canmore, who recorded her first ever eagle on the par 4 10th, holing out from the fairway from 77 yrds. Not an easy feat, with water guarding the entire length of the green and a back pin tucked to the slope.
The Wilderness Club’s 8 bedroom lodge can accommodate up to 18 people providing a great environment for groups or couples. Each bedroom has its own bathroom and shower and is unique in its theme. A TV room and study are available for all guests to enjoy as well as outdoor BBQ’s to cook after round treats or dinner. More self-contained units are planned for build in 2012, allowing for a greater opportunity for ‘Stay and Play’ packages. Staying in the Lodge also comes with your own lake. Grob lake is just out the back doorway, and is an inviting option to relax in after your day on the course. You may choose to prepare your own meals in the lodge’s spacious kitchen or take in your food and beverage requirements in the Clubhouse.
Though driving 3.5 hrs from Calgary may seem a little much to play one golf course, you’d be hard pressed to convince me that’s true. A game played by some of the avid members, features a 4 round tournament, where each round is played from a different set of tee boxes with the total score being combined and thus producing a winner. The Wilderness Club is a destination and once you arrive, play, stay and play again, you won’t want to leave. You’ll find yourself starting to plan your next trip back as you drive out the gates, and that is where we at Golf Canada’s West can help you out. Give us a call 1 877 323 3633.