Montana's Longest Drive

“Ending the Day in Pondera” Pondera Golf Course

After playing 9 holes in two different towns, I was a bit tired as I rolled into Conrad, Montana to play my last stop of the day.

I met up with my older cousin Pat Heinen and we made the quick drive over to Pondera Golf Course just on the outside of town where my last nine holes of the day was to be played. On a Chamber of Commerce weather day, Pat and I lucked out.

“It isn’t very often you get to play Conrad without any wind,” Pat said. “I’m not used to this.”

Pat’s wife Meaghan and daughters Bethany and Avery also joined us. The three of them rode in Pat’s baby blue three-wheeled golf cart he had bought just a few years ago off an older couple in town.

“I had my eyes on that cart for years and kept asking if they’d sell it to me. I’m happy I finally wore them down with my asking so often that they decided to give up and sell it to me.” Pat said.

So down the first fairway we headed, two guys carrying their clubs on their shoulders with beers in their hands being slowly followed by a three-wheeled caravan of laughing kids. It was a treat.

It had been probably eight years since I’d last played Conrad, so I had to keep asking Pat where to aim on about every hole. He’d give me an idea of where I was supposed to hit it, and where if I was going to miss, where wouldn’t be a bad spot to do so.

We bounced around through the holes at Pondera Golf Course and worked our way around the small-town track. Pat told me stories of finding a new greenskeeper after the Carl Spackler of Pondera retired just a few years ago.

“Yea, for a few years the old greenskeeper even lived in a trailer behind that old shed on number two,” he laughed. “I always thought that was a little odd.”

There was nothing odd about Pondera on this day however. It was in fine shape with receptive greens that made for some challenging downhill putts after your chip slid by the pin.

I don’t think I’ll wait so long to play Pondera again. But with my tired feet from 27 holes in three different towns, I’m hoping next time I can hitch a ride on Pat’s baby blue three-wheeled golf cart.

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