Scobey Golf Course
I made a phone call last night as I turned north just a couple miles east of Wolf Point. The phone rang as I bobbed along on the highway until finally I heard my friend say, “I hear you’re heading up to my neck of the woods.”
His neck of the woods, to be more specific is Scobey, Montana, population 1,032. Scobey might have the record for being the smallest town I happen to know the most people from, and I added to that list today.
Cruising up the narrow two-lane highway towards Scobey I crested a hill and saw an expanse of farmland as far as you could see with Scobey’s water tower in the distance. Driving through Scobey I took a few turns and wound up at Phil Audet’s house.
Phil is the oldest brother to my friend Dana Audet who lives and plays golf in Great Falls. Phil said, “Dana called me and said I had to play golf with you and take care of you while you’re in town.”
Phil did more than that. In the late evening we drove a few blocks down a gravel road to the Scobey Golf Course and sat in the clubhouse to swap stories and talk about the history of the golf course in Scobey with the course’s Superintendent Dan Wolfe. It was a gorgeous evening in the hilltop clubhouse that used to be a U.S. Air Force Radar Base that sat a couple of miles west of Opheim.
“I’m sure the guys who moved it over here had something like 30 flat tires on the trip over, the damn building was so heavy,” Wolfe laughed.
So, there we sat with the sun dropping lower toward the horizon and ate dinner while throwing back a few beers as I looked over the nine-hole expanse that is called the Scobey Golf Course.
Phil and Jerry Raaum play golf every day they can at Scobey. “We usually walk the front nine, and then get a cart for the back,” said Phil. I was thankful they let me join them today.
Also joining us and walking along on my first trip around Scobey’s links was Mike Stebleton, the sports editor for the Daniels Country Leader.
Phil and Jerry gave directions while we trekked our way along on a hot May day that reached about 84 degrees by the time we were done. They’d point out the green and the trouble on each hole and helped guide me around the course on my maiden voyage.
The first hole at Scobey Golf Course is a downhill blind dogleg right par 5 that includes a blind tee shot over some trees and bushes if you hit a draw like I do and wanted to cut the corner. We moseyed our way down the fairway on one to an elevated green where I chipped up close and started with a birdie.
We talked about the history of club, like it’s sand greens for it’s first 57 years of existence before the greens were turned into grass putting surfaces in 1984. The course draws its water for the pond that comes into play and provides a soothing backdrop for the second, third, and fourth holes from the Poplar River that flows in the field next to the course.
My favorite hole on course would have to be the par 5 third hole. A slight dogleg to the left, it perfectly suited my draw but has grass bunkers in the right rough if you miss that fairway that will swallow up your golf ball.
The second shot must be wary of the pond that juts out into the left fairway less than one hundred yards short of the green provided the golfer with an opportunity to lay up or go for it in two. As for myself, with Mike, Jerry, and Phil all watching I decided to not lay up and ended up finding the elevated green and giving myself a 12-foot putt for eagle that I lipped in just at the last moment. No wonder it was my favorite hole.
Scobey Golf Course provides its players with a magnificent backdrop of the expansive farmland on many of the tee boxes and greens.
As we finished the round and meandered back up to the clubhouse in the heat of the midday sun, I had to laugh at my first round in Scobey. A bogey free 33 (-3) with one birdie, one eagle, and seven pars. It made for quite the experience at Scobey Golf Club. That and the fantastic hospitality by everyone in town has me confidently saying it won’t be so long before I venture back up into this neck of the woods again.