Montana's Longest Drive

“Bothering a Bull Snake” at Rolling Hills Golf Course

There’s two sides to every story. That happens to be the case at Rolling Hills Golf Course in Broadus where I played on Saturday morning.

One headline for the story might read that upon walking to the eighth tee box I was confronted by a 5-foot bull snake coiled around one of the tee markers and remarkably hit a fairway splitting tee shot on the 376-yard dogleg right par 4 with a mounded green that forces a biting wedge shot to give you an uphill putt at birdie.

The other headline for the eighth hole would be that an innocent bull snake was minding his businesses sunning himself in the heat of midday when a 24-year-old golfer with an unfathomable fear of snakes happened to cross his path and screamed. Thankfully I was alone during my round in Broadus, so the shriek only echoed off the cottonwoods that line the ponds and fairways and didn’t cause anyone to run to my rescue.

Besides the bull snake, my round in Broadus was a great leisurely round in the heat of Southeastern Montana. Rolling Hills Golf Course is aptly named for the golf that bends and winds its way over hills and around little bluffs that provide several elevation changes for tee shots and irons from the fairway.

When I first arrived at Rolling Hills, I pulled on the door to the clubhouse only to find it locked. A sign hanging on the glass of the door said they would be opening around noon. Deciding not to wait for them to open, I walked down to the first tee and teed up my ball. The first hole at Rolling Hills Golf Course is a is an uphill par 4 measuring in at 374-yards to an elevated and crowned green. You work your tee shot through a gap in the cottonwoods that sit near the ponds some 100-yards from the tee box. This first green sits high enough on the hill to deliver a wonderful vantage point of the open farmland that borders the golf course in all directions and a clear blue sky.

The second hole at Rolling Hills is a 333-yard downhill par 4 that is reachable with a long tee shot if it avoids the small pond sitting just in the right-front of the green. The green at the second is again crowned and provides a tough chip if you’re on either side of the green complex and in the rough.

After the very reachable par 5 third hole that doglegs right and requires an uphill second shot to an elevated green, is the par 3 fourth hole. The fourth is a downhill tee shot to a small green with that requires a club less than you would normally play. From atop this tee box it isn’t hard to notice the barbed-wire out-of-bounds fence that borders the hole on the right and behind the green.

As I hoseled an 8-iron over that barbed wire fence, I had to think, “That’s one way to keep you from going after a lost ball. I wonder how many Titleists that farmer has found over the years?”

Down a ball and after the eighth tee box down a little bit of dignity after the bull snake incident, the par 5 ninth was a confidence booster. A slight dogleg left at a little over 500-yards this par five plays downhill back toward the clubhouse. If your drive can negotiate the cottonwood trees lining the fairway on the right and the pond on the left a good look at getting on in two is a real possibility with a large green to aim at for the uphill final hole.

As I trudged back up the hill and towards the Rolling Hills clubhouse in the 98-degree heat of Southeastern Montana in late May, I decided I better go in and pay for my round. It was the least I could do for bothering that bull snake.

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