Montana's Longest Drive

“Making New Friends” at the Johnny Walker Course at Pryor Creek

Johnny Walker Course at Pryor Creek

After walking 18 holes and having lunch in the clubhouse at Pryor Creek, I walked across the road to the 1st tee of the Johnny Walker Course. Originally supposed to join another twosome, I must have just missed them teeing off while I was applying another coat of sunscreen on a hot and sunny day. Standing on the tee, I saw a twosome in a cart waiting in the shade a hundred yards or so back from the tee, so I waved them up to join me.

That was how I met my playing partners for my 19th through 36th holes of the day, Todd and Dell Kay. Introducing myself to them, I had to explain what had me out in the heat of the day packing my clubs on the back and in search of a game.

Todd, Dell Kay, and I teed off on the 488-yard par 5 1st hole and made our way down a steep hill toward a tight treelined fairway that is hard to find off the tee. After hitting down the hillside, you’re second and third shots have to be wary of the sand that protects the front side of the elevated green.

We visited about golf, our hobbies, and the Johnny Walker Course at Pryor Creek that was built in 2005. A young course this track has great greens and a spectacular layout that will only improve as the course matures over time. Having never played here before, I was consistently asking where to hit the ball, where I could miss, and which direction the next tee was.

Standing atop a high hillside on the 4th tee, you could see the whole Pryor Creek valley unfold before you. Farmland touched the horizon as dirt roads crisscrossed the agricultural landscape. With a cattail lined pond in the backdrop the 4th green sits a good 60-70 feet below the tee ground. Measuring in at 149-yards the shot plays a club or two less depending on the breeze.

The Johnny Walker Course is a true out-and-in style golf layout that doesn’t come back to the clubhouse while you play. Once you leave the clubhouse, you don’t return after nine holes. A snack shack sits at the intersection of the tees and greens of holes 6, 7, 9, 10, 14, and 15.

This course features a number of holes that are of the risk-reward type like the driveable 7th hole that has three bunkers in front of the green right where driver would land for the average hitter. The 16th hole is a similar setup with a slight dogleg left through the trees from an uphill tee. With cottonwoods on both sides of the fairway, a tee shot must be struck just right with a driver to give you a short wedge into the crowned green with a bunker protecting it on the right. A long iron or hybrid off the tee has a much better chance of finding the fairway but will leave a longer iron into a tough to hold green.

Wrapping up my longest day so far of this trip with Todd and Dell Kay, I couldn’t have had a better time. Under the hot sun we putted out and said our goodbyes on the 18th green. I figured I got pretty lucky to join up with such fun people as Todd and Dell Kay on my adventure.

You just never know who you’ll become friends with when you miss your intended twosome because you were too busy applying more sunscreen.

Thanks to the staff for at Pryor Creek for a wonderful day of golf at a couple of fine courses. Pryor Creek is a great 36 hole facility just outside of Billings, Montana.

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