Montana's Longest Drive

“Across the Sapphires and into the Bitterroot” at Hamilton Golf Club

High in the Sapphire Mountains where the clouds blanket the pine trees, I stood atop the Skalkaho pass and watched the water thunder down the rocks of a magnificent waterfall. The dirt road leading from Philipsburg across to Hamilton was a shortcut of sorts, even though I spent a great deal of time outside my car gazing at the amazing scenery.

Descending the mountainside and out of the clouds I entered the Bitterroot Valley and into Hamilton just in time to play the Hamilton Golf Club with Robby Porch Jr. Introducing myself to Robby and heading toward the 1st tee at the HGC, we were greeted by a downhill dogleg left par 4 with a tall bank of cottonwoods lining the left rough just past a pond. The green at the 1st is protected by a bunker in the right front and slopes from back-to-front.

The course at Hamilton Golf Club is a beautiful parkland style track. With beautiful trees lining all the fairways and greens. A small creek runs through the front nine and cuts across the fairways of the some of the holes.

The par 5 7th hole is one of the fairways that is divided by the creek which runs at a diagonal from 300-yards on the right rough to about 240-yards as it crosses the left rough. Making long tee shots dangerous this creek can force longer hitters to lay back from it and then attack this par 5 with a smart second shot and then a wedge in. Another undulating and quick green greets the golfer and can make for a difficult birdie putt.

On the back nine at Hamilton Golf Club is where the Bitterroot Mountain Range offers a fantastic backdrop on every hole. Stepping across the road and onto the 10th tee a 414-yard par 4 that doglegs right greets the players. You must place your shot in between the trees on the right and ponds on the left that will catch anything that runs too far through the fairway. A small bunker protects the green in the front left that slopes back-to-front.

As Robby and I played our way in toward the clubhouse, the finishing stretch at Hamilton Golf Club is an amazing trio of holes. The 16th is a dogleg right drivable par 4 that plays 363-yards but the tee shot must carry the large pond on the right and miss the bunker in the front left of this green. The 17th is a 167-yard par 3 with a large bunker in the front right with a wide green and the 18th is a narrow 430-yard par 4 with ponds to the left and out of bounds past the tree lined right rough.

After wrapping up our round at Hamilton Golf Club, Robby and I headed into downtown Hamilton and stopped at Nap’s Grill for a burger. Diving into a fantastic 2/3 LB burger and talking about our round, Robby and I were quickly in a food coma as we sank deeper into our booth seats.

As we said our goodbyes and I headed down the road, I took another look at the Sapphire Mountains which I had traversed earlier that morning. Near dawn I was gazing at the Skalkaho Falls and in the afternoon,  I had already played the spectacular Hamilton Golf Club and had one of the best burgers on my trip.

My trip across the Mountains into Hamilton was one I will surely be making again.

Thanks to the Hamilton Golf Club and Robby Porch Jr. for a wonderful day of golf in the Bitterroot Valley 

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