Montana's Longest Drive

“A Shot-Maker’s Course” at Cabinet View Golf Club

Cabinet View Golf Club in Libby can be described as a shot-maker’s course. Carved out of the pines of northwest Montana, Cabinet View has a reputation for being a challenging track and I put that reputation to test when I played it on Friday.

On Friday, I hopped in the car and headed toward Libby to meet up with Libby golfers Gary Peck and Wayne Haines. In the pro shop I visited with the course pro Jeff Dooley who said, “If you want the real scoop on this course, you picked the right group to play with. These guys play here every day.”

Gary Peck is a bit of a Libby legend and played basketball and golf at the University of Montana in the 1960s. As we played our round, Gary told the story of his Griz team winning the school’s first Big Sky Conference Championship in golf.

Wayne Haines is a tremendous golfer himself having shot his age nearly 130 times and still playing to a low handicap. Wayne was instrumental in building the expansion of Cabinet View Golf Club from a 9-hole course to a championship quality 18-hole course. When the back nine was built, Gary worked six days a week and even has a pond on the new nine named for him.

The front nine at Cabinet View starts with a 513-yard par 5 that is tree lined on both sides of the fairway. The fairway turns up the hill and to the left past some tall pines before a bunker protects the large sloping green.

The course at Cabinet View is as fantastic as the reputation it has. The greens at this course are as nice as I have putted on during this trip, they are quick and roll true, the kind of greens that inspire confidence that often isn’t there with the putter in your hand.

The best view of the Cabinet View Mountains that sit high above Libby and the Kootenai River comes from the 5th hole. Slightly turning right from the tee box with the pine trees perfectly framing the green and greenside bunker in the foreground with the mountains in the back, this is a gorgeous 417-yard par 4.

The back at Cabinet View is a shot-maker’s course. Carved out of the mountain hillside by Wayne and others, this course cannot be overpowered but instead must be played. It is a nine that reminds you of the precision that golf requires.

One of the most beautiful holes on the course is the par 3 11th that plays 150-yards from the tips. A With a small pond to the right of the hole and bunkers on each side of this undulating green that slopes from back-to-front and from left-to-right it is a fantastic short par 3.

Throughout the round at Cabinet View, Gary and Wayne told me about the history of the course. Gary spoke mostly about the front nine while Wayne talked about the back nine he helped construct.

In fact, Libby has a tremendous history of golf in Montana. At one point, Libby has been the home course of one of the best professionals in Montana Jim Mee, the best amateur, Arizona State commit Ryggs Johnston, and Joe Cielak who is the reigning Montana State Mid-Amateur Champion. It isn’t a wonder why this course has produced so many fine golfers.

Libby’s Cabinet View Golf Club is an amazing course in northwest Montana that lives up to its reputation for being a great but challenging track.

Thanks to Cabinet View Golf Club and their PGA Professional Jeff Dooley for a fantastic day of golf in Libby.

 

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