Montana's Longest Drive

“Wishing My School Had a Golf Course” at the University of Montana Golf Course

I wish my school had a golf course.

At the base of Mount Sentinel just past the University of Montana is a nine hole golf course. Decorated with Griz flags and tee markers, this par 35/36 track is an old staple in Missoula. Originally called the Missoula Country Club, the University of Montana Golf Course was established in 1924 and has matured into a tree-lined beauty in the Garden City.

The University Course is a reasonably flat track that you can cruise around and play a quick nine in about an hour and a half. That was just the case when my friend and former college teammate Taryn Campbell, her older sister Carlan, and myself made our way out for an afternoon round.

An opening tee shoot from right by the deck of the Iron Griz restaurant operated by the University’s Dining program on the par 4 364-yard 1st hole welcomes you to this fun track. A relatively straight course keeping your shots in between the trees is the most important part of playing this course. Twin bunkers protect this turtleback green to open up the round.

The best view of the course is from the 3rd tee perched on the hillside of Mount Sentinel for the 462-yard downhill par 5. With trees left and out of bounds past the trees on the right this tight fairway needs a straight tee shot to give players any hope of getting on the green in two. A small pond in the front left of the green protects this putting surface and can force some players to lay up just to be safe going in to this crowned green.

As you make your way around the University Course you will have to hoist shots over the tops of skyscraping pine trees while also punching low shots underneath the low hanging branches of some other deciduous hazards.

Finishing the round at the University of Montana Golf Course is the par 5 535-yard ninth hole. Another long tree-lined fairway, this closing hole has the driving range to the right of the rough and a tall fence protecting the student apartments left of the left rough. Twin bunkers protect this putting surface from any shots intending to roll their way up from the sides of this hole and onto this back-to-front sloping green.

After our round at the University Course, our group headed over to the Iron Griz to grab a quick bite and a beer. As the men’s league went out to go play their matches on a beautiful summer’s night we visited and watched them tee off from the 1st tee right outside the windows of the Iron Griz.

It’s too bad my school doesn’t have a golf course like this.

Thanks to Chris Anderson and the staff at the University of Montana Golf Course for the hospitality and for a great round of golf on this fun track.