The best golf courses between Bozeman and Big Sky
By Leslie Kilgore
While summers are shorter in Southwest Montana than many other golf destinations around the country, the various links around the Treasure State certainly pack a big punch—incredible vistas, high altitude for longer drives, scarce humidity and 12-16 hours of daylight for most of the season. It’s what golfers’ dreams are made of.
Between private and public courses, there are more than 60 around the state. Big Sky and Bozeman alone have 10. With course designs by Tom Weiskopf, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and other legends of the game, Montana has its stake in some of the most revered courses and golf awards in the country. Whether you’re looking to put down some roots or just visiting the area, and quality golf is a priority, here are some courses in Bozeman and Big Sky worth looking into:
Black Bull, Bozeman
Located on 500 beautiful acres on the outer edges of the city of Bozeman and Gallatin Valley, Black Bull is a private golf community with close to 400 residences, a links style course with views of the five surrounding mountain ranges and a private members club for recreation and wellness that caters to all ages.
The clubhouse’s Bar 72, named for Black Bull’s winning par-72 layout, features an extensive patio that offers breathtaking views of the Bridger Mountains and the surrounding working ranches. Members relax after their rounds of golf or workouts while kids frolic in the 30 by 80-foot pool. Like many private clubs in Montana, there is an ease at Black Bull that combines luxury living with western culture.
Cottonwood Hills Golf Club, Bozeman
As one of the most popular public places to play in Bozeman, Cottonwood Hills (known by locals simply as Cottonwood) features an 18-hole championship course along with their par-3 executive course. With some of the best fairways in Gallatin Valley, Cottonwood’s championship course features fast greens with lots of slope, elevation changes and challenging bunkers.
The par-3 course is highlighted with beautiful views of the valley and a fun, relaxed vibe. Cottonwood offers seasonal passes perfect for those not as committed to a summer focused around golf such as the Transferable Ten Play for $300, which offers ten 9-hole rounds transferable between players. Players 9 and Under play for free all season.
Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, Big Sky
The Tom Weiskopf-designed private course at the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club sits at the base of Andesite Mountain near Big Sky Resort. Situated next to the five-star Montage Big Sky hotel, whose guests can also play the private course, Spanish Peaks has the best of both worlds. Stunning views, unprecedented access to wilderness, luxury amenities and world-class culinary options. The 7,200-yard course highlights incredible views of the surrounding mountain ranges, a challenging yet approachable course layout, and a location that could be compared to some of the finest golf courses in the world.
The Reserve at Moonlight Basin, Big Sky
The private, 8000-yard Reserve at Moonlight Basin was designed by Jack Nicklaus, who once stated that it is the most beautiful course he’s ever designed. The course is challenging and humbling to the average golfer, but the scenery is incomparable, even to most other private courses in the region. This is why The Reserve wins awards year after year. The 17th hole, at 777 yards, is a highlight of the expansive course, as are the bear, elk and other wildlife sightings that occur regularly while playing.
Big Sky Resort Golf Course, Big Sky
As the only public course in Big Sky, the Big Sky Resort golf course is a popular destination for those visiting the area or passing through on their way to Yellowstone National Park. Located close to restaurants, hotels and the many happenings in Big Sky’s Town Center, it’s a great way to experience summer life in Big Sky while also getting some golf in during a visit. The classic links course designed by Arnold Palmer has been at the center of Big Sky’s summers for many years. The homes along the fairways have spectacular views of Lone Peak, access to one of the finest public courses in the region and are walking distance to all the amenities the town of Big Sky has to offer. The Bunker Bar & Grill, located at the clubhouse and adjacent to the pro shop, has the best outdoor views and seating of any bar or restaurant in Big Sky.